Lawrence County commissioners yesterday approved six contracts presented by John Bout, director of Lawrence County’s Children and Youth Services.
Commissioner Bob Del Signore said the contracts — which include foreign and sign language interpretation — are beneficial to the department in its daily work.
“These contracts are absolutely moving the department forward,” Del Signore said. “Those services have not been there in the past. They are moving in the right direction, and also cleaning up some stuff.”
The county also has contracted with Cyber Protection Bureua LLC of Newville Township, an organization Bout said works to locate runaway children.
“This would be a new contract,” Bout said. “As of last year, we had no runaways, but this would be a service that we would have available in the event we had a child abscond.”
A contract with Blue-Prints of Washington was finalized for the years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 for foster care provider services. A contract for 2019-20 will be coming at a future meeting, Bout said.
Commissioner Steve Craig asked Bout if the county owed BluePrints any money.
“We use them as a foster care provider and we do not owe them money,” Bout said. “This is just to establish the fact they were an existing provider during those years. This is cleanup.”
A new contract was ratified with Verbatim Solutions of Salt Lake City, Utah. Bout said this contract is for telephone interpreter services on an as-needed basis.
“If we receive a call at Children and Youth Services in which we need a foreign language interpreter, we would be able to access this service in 90 seconds or less to help our administrative team or caseworkers with the caller,” Bout said. “We have had increased phone calls in which we have been unable to facilitate a conversation because of the language barrier.
Commissioner Chairman Dan Vogler inquired as to whether Spanish was the primary language the department has a need for services.
Bout said Spanish was the primary language and it would only be paid for when used.
The county entered into a new contract with the Center for Hearing and Deaf Services Inc., which is based in Pittsburgh.
“They would provide both sign and foreign language interpretation services both in the office and in the community,” Bout said. “They have a 72-hour notice period. As long as we provide 72 hours, we would be able to have an interpreter on-site with us, visiting homes or in the community as we need.
“Currently, we do have a case where we need a sign language interpreter to communicate with a family in her home and the community. This is a new service. We do not have a contract with an existing provider. Unlike Verbatim, the Center for Hearing and Deaf would travel with us.”
A contract with Avanco International Inc. of Clifton, Virginia, was approved. The contract is one which Lawrence County will share with 59 other counties, Bout said, and the share payment is broken down into annual costs.