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Government Lays Off

July 12, 2009 - Joselyn King
You know times are bad when the unemployment office lays off 20 workers.

And to add further insult to public injury, in Belmont County, the Department of Job and Family Services doesn't just provide benefits for the unemployed and help them find work.

The agency also looks out for abused and neglected children through its children services department.

Twenty fewer jobs there now mean fewer persons to process unemployment claims -- just as Ohio's jobless rate is nearly 11 percent, and Belmont County's is approaching 9 percent.

And also among those 20 jobs being eliminated are six support staff and two case manager positions in children services. The situation is happening at DJFS offices across Ohio, and likely across the nation.

Belmont County DJFS Director Dwayne Pielech noted that when the economy has taken a downturn in the past, the government was quick to but money into job and family services. That is not happening during the downturn of 2009.

The $787 billion in federal stimulus dollars allocated by Congress is intended for "shovel ready" projects that are expected to employ the unemployed.

But the effects of the money haven't yet trickled down locally.

The question is: where do the unemployed look to in the meantime? And what becomes of the children.


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