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County funding awarded to groups
All work with Juvenile Court
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Forsyth County News

The Forsyth County Social Services Committee came in under budget in recommending grants for nonprofit agencies.

The group went through its annual review Thursday morning, recommending awards for eight of 11 local organizations that must work in some capacity with Juvenile court.

Of the $435,000 budgeted for the grants in 2013, the committee decided to grant $378,000 and put the rest in reserves, pending further information.

The recommendations will be sent to the county commission for final approval next month.

As in past years, the committee awarded the largest portion to the Department of Family and Children Services at $171,000, the same amount as in 2012.

Member Nancy Smallwood said the amount makes sense because “that’s the most direct serving Juvenile Court agency.”

The group discussed whether to revert to having commissioners budget a supplement to the state-funded agency, but opted to keep DFCS under the purview of the committee.

The requests from the organizations totaled $583,000, but the four-member group chose which funding to consider for award based on the purpose of the money, the agency’s financial position and the impact of the nonprofit on the county’s youth.

The other agencies recommended for funding include: Bald Ridge Lodge at $75,000: Court Appointed Special Advocates of Forsyth County at $35,000: Forsyth County Child Advocacy Center at $35,000; Mentor Me North Georgia at $20,000; Children’s Center for Hope & Healing at $15,000; Supporting Adoption and Foster Families Together at $15,000; and Family Haven at $12,000.

The group opted not to recommend funding for Jesse’s House, Abba House or Faith’s House.

Commissioner Patrick Bell, who serves on the committee, expressed concern about the amount of unrestricted money in reserves for at least one of the agencies, as well as an increase in salaries.

“They increased [their] cash balance over and above what the county gave them [last year],” Bell said. “The goal has always been to help agencies that provide vital services until they get over the hump … It’s like seed money.”

He agreed the agencies provide great services in the community, but thought county funding likely could be better placed somewhere else.

“Do they need the money or are they just asking because it’s here?” he said.

The committee placed that funding into reserves until receiving more information, as was done last year with the remaining $51,000.

The county commission in 2011 opted to place that money with an agency the committee had not recommended for a grant.