Fulton County JFS: Fraud Cases Rise While Toll Of Parental Opiate Use Felt By Children

It was a mixed result for the Fulton County Jobs and Family Services in its quarterly report.

Director Amy Metz-Simon presented the report to the Board of County Commissioners at its Oct. 25 meeting. The report shows that positive trends in some areas do not spread across the board.

The results included:
A downward trend for July-September in Food Assistance. The agency helped 3,012 people in June, but saw that number drop to 2,924 by September. Total benefits for the quarter were $934,153.

The agency averaged 3,136 in the second quarter and 3,243 in the same quarter of 2015.

There were 13 claims established for food assistance fraud totaling $31,000.

Oct. 13, Metz-Simon and fraud investigator Marsha Horner participated in a discussion with Congressman Latta and State Auditor Yost about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The focus was to discuss ways to combat fraud and how to make sure the program works properly.

The county’s numbers year to date show $55,914 collected on established claims; $9,204 received in incentives; 57 claims established and $97,811 established in new claims; one indictment, one withdrawn and one plea deal.

Ohio Works First benefits totaled $60,434 as the number of recipients dropped from 93 in August to 85 in September. The agency average 90 for the third quarter, unchanged from the second quarter, but up five from the year before.

The number of reports of child abuse rose from 64 in July to 97 in September. The agency spent $123,000 for board and care. The quarterly total jumped from 216 in the second quarter to 247 in the third. Last year, allegations totaled only 220.

Child support collections rose to 82 percent by September and the agency collected $1.65 million for the quarter.

The county continues to average 15 children in custody.

A study shows 50 percent of Ohio children taken into custody have parents who use drugs and 57 percent of those have parents who use opiates. Locally, the numbers were 14 children taken into custody, with half having parents who use drugs. For those children 43 percent had parents who used opiates.

Ohio has seen a 12 percent jump in children taken into custody over the past five years. Of that 6.7 percent have had parents with opiate use.

The monthly average of Medicaid recipients continued its downward trend with 7,635 in the third quarter of 2016. That’s down from 7,812 in the second quarter and 8,105 from this time last year.

Medicaid dollars were at $13,075,348, down from the second quarter ($14 million) and a year ago ($14 million).

James Pruitt may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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