You are here: Home / News / From the JFS Director's Desk "A Year of Dedication"

From the JFS Director's Desk "A Year of Dedication"

How should we mark a year of a pandemic that has turned life upside down across our county and across the world?

 

From the JFS Director's Desk

 

 

How should we mark a year of a pandemic that has turned life upside down across our county and across the world?

 

To begin with, we should all pause to remember and reflect on those we’ve lost in these 365 days. For our community, it means 48 loved ones whose smiles, hugs and handshakes we’ll never have again.

 

From that thought, we at Perry County Job and Family Services (PCJFS) are commemorating this loss with a dedication to create more a prosperous and just community for 2021 and beyond. And we are dedicating it to every member of our team who stepped up and delivered our critical services in the past year.

 

Looking at the ways our team at PCJFS responded to the challenges of the past year tells me that we will have an exceptional year ahead. Here are just some of the ways we persevered in the past year that leads to my conclusion about the coming one.

 

When Perry County workers faced sudden job loss and needed a partner in finding their next job and upskilling to succeed in it, our OhioMeansJobs Center team worked through the pandemic to provide our residents with services of job search, resume building, career planning and especially funding for training and skill development. We even moved our Center late last year to a more accessible and appropriate location in the Perry Campus building of Hocking College.

 

We all know that the childcare system was disrupted by the pandemic. But our efforts, continuing without stop during the pandemic, contributed to getting childcare restarted safely and helped childcare benefits to remain accessible for those eligible. In particular, our role of overseeing providers who offer childcare in their own homes supported a childcare solution important to many Perry County working families.

 

We advocated at the state level and then helped locally in redirecting the support of school lunch programs to families stuck in lockdown. We did this by supporting the creation of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program for children in k-12 school. The P-EBT turned school lunches into support for buying food items at grocery stores and helped thwart food insecurity in our community.

 

Our Adult Protective Services (APS) team kept up their investigations into abuse, neglect, and exploitation of citizens aged 60 and older despite the pandemic. Our case workers made 75 home visits to ensure the safety and well-being of this vulnerable population.

 

We met the tidal wave of demand through a combination of foresight, preparation and investment in our staff. Our Shared Services Strategy provided PCJFS workers the ability to work from home safely, where they could process food, cash and medical applications with an average application time of under fifteen minute wait time. Applicants received their services more safely through our technology than they would have delivering their paperwork in person. An added benefit is that more than 50% of all applications were process on the spot, without follow up appointments and phone calls.

 

The Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) at PCJFS adjusted quickly to the pandemic, for example, leading the adoption of telephonic hearings. We established a drive-up DNA paternity testing service and never shut down during COVID. Our continued work often helped to prevent poverty of single parents in the county.

 

To help battle isolation and the digital divide faced by older adults in the county, exacerbated by the pandemic, we conducted a Senior Connections and Engagement program that taught 45 seniors in intensive, multi-day course programs, how to safely and effectively access the internet. We then provided those who completed the course with the computer tools needed to stay connected to family, friends and health care during the pandemic and beyond.

 

Our staff didn’t let the pandemic stand in the way of our efforts in support of community development. In fact, faced with a costly undercount in the Census, we took a lead in getting Perry County people counted by covering the county with our Mobile Service Unit. They also faced new challenges in recreating the way the Back to School was delivered and revamped the summer employment programs making it virtual so the youth could still participate.

 

Our agency operates Perry County Transit (PCT), giving our part of rural Ohio the chance for a service that urban Ohio has long benefited from. PCT and its drivers never stopped running during the pandemic. We adopted deep cleaning measures, made PPE available to riders and even made all of our rides free for Perry residents. For many residents, our vehicles became the front office of their essential medical visits, as our drivers were trained to support people from their home door right into the doctor’s office or the vaccination clinic.

 

I hope you agree that these stories of ingenuity and perseverance in serving our community in the face of a pandemic give plenty of reason to think PCJFS can honor our dedication and contribute to defeating poverty, and achieving growth and prosperity for 2021 and beyond.

 

Cheryl Boley

@cherylboley35

 

Upcoming Events
PCBDD Invites You to a Ribbon Cutting | May 14, 2021 May 14, 2021 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM — Perry County Bd of Developmental Disabilities - 601 Senior Dr, New Lexington, OH 43764
Southeast Ohio Foodbank to host food distribution for Perry County residents | May 14, 2021 May 14, 2021 01:00 PM - 03:00 PM — Perry County Fairgrounds - 5445 St Rt 37 E, New Lexington, OH 43764
OU J & J COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic | May 15, 2021 May 15, 2021 09:00 AM - 02:00 PM — Southern Local Schools - 10397 St Rt 155, Corning, OH 43730
Coffee with some Commissioners | Tuesday, May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021 07:30 AM - 08:30 AM — Dodson's on Broadway - 313 W Broadway St, New Lexington, OH 43764
Area 14 and Hocking College Job Fair | May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021 10:00 AM - 02:00 PM — Hocking College - 3301 Hocking Pkwy, Nelsonville, OH 45764
Upcoming events…