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Stark Realities

Volume 12, Issue 2 February 2012

a publication of Stark County Job & Family Services

Another way to respond to Child Abuse & Neglect Customers may see Stark County Job & Family Services serious or imminent harm. It is a Food Assistance was recently chosen through a method that is used for families who competitive application process to may need support and services in benefit decrease join 33 Ohio counties participating in a new way to investigate child abuse and/or neglect - Differential Response.

Differential Response offers two options to investigate alleged child abuse/neglect: Traditional Response and Alternative Response. It is an approach in child protective services that allows for more than one method of responding to suspected reports of child abuse and/or neglect.

order to keep their children safe. Alternative Response helps connect these families to the community organizations and agencies that can provide the services they need.

According to Denise Smith, program administrator, SCJFS Children Services Division, the new method of investigation conveys a more communal approach to child protection. “We will work with the family to help them identify their needs and strengths. We will The Traditional Response is the way then assist in connecting them with cases have been typically managed community organizations that are over the years. Participating counties equipped to provide services for the will continue to use this method when needs,” Smith said. “Early results investigating reports alleging severe have shown that Alternative Response physical or sexual abuse. allows workers to give more attention to families by facilitating a Alternative Response can now be partnership and thus decreasing the applied when reports do not allege (Continued on Page 3)

Differential Response Unit

Beginning in April, Food Assistance Program customers may see a decrease in the monthly benefit. In October 2011, Ohio received an Extension to allow utility and telephone allowances to remain at the higher federal fiscal year 2011 amounts through March 31, 2012. Allowances are applied to a customer’s income to determine the amount of their benefit. The following allowances will be affected: • Standard Utility Allowance: $533 ($66 decrease from 2011), • Limited Utility Allowance: $297 ($67 decrease from 2011) • Single Standard Utility Allowance: $65 ($17 decrease from 2011) • Standard Telephone Allowance: $36 ($1 decrease from 2011) Households will receive a notice about these upcoming changes as benefit redetermination calculations are completed in March.

In This Issue

(Front row, left-right) Krishina Bates, Angela Manoogian, Breanne McArthur (Back row) Phil Kurtz, Children Services Division AR Supervisor, Latrese Sanders & Denise McPherson.

Earned Income Tax Credit.........2 OhioMeansJob.com job app......3 Tax Offset.............................................3 2012 Wear Blue to Work day ....4 Law, Love & Chocolate..............5 Upcoming Events..........................6 WB2W Flyer....................................7 Chipping in for Our Kids..............8 Community Workshops................9


Mission To partner with our customers, community and other service providers to protect children and vulnerable adults, stabilize and strengthen families, and encourage self sufficiency and personal responsibility. Executive Director Julie Barnes, M.Ed., LSW Report Child Abuse/Neglect (330) 455-KIDS(5437) (800) 233-KIDS (5437) TDD (330) 438-8879 Foster Parenting & Adopting (330) 451-8789 Apply for Assistance (330) 451-8500 Human Services Customer Service (330) 451-8861 JOBS/Child Care Information (330) 452-4661 Child Support Customer Service (330) 451-8930

Earned Income Tax Credit Can Put Money in Your Pocket You could be eligible to get more money back from the IRS-as much as $5,751. If you earned less than $49,078 from wages, self-employment or farming last year, you may qualify for a refundable tax credit called the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. But you must file a federal income tax return claiming the credit to get it. EITC can be a big financial boost for working people in a recovering economy. Millions of workers who saw their earnings drop in 2011 may qualify for the first time. The credit has been making the lives of workers a little easier for more than 37 years. Yet it remains little known, possibly because people move into and out of eligibility as their financial, marital and parental statuses change. IRS estimates four of five eligible workers claim and get their EITC.

