Pocahontas Commission Approves Funding For Child And Youth Advocacy Center For Next Fiscal Year
Marlinton, Wv – Earlier this year the Pocahontas County Commission decided to take a different approach on how to distribute a limited amount of discretionary funding for various organizations in the county. Their first attempt at this came during the May 3rd Commission meeting. Of the six organizations who applied, the Commission agreed to fund only two, the Child and Youth Advocacy Center and the Northern Pocahontas Food Pantry.
The Commissioners approved a contribution of $2000.00 to the food pantry, out of this fiscal year’s budget. The contribution for the CYAC for $10,000.00 will come out of next years’ fiscal budget that begins on July 1st. In the past the Commission had given the CYAC a $5000.00 yearly contribution. CYAC Director Monica Accord says part of the increased cost is the office they’ve opened in the last year.
“About this time last year we got the satellite office here” says Accord. “We have equipment here, we’re able to forensic interviews from up here; we send a forensic interviewer here often, sometimes twice a week. The last interview happened Friday (April 29th)-that’s a case that has potentially several different victims and it’s very important.”
“We had done 20 forensic interviews in the year before we had our satellite office; we doubled those numbers and it was 40 last year. I feel like if we really start to do what we need to do, there’s going to be 70 or 80 children.”
Accord says it’s also going to cost more to keep Americorps Vista volunteer Kat Thompson on the staff for the Marlinton office, because of increased costs within that program.
Commissioner Martin Saffer raised the concern that giving this amount of money to one organization could make them a de facto department of county government. He asked if the Pocahontas County Sheriff or the Prosecuting Attorney’s office contributed anything to the CYAC. Accord says both offices work closely with the CYAC, but she says they don’t provide direct financial assistance.
“It’s in the state code that Child Advocacy Centers, that we’re independent” she says. “So we’re not in the hip pocket of DHHR [West Virginia Division of Health and Human Resources] or the Prosecutor’s office.”
Commission President David Fleming made a motion to approve a $10,000.00 contribution. Commissioner Saffer countered with a $7500.00 contribution. Commissioner Jamie Walker agreed with Fleming’s motion, which passed on a 2 to 1 vote with Saffer opposed.
Other contribution requests discussed on Tuesday include a $7000.00 request from CASA [Court Appointed Special Advocates], $4000.00 for the Family Resource Network, to be distributed only on an as needed basis; $1000.00 for the Mountain Resource Conservation and Development council and a large request for the High Rocks Academy. The Commissioners took no action on the FRN request. They tabled the other requests until the next meeting on May 17th.