Issue 38: A vote for kidsWritten by Dean Sparks | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For more than a century, Lucas County residents have supported the mandate of Lucas County Children Services (LCCS), which is to investigate reports of child abuse and neglect, to protect children from maltreatment; and, when necessary, find safe places for them to live.
Sadly, more than 2,300 Lucas County children were confirmed to be victims of abuse or neglect last year. Some were left alone or underfed; others were physically or sexually victimized. LCCS was there to act on their behalf, protect them and provide them with hope for the future.
On Nov. 4, Lucas County residents will be asked to continue their support for strong child protective services by approving Issue 38. This 1.0-mill levy is not a new tax; rather, it replaces an existing levy that expires on Dec. 31.
Passage of Issue 38 provides critical funding that LCCS needs to protect children and promote strong families. Representing one quarter of the agency’s budget, this money pays for the caseworkers who investigate reports of maltreatment and work with families at solving their problems, as well as directly pay for the care of the children we work with through community services and foster care.
I’d hate to think about the levy not passing, but if it fails, it will make it difficult for LCCS to maintain the level of service that residents have come to expect. Our partnerships with more than 40 local service providers — community centers, tutors, mentors and medical professionals — will be jeopardized.
Unquestionably, we have many choices to make on Nov. 4. It’s up to each of us to decide on the level of service we want to provide kids who are abused or neglected in our community. I hope you feel this issue is worth a “yes” vote; I believe it is, and leaders across the community agree — Democrats and Republicans, business and labor — have all endorsed Issue 38.
The owner of a $100,000 home has been paying $24.17 a year under the expiring 1.0 mill levy. The measure before you will cost that same homeowner less than an extra $7 per year to maintain the investigative and protective services that LCCS provides.
As I have stated before in this space, LCCS has been a careful steward of your tax dollars. We are monitoring our staffing needs and holding the line on costs. We are working with our community service providers to make sure that they are providing clients with the most effective services possible and monitoring the billing process to make sure it reflects the actual services delivered.
In the years when we were able to take advantage of generous federal funding, we reduced our levy millages (2001 and 2003) and built a reserve that is now helping to carry us through leaner times. Issue 38 will allow us to maintain our current service levels for three more years.
There is no doubt that families are paying the highest price for our nation’s woes. We are encountering more families with multiple and more severe problems: homelessness, joblessness, hunger, substance abuse and domestic violence, to name a few. LCCS is committed to being there to protect the children who are the innocent victims of these ills, and I ask for your support for Issue 38 to help us achieve fulfill that mandate.
Dean Sparks is executive director of Lucas County Children Services.