October 14 – CUMBERLAND – Jane’s Place Children’s Advocacy Center is seeking to merge its services with the Allegany County government and retain its employees.
As part of the proposed restructuring, Jane’s Place representatives requested $55,000 to help fund a full-time director and part-time program coordinator during a meeting with the Allegany County Board of Commissioners. last week.
Located at 26 Greene St., Jane’s Place, established in 2008, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a child-friendly environment committed to reducing trauma to children who have been abused, neglected or sexually assaulted and to providing them with a space where they can begin to heal. Maryland law requires all jurisdictions to operate a child advocacy center, with the state paying $12,500 a year to each.
“It is the request of the Jane’s Place Board of Directors that the Child Advocacy Center become a county government entity under the office of the Allegany County State’s Attorney,” Jane’s Place’s request reads.
The new arrangement would place the Allegany County Board of Commissioners as the lead agency, followed by the local state’s attorney’s office and the Jane’s Place Advisory Board.
“These are very serious cases for us and they dominate a lot of what we do,” said Allegany County state’s attorney James Elliott. “Without that resource, it really challenges our ability to even begin an investigation.”
The caseload for Jane’s Place is tied to the number of investigations established by Child Protective Services, which had 429 investigations in 2019, 228 in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 312 in 2021 and 290 to September 30. year.
Ashley Lane, vice chair of the Jane’s Place board, said the $55,000 funding was meant to top up the budget.
“We’ve grown by leaps and bounds, but we’re not just where we need to be to be the most remarkable entity we can be for the children and families of Allegany County,” Lane said. “We’re supported by grants, fundraisers and donations. We’re not in the red, but that’s just not good enough.”
Lane said it’s hard to keep people, especially a manager, when the center isn’t able to offer competitive pay and benefits.
“By doing what is best for Allegany County, I hope the commissioners will feel the same way and bring it under county government so that it is more sustainable in the long run,” she said. declared.
“We fund a lot of different agencies and entities and I think this is one of the biggest,” said Jake Shade, chairman of the county commission.
County officials said they would take action by developing a memorandum of understanding to establish the intent of the restructuring.
Greg Larry is a reporter for the Cumberland Times-News. To reach him, call 304-639-4951, email [email protected] and follow him on Twitter