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Federal funding to shrink for juvenile welfare departments

Lycoming County juvenile welfare and probation departments were cleared Thursday at the commissioners’ meeting to send its $14 million 2020-21 budget to Harrisburg for state approval.

Although the budget has only increased about $500,000 in 10 years, juvenile probation as well as Children and Youth Services has lost $600,000 in federal funding. The county must now pick up those costs, said Mark Egly, CYS administrator.

As it stands, of the $14 million, federal money would make up 15 percent, the state would reimburse 65 percent and the county would pick up about 18 percent, he said.

“The share of the pie gets cut where the county is picking up more of the cost,” said Egly.

What amount of money the different levels of government pay is service-dependent, he said. For example, the amount of money the federal and state government reimburses for child placement depends on to what degree residential life mirrors a home or community environment.

“This is just a request,” Egly said of the budget, which is submitted about a year before being enacted. “What we actually receive depends on the state budget process, but our request has to be entered in time for the state office to process our request to do that for all 67 counties.”

The 2020-21 budget is about 3 percent higher than the 2019-20 budget, he added.

Child welfare and justice services work hard to make Lycoming County one of the best in that field among fifth tier counties, said Commissioner Tony Mussare.

“It’s an asset to our community and I know it’s appreciated work that you do,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult.”

Commissioners Jack McKernan and Rick Mirabito were also present.

In other business, the commissioners hired: Tyler T. Bierly, part-time replacement domestic relations investigator, $22.52 per hour; Megan M. Donahay, full-time replacement Clerk III, $13.95 per hour; and Joshua D. Owens, Saleem M. Wesley, Ryan M. Long, Dane R. Markley and Olivia M. Gnoffo, full-time replacement correctional officers relief, $16.81 per hour.

The commissioners also approved:

• Contracts for at-risk youth placements in 2019-20 with Northampton County at a rate of $265 a day, Erie County at a rate of $250 a day, Adelphoi at various rates and Abraxas at various rates.

• Child welfare service contracts with EIHAB Human Services for residential care service, $175 per day; EIHAB Human Services for residential care services at per diems ranging from $196 to $224 per day; The Christian Home of Johnstown Inc. for residential care services at the per diem rate of $143 per day; Bruce Anderson, M.A. licensed psychologist, to provide mental health services, 2019-20, not to exceed $15,000; John P. Pietrovito, attorney, to serve as solicitor for Children and Youth for $5,500 per month; Greevy and Taylor Law Office to serve as substitute solicitor on an as-needed basis for $120 per hour; Angela C. Lovecchio, attorney, to provide guardian ad litem services to children petitioned before the court for $3,700 per month; Trisha Hoover Jasper and Patricia A. Shipman to provide substitute guardian ad litem services for $75 per hour; and Dr. Russell Gombosi to serve as a medical consultant at $75 per hour, not to exceed $15,000.

The commissioners approved the following professional service agreements:

• Susquehanna Motor Company Inc. for a maintenance event in the estimated amount of $16,663, for repairs to the county landfill’s 2006 Mack roll-off truck.

• Voting booth dividers from Intab, LLC. for $11,213.

And approved the following Human Services Development Fund contracts:

• Confer Home Health Services, LLC for adult homemaker services for $20,000.

• Favors Forward for Information and Referral services for $3,000.

• Jersey Shore Summer Recreation, Inc., for life skills educational services for $4,000.

• Project CoffeeHouse for the Montgomery Summer Alive program for $4,000.

The next meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday in the briefing room at the Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St.

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