Unlike other tax credits, both EITC eligibility and the amount of tax credit you are eligible for is based on several factors. These include, the amount of your income, or combined incomes if married, whether you have qualifying children and how many. Workers without children also may qualify. Filing status and income limits determine the amount of the credit. You may qualify for EITC even if you had no federal tax withheld or are not otherwise required to file. The credit is complex, but worth exploring. For more information about EITC, visit www.IRS.gov.

Stark Realities is a publication of Stark County Job & Family Services. If you have questions or comments, contact Bill Burgess at (330) 451-8869 or e-mail burgew@odjfs.state.oh.us.

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www.StarkDJFS.org


Phone App gives Ohioans access to tens of thousands of job openings By Benjamin Johnson, Deputy Director Ohio Department of Job & Family Services

The new OhioMeansJobs mobile phone application allows Ohioans to search, save and apply for jobs from their iPhone, iPad or Android device. The app combines unique data from the state of Ohio with advanced search tools and filter technology from Monster. Job seekers can use the app to view their resumes and search tens of thousands of job openings by job title, keyword and location. “The OhioMeansJobs mobile app makes finding your next job faster and easier,” said Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Michael Colbert. “The app and web site combine to provide the information, tips, specialized search tools and targeted exposure that sets a job seeker

apart from the pack.” Developed through a partnership with Monster, the mobile app also aggregates internship openings posted on nearly any website in Ohio.

“At the Board of Regents, we are focused on helping students complete their education and find a career,” Chancellor Jim Petro said. “Mobile devices such as iPhones are the type of technology these students are using. By using the mobile phone app to inform students about jobs and internships, we are reaching out to them in a way they are comfortable communicating.” The OhioMeansJobs web site also offers specialized job search assistance for Ohio’s veterans and always lists veterans’ resumes first when employers are searching for candidates. In addition to serving job seekers, OhioMeansJobs is a valuable tool for

Child Support State & Federal Tax Offset A tax offset occurs when a person owes arrearages on his or her child support case. The law states this money must be deducted from the payor’s income tax refund. Stark County Job and Family Services’ Child Support Enforcement Division offers these facts about tax offset. 1. Federal tax offset occurs if the following criteria are met: For arrears owed the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the case arrears must be at least $150.00 for offset to occur. For arrears owed to the obligee, the arrears must be at least $500. Federal rules allow offset to occur even if the child is 18 or older. 2. An obligor filing a joint Federal return will have the money held for six months in case the obligor’s current

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spouse files an injured spouse claim. Filing of this claim requires the IRS to determine how much of the refund should be returned to the spouse. 3. State of Ohio tax offset only requires the obligor to be $150 or more in arrears. 4. A current spouse only has 21 days to file the injured spouse claim to the Ohio Department of Taxation. If you have questions about Child Support’s tax offset, you may call the agency’s Child Support Customer Service Call Center at 330-451-8930.

business owners and hiring managers. The web site gives Ohio-based employers free access to the Monster resume bank, a savings of more than $10,000 annually, and provides information on how a business owner’s next hire could earn him or her an $8,000 On-the-Job Training grant. On-the-Job Training grants allow businesses to hire and train the right person for less by providing cash reimbursement for hiring an eligible, out-of-work Ohioan. Employers can post job openings on OhioMeansJobs for free and use advanced search tools and customizing filters to narrow down many resumes to a smaller group of the most promising candidates.

Download the OhioMeansJobs mobile

Differential Response (Continued from Page 1)

likelihood that Alternative Response families will return to our system.” Smith cautions that individuals who make a report of child abuse and/ or neglect should not presume it to be one response type or the other. “We do not want this to change the way people make reports. We will receive the reports as we always have and make the determination from the information we receive,” Smith said. One unit has been identified and will initiate Differential Response in early April. The Agency will have another unit prepared to begin in the fall. Child abuse/neglect can be reported 24 hours/day and 365 days/year. To make a report in Stark County, call 330-455-KIDS(5437).

www.StarkDJFS.org


ODJFS Takes Lead in Preventing Food Assistance Fraud By Benjamin Johnson, Deputy Director Ohio Department of Job & Family Services

