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Commissioners Take A Stand Against Child Abuse

By Staff | Apr 10, 2019

Photo Provided The Wetzel County Commissioners show their support for National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

At the April 2 meeting of the Wetzel County Commission, the commissioners heard from Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Susan Scharf, and also recognized National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

To mark the April occasion, The Lighthouse CAC adorns various businesses’ and organizations’ lawns throughout the community with “Pinwheels for Prevention,” as well as signage to spread the word of child abuse prevention.

The commission also signed the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant application at the April 2 meeting. Scharf explained she put a lot of thought into the application, as there is funding available for The Lighthouse. She said after she previously spoke to the commission, she reflected on the center’s needs. She said although she previously expressed the need for an additional Family Advocate, she realizes that during slower times, the center is fine without the position. Scharf said the need for the center, in her heart, is prevention work, which VOCA doesn’t cover.

Scharf said she has, after ensuring it is possible bookkeeping-wise, covered the salary of the center’s new staff with half VOCA funds and half Division of Justice and Community Services (DJCS) funds. Scharf explained The Lighthouse’s new hire would be a licensed social worker, who is splitting her internship with The Lighthouse and with the board of education. Therefore, this new hire is already in the schools, which Scharf feels is a positive.

Scharf said after she last met with the commission, she knew there would be extra funding from the state, but didn’t know how much. She said she had engaged in a conference call, which discussed changing the funding formula. However, this would have hurt the center by a loss of approximately $14,000, which is part of a staff position. Shcarf said she spoke her piece and somehow convinced those on the call that they shouldn’t be hurting the smaller-population centers to help fund the bigger centers, which have more resources. Scharf said the additional funding would allow The Lighthouse to fund the new staff member as half-DJCS funding.

With VOCA, Scharf has asked for continued funding for a Forensic Interviewer and continued funding for Family Advocate Heather Riley, who has been moved to full-time. Scharf said she would have liked to have requested more funds to cover rent, but such a request would require more matching funds. She said the grant is $73,071 which leaves the center with a match of $17,000 to raise.

In other matters, proposals for professional engineering services for the renovation of the Shiben building were received. The commission received bids from Swiss Valley Associates, McKinley Architecture and Engineering and The Thrasher Group.

Also, Tina Rush with MarkWest requested the use of the Mollohan Center on May 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for an oil and gas meeting. Following her presentation, a motion was made passed to rent space to MarkWest for the oil and gas meeting on May 2.

Also, a resolution was passed to authorize commission president Larry Lemon to be designated as the official representative of the county commission to submit an application in the amount of $31,827 to the West Virginia Court Security Fund Grant for the purchase, installation and any training for security equipment. This equipment would include the following: an x-ray scanner machine, a walk-through metal detector, two hand-held metal detectors, a security cabinet for any items that are not allowed in the courthouse – to be securely locked up until the person returns to leave, a desk for the officers, two stools for the work station, and some security barriers and signage to keep people in an orderly fashion when going through the machines.

In other business:

* A motion was made and passed to make a donation to the American Red Cross for $2,500.

* A motion was made and passed to approve a vacation request for Gary Glasscock.