For Immediate Release
Contact: Joshua Andreasen
Reno, Nevada. July 26, 2016. The following report highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. Videos of County Commission meetings are replayed regularly on WCTV (Charter Ch. 193). You may also watch videos on-demand online.
1. Washoe County Social Services receives $1.76 million grant to help victims of abuse and assault. The Board of County Commissioners accepted a large sub-grant Tuesday to support victims of abuse and assault.
The $1,765,819 sub-grant, awarded by the State of Nevada Division of Child and Family Services, is for the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program that will benefit children, adults, seniors and families with the Department of Social Services. The sub-grant will enhance the VOCA program as well as authorize the creation of four full-time positions: Victims Advocate, Human Services Program Supervisor, Program Assistant and CPS Intake Screener.
Washoe County is grateful to the State of Nevada for their decision to award Washoe County these funds that will be used to support our children, adults and seniors. The primary goals for the sub-grant are:
- Provide safety and security to victimized children removed from their homes
- Find permanent homes and caregivers for child victims in foster care
- Provide professional, personalized assistance to victims of crime
- Respond to immediate emotional and physical needs and safety of victims
- Provide additional supports to the senior population
This item supports the County Commission's Strategic Plan to support safe, secure and healthy communities.
2. Commission directs staff to select new building for Social Services. In order to help facilitate a more family-friendly environment for children in foster care, Commissioners directed staff to negotiate the possible acquisition of a new family visitation building for Washoe County Social Services.
Research shows parent-child visitation is a predictor of family reunification. With an enhanced visitation center, birth parents and foster parents would be able to interact in an open, natural environment with age-appropriate activities which allows for a more positive experience for children and their families. Social Services facilitates nearly 300 visits per week, or 60 per day, at the current downtown location.
The discussion will return to the Board for review of the terms and final approval for the acquisition.
3. Crossroads Program expanded to help more homeless seniors. The Commission approved the expansion of Washoe County’s benchmark housing program, Crossroads, to help the homeless by adding services specifically for displaced seniors.
Washoe County Social Services will gain 14 beds at the Sierra Regional Center Campus in Sparks effective immediately through June 2019. The space will help the Temporary Assistance to Displaced Seniors population in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services as well as Aging and Disability Services Division.
The Crossroads Program saves taxpayers approximately $15-18 million per year by helping local men and women make the transition from substance abuse and homelessness to a productive and fulfilling life. It decreases jail bookings, encounters with first responders, emergency room/hospital costs, ongoing jail costs and treatment expenses.
4. Washoe County and Wolf Pack Sports Properties, LLC., team up for adoption awareness campaign. Washoe County Social Services and the University of Nevada, Reno will team up once again for the “Have a Heart” campaign. The annual event promotes foster parents during Adoption Awareness Month in November.
The Board of County Commissioners approved the $137,000 sponsorship, which will be funded by Federal and State grants. The sponsorship includes radio, TV, print and internet advertising as well as tickets for foster families to attend Wolf Pack sporting events.
At a Nevada football game last season, about 150 foster parents were recognized on the field at Mackay Stadium. Head coach Brian Polian and his wife, Laura, are adoptive parents. Since 2003, Social Services has used grants from the State of Nevada Division of Child and Family Services to support child welfare efforts in the area of foster care, adoption recruitment and training.
Currently, Social Services has 151 children available for adoption. The County and university continue to support foster children in our community and look forward to helping children find forever families. More info about Adoption Services.
5. Western Nevada Development District presentation. The Executive Director of the Western Nevada Development District (WNDD) Ronald Radil gave County Commissioners an overview of the work the District is doing in the region.
The WNDD is governed by a board of directors that comprises elected officials, local government staff and representatives from the private sector. The mission of the WNDD is to provide a forum for public and private officials to discuss and address regional issues as well as promote regional collaboration.
Radil said the WNDD is currently working on the following projects:
- Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy
- VT&T Economic Feasibility Study for Re-Construction
- Lake Tahoe Basin Prosperity Plan
- Stronger Economic Together
- Business Microloan Program
- Nevada Economic Development Conference
“In order to compete regionally, nationally and globally, we need to work collaboratively with other governments,” Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler (Dist. 1) said. “I’m glad to see that’s a major part of the WNDD plan. We are going to see an enormous amount of growth and we need to work together with other governments to balance the work that needs to be done.”
The 2nd Annual Nevada Economic Development Conference (Sept. 20-22 at the University of Nevada, Reno Joe Crowley Student Union) is an opportunity for economic developers, elected and appointed officials, business owners, and anyone interested in connecting with Nevada’s economic development network.