Carbon County's Children and Youth Services is finding a way to cut costs in hard economic times.
During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted on the department's 2010-2011 fiscal year needs based plan budget, which asks for a total of $5,139,372 from the state and county. The county's contribution to next fiscal year's budget is estimated to be $1,149,246, which represents 20 percent of the total budget.
Sallianne Newton, director of Children and Youth, said next year's department budget is only $100,000 higher than the 2009-2010 budget. This is due to numerous programs the county has started to help better serve families. Programs include Kinship Care, which is designed to find a family friend or relative who will become a foster family provider for the child; as well as Specialized Permanent Legal Guardianship and Family Preservation. Another factor that has helped keep costs down is the juvenile system, which has worked with families to keep the child in the home rather than placing them in foster care.
Newton explained that in the last year, the department was able to cut child placement costs by 25 percent. In December 2007, the monthly cost for child placement in the county was $318,000. Now it is around $184,000 a month.
The commissioners commended the department for saving the county money, while offering better solutions to area children and their families. Carbon County currently serves an estimated 400 to 500 children.
Commissioner Wayne Nothstein asked if the current state budget impasse and possible funding cuts is affecting the department.
Newton responded that it is not, and she doesn't think it will affect them much because of the programs the department offers. Right now, the state owes nearly $800,000 to the Carbon County Children and Youth Services department.
In other matters, the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau gave its annual report.
Carl Wilgus, president and CEO of PMVB, gave the board a brief presentation that touched on the organization's 75th anniversary and Carbon County's tourist performance.
He was pleased with the county's facts and figures and noted that Carbon was doing OK during the economic slump.