County commissioners declared November as child adoption month in Delaware County.
David Dombrosky, director of Delaware County Job and Family Services, said that in 2014, there were “415,000 kids engaged in foster care” across the country.
“Here in Delaware County it’s certainly not our goal to remove kids from homes. Our primary goal is to keep kids connected with parents, but yet keep them safe,” Dombrosky said. “When we can’t do that we look for relatives and others they already know to help raise them.”
Dombrosky told commissioners JFS tries to place a child with people who love and care for them. He added that once a child is removed from a home his or her outlook on life “becomes diminished.”
“Some of the kids taken into the system will ultimately age out of the system,” Dombrosky said. “When this happens 54 percent will not graduate high school. Some become unemployed, many end up homeless, incarcerated, early pregnancies and many will engage in our public assistance system.”
Moneka Lawrence, Job and Family Services, said the focus has been on 14 to 18 year-olds.
“Most want to adopt younger children,” she said. “Right now four children meet the criteria that we are forever seeking families for.”
One foster parent, Theresa Anderson, has seen the placement of four children. She said three of the four children were newborns.
“When our family looks into the eyes of a little child and we scoop him or her up in our arms we love them as if they belong in our family,” Anderson said. “Our hearts are broken when the day comes to return the child to the agency or to his or her family.”
As Anderson spoke, some in the room had tears in their eyes.
Anderson said letting a child return to their birth parents or go to a new home is never easy, but it is worth it.
“It’s always worth it, even when there was pain in loving someone else child,” she said. “It is something that we would do over again and again.
In other business, commissioners accepted and approved the rates for ambulance and emergency medical services soft billing, also known as insurance-only billing. Commissioners contracted with PST Services in October to do the county’s EMS insurance billing.
“Residents will not see a bill,” said Mike Schuiling, Delaware County EMS chief. “This is strictly insurance billing.”
Schuiling said tax money pays for the overhead cost of the daily operation of EMS.
“Soft billing will pay for the care of an individual when the individual is sick or injured,” he said. “We’re trying to capture money available to EMS to offset cost.”
Until now the county has not billed an individual’s insurance company for emergency medical services. Schuiling and commissioners said it is important to emphasize that individuals will not be billed.
“Individuals will not be sent a bill to their home,” Schuiling said. “No insurance, still no bill.”
Commissioners did emphasize that Columbus, Dublin and Westerville, part of which reside in Delaware County, currently use soft billing for their services. State law requires insurance companies include money for EMS in individual policies.
Commissioner Gary Merrell said that soft billing is about being fiscally responsible.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.