Officials at Lucas County Children Services (LCCS) said the agency will be forced to cut a service that helps kids stay out of foster care and trim valuable staff if a levy it’s seeking on the Nov. 4 ballot fails.
Dean Sparks, executive director of LCCS, said the agency has already frozen enrollment and would be forced to eliminate the $180,000-a-year program that provides financial support to relatives who care for kids. That will force more children into the foster care system, Sparks said.
The agency is asking voters to renew and extend its current 1.4-mill levy set to expire in 2016, and support an additional 0.35 mills through 2018. The levy is a property tax that will cost the owner of a $100,000 house $54.25 each year. Residents pay $42 at the current millage.
Sparks said the agency has cut its spending this year from $46.5 million to $40 million and has had little help from the state and federal government. He said LCCS has seen a “significant reduction” in state and federal dollars, placing the burden for financial support on local institutions.
“The State of Ohio is the 50th in the nation in support of child protection; and that’s something that we in Ohio are going to have to struggle with,” Sparks said. “We used to have 405, now we have 349 staff people. We can’t cut anymore. The next cut is staff and services.”