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County mulls stricter process for funding nonprofits
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A new proposal could change how Forsyth County funds certain nonprofits in the future but will not impact the remainder of 2019 funding.

At the work session, commissioners approved continuing funding Children’s Center for Hope and Healing, Forsyth County Family Haven and Mentor Me as planned through the remainder of 2019 and having the county’s social services committee look at how funding will continue in the future.

The social services committee is made up of Commissioners Molly Cooper and Cindy Jones Mills, United Way of Forsyth County’s Ruth Goode, Forsyth County Community Connection’s Sarah Pedarre and Katie Newman, mental health services coordinator for Forsyth County Schools.

Each year, the committee opens up grant funding for local nonprofits, which must benefit the Forsyth County Juvenile Court, which must certify each recipient.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said there had been a “paradigm shift” since the committee was formed in 2010 as the Forsyth County Superior Court has taken on much of the management of the juvenile court.

Much of the discussion revolved around the fact that each grant recipient must provide direct services to the juvenile court instead of indirect services, as the county can only give funds “for a service that the county has the legal authority to provide.”

“That discussion has started an even bigger discussion, and that is the social services wanted to be wrapped around exclusively the axel of juvenile court funding, if you will, or do we want to maybe move the magnifying glass a few degrees back and look at public safety or maybe even a generalized port services,” Jarrard said.

Before deciding to wait for the committee to come back with a recommendation, county leaders discussed how they could make sure the nonprofits were providing “quantifiable services,” whether the services need to be tied to the court system and how to fund uses that might not have a direct service to the court system, such as a shelter for women and children.

“To me, that is something that is essential inside our community,” Cooper said. “Now, it’s not a direct service to juvenile court. I don’t know how it could even be a direct service to superior court. Perhaps some way in public safety, I’m not sure, but we need to have a little [flexibility] for these services that are necessary inside a community.”