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Aging Population, Drug Use By Parents Leads To Additional VC Positions

Ken Anderson

Two additional positions were approved for the Social Services department last Tuesday by the Vilas County board to provide help for adult and child protective services due to high case loads that jepordize mandatory state investigation requirements.

Social Services Director Kate Gardner explained to the board the need for two more positions. “We have an aging population with our average age near 53 and increasing,” she said. “When we went to family care we lost four positions and we struggle to meet our investigation requirements. In 2017 we had 107 reports of elder abuse or neglect and I believe we'll pass that this year.”

Supervisor Erv Teichmiller agreed saying “these are some of our most vunerable people in our society.”

The board voted 17-1 to create this position with Supervisor Charles Rayala voting aginst.  In a similar case of child protective services, Gardner spelled out the need. “We have 90 kids in placements now and Oneida County has 45, mostly due to opioid-meth use by parents. When parents go into treatment, we have to find a place for the kids, which may be anywhere with staff spending many hours of windshield time,” she said, adding they have to be available night, weekends, anytime.” Rayala said “I hate to see kids suffer because of the parents and I will vote for this.”

The board voted 17-1 to add a staff member in child protective services with Supervisor Todd Achterberg voting against.

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