Meeting Release

Post-meeting Release

JFS Director Kathy Oliver provides updates at Seneca County Commissioners’ meeting

By Sheri Trusty, Seneca County Media Relations Coordinator

Seneca County Job and Family Services (JFS) Director Kathy Oliver attended the Feb. 22 commissioners’ meeting to discuss urgent needs in the Children’s Services department as it serves foster children within the county. Oliver said JFS currently has 37 children in care and 31 children in kinship placement.

Oliver addressed Children’s Service’s lack of space to meet the needs of foster children and the agency. Private space is needed for children to meet with caseworkers, children need a place to bathe, and laundry space is needed to wash the children’s clothes. The agency needs space to conduct foster parent training, child review meetings, child interviews and staff training.

Seneca County Job and Family Services Director Kathy Oliver gave updates to the Seneca County Commissioners on Feb. 22. From left are Commissioner Tyler Shuff, Oliver, Commissioner Anthony Paradiso and Commissioner Bill Frankart.

Currently, Oliver said, children who enter foster care must be transported off-site to bathe, and their clothes must be washed in a laundromat. There is currently no space for meetings and interviews where confidential information can be discussed privately.

Oliver asked the commissioners about the possibility of constructing a dedicated, child-friendly space to meet the agency’s needs. The commissioners support the effort to investigate the possibility of seeking grant money to fund the space. Commissioner Anthony Paradiso suggested engaging an architect and gathering information for a possible grant. The commissioners plan to visit JFS in the near future to gain a better understanding of the department’s challenges.

When Commissioner Tyler Shuff asked about the number of children served historically by JFS, Oliver said the numbers fluctuate greatly, from four children when she started to 100 children at the peak.

“We just get a call, and we go out and do what we do,” Oliver said. “I can’t say enough about my team. They’ve been working hard. We’ve had some tough situations lately, and they do a great job.”

The commissioners had a busy week of meetings, events and advocacy throughout the county which gave them the opportunity to address many issues, including the RTA building, the joint EMS project and the New Riegel sewer system. Commissioner Frankart attended the CoRE (Coordinated Response Exercise) program at Sawmill Creek Resort on Feb. 20 which provided pipeline safety training.

“They pushed the idea that dispatchers should take this training,” Commissioner Frankart said. “And you can’t drive home hard enough that people should call 811 before you dig.”

The commissioners passed three resolutions, including a resolution closing the Seneca County offices, with the exception of essential services, on Monday, April 8, in expectation of the thousands of people who may travel to the county for the eclipse. The day will be treated as a holiday, and employees will be compensated as such.

The commissioners also passed a resolution setting the date and time for the viewing and public hearing for the vacation of the extension of TR 1067 west of Vine St. and the corner of West St. in Eden Township. The viewing is set for March 14 at 9 a.m., and the public hearing is set for the same day at 10 a.m. during the regular commissioners’ meeting.

Tiffin Mayor Lee Wilkinson gave the commissioners updates on the city. He said that sewer work is continuing in the city, and he wished to let the public know that he understands the frustrations of construction delays, but the work is mandated by the EPA.

Mayor Wilkinson said he is addressing the housing issue with other local leaders, performed his first few marriages as mayor, and is working on a long-term budget plan for the city.