Ohio’s food assistance program outperforms most other states in payment accuracy, error rates and numbers of replacement benefit cards issued, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced today. In fact, according to a recent federal report, only 12 states issued fewer replacement cards per household than Ohio. “We are extremely proud of this record, and of our performance in administering this program,” said ODJFS Director Michael B. Colbert. “Our Food Assistance staff do a tremendous job.” ODJFS uses a variety of proven methods to deter and detect fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called the SNAP or food stamp program. ODJFS also

partners with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to identify and punish those convicted of stealing or misusing food assistance. Ohio distributes food assistance through an electronic card system called the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system. Any EBT card reported lost, stolen or damaged is immediately deactivated, and the account is frozen. Food assistance beneficiaries are instructed to report lost or stolen cards immediately, and ODJFS does not, under any circumstance, replenish benefits for or provide additional benefits to an individual whose EBT card was lost or stolen and misused. Instead, families are issued a replacement card. This new card contains only the unused balance in the individual’s account and is printed and mailed at no additional cost to taxpayers. Individuals with unusually high replacement card requests are flagged

and reported for review. In addition, the EBT system recognizes bar codes and prevents individuals from using an EBT card to purchase alcohol, tobacco and other prohibited items. ODJFS also monitors out-of-state transactions, transactions outside of normal business hours and exceeded PIN attempts. Plus, the agency partners with the Ohio Department of Public Safety to investigate retailer fraud and EBT card trafficking. Depending on the amount of benefits involved, individuals convicted of defrauding the program can be fined up to $250,000, sent to jail for up to 20 years, or both. Any individual found selling or misusing food assistance could be banned for life from collecting food assistance. Food Assistance is entirely federally funded. In 2011, Ohio distributed nearly $3 billion in food assistance to more than 850,000 families. Beneficiaries must earn 130 percent or less of the federal poverty level, about $24,220 for a family of four.

Wear Blue to Work, April 11 The Public Children Services Association of Ohio has chosen “Wear Blue to Work” as a statewide campaign to promote Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.

This year’s event will take place across the state on Wednesday, April 11. Stark County Job & Family Services created the marketing campaign last year. Many local businesses and organizations participated in the one-day show of support. The agency used social media to promote the event. Photos of participating employees were posted to the agency’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you or your company would like to participate in the event, contact Bill Burgess at 330-451-8869 (burgew@odfjfs.state.oh.us) or Brent Hite at 330-451-8882 (hiteb@odjfs.state.oh.us).

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www.StarkDJFS.org


Family Court can now access video conferencing and arraignment By Mary Ann Abel, Assistant Court Administrator, Stark County Family Court.

Last August, Stark County Family Court received a grant from DYS to obtain video conferencing equipment to reduce costs related to transporting youth throughout Ohio. Court equipment includes a 55” flat screen, a top-of-the-line camera, the computer hardware to make it all work, and a cart to which everything is mounted to make it mobile. Intake Officer Jake Morgan has coordinated Family Court’s video conferencing efforts and the video equipment is now up and running. Family Court is able to communicate

with people wherever the Internet is available. Judges can conduct warrant pickups and arraignments right from the Stark County Jail, hold review hearings and arraignments with youth in any DYS facility, and even communicate with prisoners incarcerated in the Ohio Department of Corrections.

to have video visitations with family members residing in Stark County. Family Court now has the ability to video conference with court personnel throughout the state, as well as to participate in meetings, conferences, etc., all from the sixth floor.

The Court also has the ability to let attorneys conference with juveniles and adults held in various facilities. Currently, plans are underway to make it possible for a DYSsentenced youth housed elsewhere in the state

Save the Date! Feb. 13, 2012 4:30 - 7:30 p.m.

