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Old 07-13-2018, 09:52 PM
Newton Daily News Newton Daily News is offline
 
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Default Parents as Teachers program future bleak in Jasper County

With talks stalled between Jasper and Marion Counties, employees working with the Parents as Teachers program will be without a job come July 31.

The Jasper County Board of Health discussed the future of the program and those employees in the county during its regular monthly meeting Thursday.

Parents as Teachers is a nonprofit organization that promotes optimal early development, learning and health of young children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.

“The Parents as Teacher contract was with Marion County and we were subcontracted through them. There was some miscommunication with some of their employees and ours and it just wasn’t beneficial or healthy for this department to subcontract with a county where we feel our philosophies of running a department are extremely different,” board chair Margot Voshell said.

Marion County is the funding agent for the program and stipulated the contract as non-negotiable with Jasper County. Voshell said the county wants Becky Pryor, Jasper County Health Department director, to have an understanding of what was happening with the employees currently working on the program, but Marion County was not willing to engage in that.

“That didn’t mesh with the philosophies with the programs we have,” Voshell said.

Because of the lack of funding, Jasper County can’t do the program on its own, Pryor said.

“It is just a sad day. Our staff has poured their hearts into it and I want to commend them, especially Melissa (program coordinator) for everything she has done,” Pryor said. “We have a full caseload with a waiting list and have done four Parent Cafés with 221 people attending.”

Board member Mike Balmer asked if Jasper County would have the opportunity to apply as a single entity in the future. Pryor said there is a jump process in the spring but it will be very competitive to receive the funding.

“I still think we need services in the county,” Pryor said. “We still need resources for the clients, we have to focus on the clients and not letting them fall in the gaps of service.”

Voshell also commented that the county is not unique is its concerns with Marion County.

“I have visited with a few other counties who work with them and their struggle is our struggle,” Voshell said.

The board and department are continuing to develop ideas to fill the gaps and address the employees who will be out of work including creating a new floater position to work in several areas within the department.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com




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