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Funding discussed at Social Services meeting
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An ongoing discussion on the future funding of projects through the Forsyth County Social Services Committee continued this week at a meeting with the group.

After a discussion during a recent Forsyth County Board of Commissioners' work session, members of the committee discussed funding for next year and current funding with the Forsyth County Division of Family and Children Services, or DFACS. Members voted to hold meetings with DFACS and Forsyth County Child Advocacy Center, or CAC, before making a decision on funding.

“The last time that we met, we had a discussion about the change in process that has been ongoing ever since juvenile court sort of changed guard, and we were looking at doing an involving system, more or less a receipt system,” said District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills. “We made a recommendation and our board approved going to that, and we talked a lot about direct and indirect services and how to keep up with that.”

The social services committee is made up of Commissioners Molly Cooper and 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 at the previous meeting 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.”

“I’m trying to get clear lines here to make sure that what we are funding is going to what it says it goes to, and I’m not trying to deny anyone funding. I’m just trying to get a record on it,” Cooper said.

For the child advocacy center, there was some discussion about how many services a center in Hall County was providing for Forsyth and past issues with data figures from the local center. Mills recommended having a meeting with law enforcement to talk about future uses of the CAC.

“It would probably be a good idea with [District Attorney] Penny Penn, the sheriff and CAC, to have all three here and talk that through to make sure that everybody is seeing it the same way,” Mills said.

Recommendations made by the board will come to a future meeting of the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.