CLARION – In conjunction with the statewide proclamation naming June 7-11 as Child Welfare Professionals Appreciation Week, Clarion County officials recently showed their support for the county’s Children and Youth Service (CYS) professionals.

“We want to thank all of our staff at CYS for the great job that they do,” said Commissioner Wayne Brosius before he and fellow Commissioner Ed Heasley approved Resolution No. 11 of 2021, recognizing the dedication of Clarion County’s CYS employees to protect and serve county children, at their Tuesday morning meeting. Commissioner Ted Tharan was absent. “It’s a tough job, and we appreciate them.”

Tasked every day with investigating child abuse, assessing safety, and providing services to ensure Clarion County children are given nurturance, family connections and support as they transition into adulthood, as well as services that allow a child to remain safely in their own home, the resolution states, the work of child welfare professionals was made even more challenging with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The coronavirus epidemic has created substantial challenges in providing child welfare services to which the staff of child welfare rose most proficiently,” the resolution states, noting that the work forced CYS employees to take the role of “frontline, essential workers in the time of a global pandemic,” so services could continue despite risk to the professionals’ health and safety.

“The staff of Children and Youth Services selflessly undertake the endeavor to protect Pennsylvania’s children, often with low pay, long hours, tremendous demands, little appreciation, great criticism and with dramatic impacts to their personal life,” the document continues.

It further points out that child welfare employees often work in difficult and emotional situations and must develop skills in working with families in crisis and facing other challenges, and knowledge regarding the law, rights of families and the legal process governing the system.

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“Innumerable injuries and deaths of children in Clarion County have been averted due to the efforts of Children and Youth Services,” the resolution states. “The Commissioners of Clarion County do herby issue this resolution recognizing the staff of CYS for their dedicated efforts in protecting the children of Clarion County.”

In other business at the June 8 meeting, Brosius and Heasley also lent their support to the Clarion County Economic Development Corporation’s (CCEDC) funding request to the Appalachian Regional Commission for the Clarion County Connected Broadband Engineering Plan.

“It’s the local initiative for broadband internet services,” Heasley said of the plan. “It will help establish [internet] in underserved areas in the county.”

According to the letter signed by the commissioners, the broadband engineering plan, which the CCEDC is seeking to develop, will document service shortcomings and deficiencies in Clarion County’s broadband services. The plan will document the reach of existing broadband service in the county, as well as identify any shortcomings in existing coverage.

“With this specific knowledge, Clarion County will be able to bring much-needed broadband internet service to areas of the county where businesses, institutions and residences are unserved or underserved and be able to do so more cost-effectively and efficiently,” the letter states.

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