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Athens County Job and Family Services to lay off workers, lose money


Athens County Job and Family Services will lay off 18 employees and lose up to $1.2 million  in funding if the proposed version of Ohio’s biennial budget passes.

Ohio’s House and Senate have passed different versions of the budget and are working to reconcile them before passing it on to Governor John Kasich. If passed, the budget would reduce funding to “human services programs, local governments, education and other areas of the state government,” according to a ACJFS news release.

Along with the $1.2 million, ACJFS is projected to lose $670,000 in federal stimulus funds, resulting in the elimination of 25 positions and laying off of 18 employees. The staff will likely be left with 87 members as compared to the previous 112, according to the release.

The safety net system is especially vital to Athens County, which has the highest poverty rate in the state, said Athens Job and Family Services Community Relations Coordinator Nick Claussen.

“[Athens] has a major problem with people not being able to meet basic needs,” Claussen said. “(With more reductions), it will take longer to get to these people because we will have fewer people working on the programs.”

ACJFS has endured other changes in recent years. Among other alterations, 2009 budget cuts have caused the eradication of programs that “help families pay for car repairs or work uniforms, a teen pregnancy prevention program, a dental program and a program that provided free computers and computer training to families,” according to the ACJFS release. 

In addition, the cuts have caused programs such as the Workforce Investment Act job training program and the tax assistance center program to shrink, as well.

“People need more support, not less,” Claussen said. “We can’t cut funding for programs that are there to help them.”

In addition to reducing staff, the current proposal will even further modify or eliminate many of the agency’s programs.

These include cutting child support hearings in half, freezing enrollment for the Hocking College retention program and summer employment programs for youth and adults and eliminating funding for the Athens County Food Pantry.

Clients will receive no assistance with their Social Security disability applications and will likely face delays upon requesting help or changes in their cases. 


“Our staff members struggle every day to meet the overwhelming demands of an increasing caseload of families in need,” said Director Jack Frech in the release. “Cutting services to poor people to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy represents the worst of what’s left of our social conscience.”

“We will continue our fight to restore these cuts and to provide adequate assistance for our most vulnerable citizens,” he added.


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