Due to a proposed decrease in funding from the federal Victims of Crime Act, the Just For Kids Child Advocacy Center in Beckley has asked Raleigh County Commissioners for financial assistance.
Scott Miller, executive director at Just For Kids, asked commissioners at their recent meeting for $30,000 a year for the next two years. He said he hopes to receive this funding through the American Rescue Plan Act.
“In the last five years, we have worked with over 900 children, and their non-offending family members, who have been sexually abused, physically abused, have been witnesses to violent crimes, or who have been criminally neglected,” Miller said. “This is all in Raleigh County.”
The center works with law enforcement, child protective services, the prosecutor’s office and other local organizations to provide essential services to child victims, he continued. The nine employees of Just For Kids provide child advocacy, forensic interviews, counseling and outreach to provide the best possible outcomes for those served.
Just For Kids relies on private funding, donations and state and federal grants to provide these services, Miller stated. Due to the pandemic, finding adequate funding has been difficult.
“No other organization in the county does what we do,” Miller noted.
Commissioners decided to take the request under advisement until their next meeting. If they decide to provide the requested funding to Just For Kids, it would amount to just 10% of the anticipated yearly loss of $300,000 federal funding.
In other commission business,
– Commissioners agreed to purchase 350 new voting machines for the county. The total cost for the machines will be $1,582,520 after the trade-in of old machines for $380,755. The county must make a $400,000 down payment and make yearly payments of roughly $280,000 for the next four years.
“It’s a major thing for us,” said County Administrator Jay Quesenberry after the meeting. “The voting machines will provide stronger security and integrity and basically improve our ability to make voting safer”;
– Commissioners selected Gary R. Hall as right-of-way negotiator for the Piney View/Batoff Mountain sewer project. They also named the law firm Spilman Thomas and Battle as bond attorney; Rist Huggins and Associates as project attorney, and Lowe & Associates for accounting services;
– Commissioners approved a $67,852.53 drawdown for the White Oak Water Project from Cool Ridge to the Summers County line;
– Commissioners approved the issuance of lease revenue bonds for the new Raleigh County Sheriff’s building at 308 New Payne Drive.
The Raleigh County Commission will be holding a special meeting on July 23, at 2 p.m. to discuss the employment of two new deputy sheriffs, Nathan Traybor and Brandon Toler.