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$15 million to go to prevention of family violence, teen pregnancy

May 02, 2001

$15 million to go to prevention of family violence, teen pregnancy



By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com



Total number of births by mothers under age 19:

  • 1990 = 50
  • 1995 = 69
  • 1999 = 79
  • 2000 = 71


Number of teenagers having a second birth:

  • 1996 = 26
  • 1999 = 48


Source: Washington County Health Department.

Child abuse and neglect complaints accepted for investigation:

  • 1997 = 1,213
  • 1998 = 1,248
  • 1999 = 1,224
  • 2000 = 1,381


Number of information calls to the domestic violence hotline:

  • 1997 = 10,574
  • 1998 = 10,701
  • 1999 = 12,744
  • 2000 = 12,945


Source: Washington County Department of Social Services.

(All years are fiscal years, which starts July 1.)



The Washington County Community Partnership plans to use approximately $1.5 million in state funds over the next five years to help prevent teen pregnancy and family violence, executive director John Budesky told the County Commissioners Tuesday.

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Budesky hopes the money will enable the group to reach goals he admits are ambitious: To reduce overall teen pregnancies by 20 percent a year and teenagers' second pregnancies by 50 percent a year.

Budesky also wants to use part of the money to help reduce family violence, which includes child abuse and domestic violence.

The group plans to achieve its goals partially through planned community awareness, education and community forums, Budesky said.

The Community Partnership, previously known as the Local Management Board, obtains state and federal government grants to fund programs to help local residents.

On Tuesday the commissioners approved a five-year, joint-effort agreement between the Community Partnership and the Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families in which the state agency will supply $250,000 a year for the next five years to the group, plus a one-time funding of $300,000, Budesky said.

The partnership's budget this year is $2.56 million. With the additional money from the state, the budget is expected to increase to $3.12 million.

Not bad for a group that was created by the state less than four years ago, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said.

Budesky warned that statistics for teen pregnancy and family violence are likely to increase as the issues get more attention and publicity, because more cases will be reported that previously would have been kept secret.

The group will focus programs to battle the problems not just in the city of Hagerstown, but throughout the county, he said.

The teen pregnancy rate, per capita, is highest in South County and Hancock, he said.

Budesky would also like to add programs to fight the county's substance abuse problems, but the group will have to find additional grants to fund those programs at a later date, he said.

The teen-pregnancy and family violence programs will allow the county use state money for needs determined by the Community Partnership, said Commissioner John L. Schnebly.

The group applied for the state funding last year and was ranked the top applicant.

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