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Day Reporting Center client struggles to find work

October 25, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

Editor's note: This is another in an occasional series of stories about the Franklin County Day Reporting Center and those to whom it offers a second chance.

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Stacy Spoonhour wants a job, any job.

Her applications submitted in recent weeks cover a wide range of categories, including fast-food service, retail sales and sanitation. The mother of two even prefers working the third shift.

Each day that passes without employment only intensifies her discontent.

"It's frustrating because I put in applications every single day," said Spoonhour, 29. "I don't know if it's my record, or with the economy people can be more picky."

Case managers at the Franklin County (Pa.) Day Reporting Center selected Spoonhour as September's "client of the month."

"They look for attendance ... and group participation," said Kim Eaton, DRC program director.

Spoonhour enrolled in DRC programs in late August as part of her early release from jail, where she started moral recognition therapy. That head start in moral recognition therapy and her exceptional attendance allowed Spoonhour to complete phase one just one week beyond the minimum time requirement.

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Being in the second phase means Spoonhour checks in five days a week at the Loudon Street facility instead of six days. She's also getting ready to start drug and alcohol classes. Although she's not looking forward to the classes, Spoonhour said she understands it was part of her court sentencing on a felony charge of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Spoonhour said some of her old contacts have been asking where they can buy cocaine, but that's the one job she says she'll refuse for the sake of her children.

"I'd rather be broke than be on drugs," she said.

Spoonhour is putting aside money for the fee to get a replacement birth certificate. While she'd like to obtain birth certificates for her children, too, she said that might not be an option now due to finances. She needs to present a Social Security card and a driver's license or state identification card for access to PA CareerLink job training.

"Hopefully I get a job so I can afford a place for me and my kids," Spoonhour said, saying her goal is to move out of her cousin's Scotland, Pa., home by Christmas.

Eaton said the higher number of displaced workers makes the job hunt more difficult for people with felony charges on their record.

"That's the biggest thing we're seeing now," she said.

Previously, DRC clients needed to have a job, be a homemaker, qualify for "retired/disabled" status or enroll as a student to move from phase three to after care. However, the rules have changed to allow active job seekers to move to after-care status.

"We do have some people who are completing, don't have a job and are moving on because otherwise I'd have them here who knows how long," Eaton said.

Update



Former DRC client Brian Cline, who was profiled by The Herald-Mail, is again an inmate in Franklin County Jail. In late August, he reportedly fled Pennsylvania in violation of his probation to seek a carnival job.

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