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County Executive and County Council Approves and Adopts Legislation to Place Renewal of the Summit County Children Services Board Levy on November 2018 Ballot

On June 18, 2018 Summit County Executive Shapiro and Summit County Council approved and adopted Resolution 2018-241, which will place the issue of renewing the Summit County Children Services Board levy before voters this fall.  The legislation is a critical step to continuing child safety, permanency, and well-being programs and services to thousands of children in Summit County.  The levy will appear on the November 6, 2018 election ballot.

County Council and County Executive Shapiro had previously adopted and signed a Resolution of Necessity last month, and the County’s Social Services Advisory Board (SSAB), made up of community social service leaders recommended that the renewal levy be placed on the ballot.  If adopted, the renewal levy will continue for a period of six years beginning with the 2019 tax list and duplicate, for collection in years 2020 through 2025.

“Thousands of children in Summit County depend on this levy renewal to fund programs and services that help to improve the quality of their lives and family environments,” said County Executive Shapiro. “So many of these children are dealing with trauma and instability that no child should ever experience. This levy is not only an investment in their lives and their wellbeing, it is also a critical investment in the future of our community.”

The proposed levy will increase 1 mill, an increase from 2.25 mills to 3.25 mills in order to provide sufficient services. The opiate crisis in Summit County has had a significant impact on Summit County Children Services (SCCS), as the number of children who entered custody has drastically increased. In the last two years, there has been a 17% increase in the number of children entering custody in cases of substance abuse and the cost of placement and care for children affected by substance abuse and the opiate crisis has increased 18%. These increases have caused tremendous financial strain on the agency in meeting the needs of children and families.

“Summit County Children Services is being increasingly burdened with the effects of the opiate epidemic and the impact it is having on children and families,” said County Council President John Schmidt. “The services they provide are imperative for the daily care and stability of so many children in our county.”

Summit County Children Services has not requested an increase to the levy in the last 30 years. “Last year SCCS served nearly 10,000 abused and neglected children, and many of those children are silent victims of the opioid epidemic,” said Summit County Children Services Executive Director Julie Barnes. “Ohio ranks 50th in the nation in State financial support to child protection services, so local support is critical to keep the children of Summit County safe.”

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