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Economy Creates Rise In Business For Center

By Staff | May 13, 2009

In this troubled economy with layoffs and job cuts, Wetzel County Commissioners heard from Beth Glow, Starting Points Coordinator from the Wetzel County Center for Children and Family. Glow was present for the county commission meeting on May 5 to give her quarterly report to the commissioners. She also let them know how the money donated to the center last year was used and to request a donation from the commission’s next fiscal budget if possible.

She explained that when families come to the center they can see all the resources that are available for them. Because of the center having the information there, it saves families driving around in different locations to obtain what they need.

She told the commissioners that even the play group that is offered at the center has helped a lot families find out more on what help is available for them.

The center also now has Dr. Ellen Kitts, a pediatrician who is present once every three month for special needs children.

Glow explained that although they do get some funding from the state, she was thankful the commission gave the center $4,000 last year to help continue their services.

Commission President Don Mason asked if the services were countywide. She replied that formerly it was just around the New Martinsville area, but they have people coming from Shortline, Silverhill and Proctor areas, Paden City, and other locales in Wetzel County. And they do home visits in those areas as well with the In Home Education Program.

She went on to explain that 90 percent of the families are of low-income and they are getting many referrals especially now with the economy.

Mason asked, “Do you see an increase in family services?” Glow replied definitely. She went on to explain that they are getting more phone calls of referrals, especially from families who have lost half or even all of their family income.

Mason asked Glow how a family finds out about the available services. Glow replied that they get referrals from the Department of Health and Human Resources and word of mouth also.

She mentioned how one time when PPG was on strike, they went directly to the strike line and gave information to them about their services, how they could help, and information about the West Virginia CHIP insurance for children.

Glow told the commissioners that they have reached out at community events with informational booths at the Town and County Days, Chilli-Fest, and other events.

She told the commissioners that the center has been in existence for 11 years now and still some of the general public does not know what they offer.

Glow expressed, “The center is trying to help the families that need their assistance until they can get back on their feet again.” She stressed that they have had helped 259 individuals and 172 families just in this quarter alone.

Mason said they would let Glow know by June 30 if they can assist the center again this year, after looking over the budget.

The Wetzel County Center for Children and Family is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and anyone is welcome to walk in for information or see what resources are available to them. It is located on state Route 7 just past the Wetzel 4-H Camp grounds, or as some remember, the career center as it was called in the past.

The center houses the Early Start grogram which is now called the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program, the Parents as Teachers program, and the West Virginia Extension office. They also offer information and phone numbers on resources about the WIC Program, CHIP program (West Virginia Children’s Health Program), Department of Health and Human Resources, and much more.

They have a play group that meets once a week on Fridays and it has two time slots, 10 to 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. Their Web site is www.wcplaygroup.bravehost.com.

There is also a play group that recently started at the Tyler County Family Resource Network Center; it meets every third Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.

In these play groups, the parents and children stay together. There is reading of a story, craft time and snack; the parents get to network with one another and the children get to socialize with each other and gain interest in reading.

The In Home Education Program or Parents as Teachers program that the center offers is available to Wetzel County and Tyler County residents.

This program offers personal home visits for information about child development and parenting information. They offer screenings and resources as well. It is for families throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten.

The Parent Educator Resource Center or (PERC) is also available for parents at the center and they have much information to assist caregivers by calling (304) 455-3014. Anita Estel is the parent coordinator for this program.

The center also offers its big room for rental for birthday parties which includes the play equipment inside for ages eight and under.

There is also a computer lab where the public can sign in to do research online and even sign up for programs like the WV CHIP insurance program which is based on a family’s size.

One can call (304) 455-2468 to contact Glow or Marsha Croasmun for more information on the their services.

The West Virginia Extension Office is also located at the center which offers 4-H Youth Development and Events, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Community Development. 4-H camp for children this year will be held in June at the Wetzel County 4-H Grounds. It is open to all children, even if they are not in the 4-H program. The extension office can be reached by calling (304) 455-0934 for more information, questions, or the resources they have available for the public.