Polk DSS served 2,851 Medicaid residents in 2009

Published 12:53 am Friday, December 3, 2010

The Polk County Department of Social Services (DSS) recently submitted to county commissioners its annual report of services for fiscal year 2009-2010, which includes all services provided for Polk residents.
The report includes data for child protective services, adult services, child day care services, Medicaid, food and nutrition services, crisis intervention services, child support and budgets for services. The report also includes data pertaining to who is in charge of specific services and lengths of time each employee has been with the department.
Polk County’s Medicaid residents in 2009-2010 totaled 2,851, with 2,019 individuals under family/children programs and 832 individuals under adult programs, according to the report.
Total costs for Medicaid for Polk County recipients totaled $20,996,795, with 35 percent being provided by the state and 65 percent provided by the federal government.
The number of child protective service cases included 193 for the year, including assessments and in-home services.
“Most children are best served by remaining in the custody of their own families,” states the report. “Reasonable efforts must be made to preserve a child’s safety, health and well-being in his or her own home. However, there are situations when removal from the home is necessary to preserve the child and if granted, foster care services are implemented.”
The report explains that a combination of factors usually leads to the placement of a child in foster care, including parental substance abuse or mental illness; domestic violence between the parents or caretakers; physical, sexual or emotional abuse of the child; failure to provide a minimal standard of care which leads to neglect of the child; illness or death of a parent and abandonment.
“Foster care is a family-focused service that is time-limited, goal-oriented and is intended to be a temporary arrangement for children,” states the report. “The goal for every child who enters foster care is a safe, permanent home as soon as possible, whether that means reunification with the birth family, custody or guardianship with relatives or kin, or adoption.”
The report says that the number of Polk County children in foster care varies, but usually there are around 33 children who are in legal custody, the responsibility of the Polk County DSS.
There were 18 individuals and families in Polk County during fiscal year 2009-2010 who were seeking to adopt children, and 10 children were adopted during the year. All those children were adopted by their foster families.
The report says five adoptions were processed for step-parent, relative and independent placements.
DSS also handles adult protective services, which includes help to disabled adults or disabled emancipated minors who are reported to be abused, neglected or exploited.
The DSS had 25 adult protective service evaluations during 2009-2010 and had 17 adult protective services outreach cases, according to the report.
Activities for child protective services include completing an evaluation to determine the need for initial or continued placement; helping the individual’s families in locating and securing placement in a suitable setting and level of care and suporting an individual/family in the transition from one location to another and in maintaining the placement.
The report also includes a letter from DSS Director Sue Rhodes to commissioners. Rhodes emphasized in the letter that Polk County’s DSS is one of the smaller agencies in the state when considering staff size, yet the department must provide all the programs and services mandated by law and statutes.
The letter also discusses the employees at the DSS and that the majority of the employees are long-term, with three having worked for the department more than 25 years and two other employees more than 20 years.
“For the staff and myself, I want to thank you for recognizing our efforts in these positions of service and the need for a better working environment,”said Rhodes in her letter to commissioners. “The new human services building currently in the building phase is much appreciated and much deserved by the staff who choose to serve the citizens of Polk County.”

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