A celebration of Christmas with the community

Dec. 12, 2012 @ 08:25 AM

The Caldwell County Department of Social Services started celebrating the Christmas season with its Foster Care Children’s Christmas party, held recently at First Baptist Church of Lenoir.

At Tuesday’s Caldwell County DSS Board meeting, program supervisor Melinda Price and social worker Valerie Ackerman spoke about the success of the party, which welcomed 114 people, including 56 children. 

The Anneal Ledbetter Sunday school class at First Baptist Church hosted the event, while various local businesses, including Krispy Kreme, donated food and gifts. Drawings also were held for a boys' bicycle and girls' bicycle, as well as a flat-screen TV for one lucky teen.

April Davis also spoke to the board about the success of the Angel Tree program for area seniors. This year, 121 referrals were received, an increase of 48 from last year.  Everyone referred will receive a gift, thanks to donations from local churches and the Broyhill Family Foundation.

Meanwhile, program administrator Jennifer Bowman informed the board that they will not be participating in the IV-E waiver program. Nine states participate in the program, however, Bowman said it is not a good time to join due to the unknown impact on the budget, as well as the significant changes that case management is currently undergoing. 

Bowman also informed the board that the application for the REAP (Reaching for Excellence and Accountability in Practice) pilot program was approved.

In addition, program administrator Will Wakefield spoke about the changes to the Person Care Services program. Due to the recent revision of eligibility criteria, approximately 46 percent of individuals currently receiving personal care services will no longer be eligible as of Dec. 31. 

Individuals have been re-assessed over the course of this year, and letters will be sent out next week informing them if they are no longer eligible. Those being denied will be able to file an appeal.

Wakefield mentioned the importance of assisting those individuals released from assisted living facilities, with figuring out where to go.  Board member Rob Bratcher echoed those sentiments, saying board members should be advocates and look for ways to send a message that their local citizens need to be taken care of.

In other business, the board:

• Reviewed data for the month of November. The report showed that 12,852 individuals received Family/Children Medicaid; 117 elderly and disabled adults were able to remain in their homes due to assistance by the Community Alternatives Program; $2,015, 530 of food assistance benefits were dispersed to 16,837 individuals; and Emergency Assistance screened 796 applicants and obligated $177,794 of Crisis Intervention, Work First and United Way Funds. 

• Announced that the agency's Christmas drop-in will be held Dec. 18 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Tammy Austin Conference Room of the Health & Human Services Building. 

• Announced that the January meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan.  29 at 3 p.m. in the City/County Chambers at the Alden E. Starnes County Office Building.