The Canton Club

101 Central Plaza, Suite #1200, Canton, Ohio

The Akron Law Alumni Association and Stark County Bar Association present

LAW, LOVE & Chocolate

Celebrity Chocolatiers will provide savory samplings of chocolate delicacies • Live Auction and Basket Raffle • Hors d’ oeuvres and Cash Bar • Complimentary Champagne Welcome and Valet Parking Tickets: $40 per person in advance; $50 per person after Feb. 6 Preview Event: Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 from 4 - 6 p.m. Hors d’ oeuvres and Cash Bar Tickets: $20 per person Register: 330-972-7246 • staats@uakron.edu • uakron.edu/law/alumni

Proceeds will support Friends of the Children’s Network of Stark County, Inc. The University of Akron is an Equal Education and Employment Institution ©2012

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www.StarkDJFS.org


Upcoming Events February 16 Community Workshop

SCJFS: Spend Down 10 a.m. (221 3rd Street S.E., Canton)

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President’s Day

SCJFS Offices Closed

23 Community Workshop

Couponing Workshop Participants receive a $10 Giant Eagle voucher 10 a.m. Registration required by 1/21 - Call 330-451-8028

24 Community Workshop

SARTA Travel Training Earn a 31-day bus pass upon completion 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. Registration required by 2/22 - Call 330-451-8028

28 Community Workshop

SCJFS: Resource (Asset Assessment) 10 a.m. (221 3rd Street S.E., Canton)

March 3

Information Table

Wellness Fair St. Paul’s Catholic Church 241 South Main Street, North Canton, 44720 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

March 19

Information Table

Canton Salvation Army 42 Market Ave. S., Canton, 44702 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Midtown Lobby Guests

Community Partners are invited to share information with our Midtown customers on Mondays and Fridays. To schedule your agency, contact Jan Hill at 330-451-8028. Buckeye Health will be in the lobby most Tuesdays, Care Source on Wednesdays and United Health Care on Thursdays.

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www.StarkDJFS.org


Wear Blue to Work! Will you wear blue to work on April 11 and make a difference in the life of a child?

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Stark County Job & Family Services receives close to 500 calls a month regarding child abuse and neglect. We want to engage you as our partner in raising awareness about child abuse and neglect - so together, we can show a united effort in preventing child abuse.

Child Abuse Is Preventable. Wear Blue to Work on

April 11, 2012 STARK COUNTY

Take a picture of yourself, your group or company wearing blue, and post it on our Facebook page! For more information, contact Bill Burgess at 330-451-8869 or Brent Hite at 330-451-8882. Visit “Stark County Job & Family Services� on Facebook.

JOB &

FAMILY S ERVICES


Community Workshops

Free and Open to Customers & Community Partners

February 2012 SCJFS: On Line Applications Thursday, Feb. 9th at 10 a.m. SCJFS: Medicaid Spend Down Thursday, Feb. 16th at 10 a.m. SCJFS: Couponing Workshop Participants receive a $10 Giant Eagle Voucher. Thursday, Feb. 23rd at 10 a.m. Each session will ONLY accommodate 10 participants. Registration required by Feb. 21st - Call 330-451-8028 SARTA Travel Training Earn a 31-day bus pass upon completion. Friday, Feb. 24th at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m. or 12 p.m. Registration required by Feb. 22nd - Call 330-451-8028

SCJFS: Resource (Asset) Assessment Learn about the tool and guidelines used to assess Long Term Care Medicaid eligibility (Waivers and Nursing Homes). Tuesday, Feb. 28th at 1:30-3:30 p.m. Unless noted, reservations are not required to attend SCJFS’ workshops. Those interested in attending should arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the workshop start time. Participants do not have to check in at the lobby window. A member from Training and Staff Development will announce the workshop and escort participants to the assigned conference area. If you have questions regarding the community workshops, contact SCJFS program administrator Kellijo Jeffries at 330-451-8868.

The workshops are located at:

Stark County Job & Family Services Midtown Plaza STARK COUNTY 221 3rd St. S.E. OB & AMILY Canton, Ohio 44702

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J

SERVIC ES


Stark Realties, February 2012