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CAN a success, but funding cuts will end partnership

The Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Reporting Partnership, operating as part of the human services departments in the counties of Chippewa, Monroe, Pepin, and Taylor, accomplished the goals it set for itself this year. The goals they list include gathering suffi cient and constant child protection information from reporters, providing quality documentation of danger threats, consistency in its response around screening decisions, and serving the children and families within their communities.

However, the CAN Reporting Partnership will not continue into 2021 due to monetary issues, which Taylor County Human Services director Liza Daleiden attributed largely to pandemic-related constraints.

“We did everything we could, we asked the state for some additional funding to get us through this year, but we just weren’t able to do it,” said Daleiden.

CAN plans to continue work up until the very last day of this year, but Daleiden says she’s “not optimistic” that the program will last that long, since staff members are beginning to seek other jobs; the program manager has already found another position.

In further COVID-19 related issues, Daleiden said that if a human services employee contracts the virus, she can’t tell the rest of the staff that someone is infected, and she can only say the building has to be disinfected. She said she was informed of this by the health department.

“That shocks me, because public health is the one who told us that there was a worker at County Market that tested positive,” said human services committee member Mike Bub, adding that the director should have to announce if there is a positive case at the human services facility. “This is a medical safety issue for everybody.”

A worker that shared time between Langlade County and Taylor County had her position cut in Langlade due to Gov. Evers’ budget reduction requirements. Previously, Taylor County employed her full-time, with Langlade reimbursing Taylor for the time they had her work for them. Now, Taylor County human services agency will be her sole employer. The motion was accepted with all members present voting yes, except committee member Scott Mildbrand who voted no, saying it went against the ongoing budget cuts.

Human services is in need of a deputy director. Peggy Kellnhofer said she may consider accepting the position, but only temporarily until someone else accepts the job full-time.

Mildbrand said there’s bigger issues to worry about than a deputy director, but chairman Rollie Thums disagreed.

“I personally think we need a deputy-interim. Even if Liza goes on vacation, sometimes we need paperwork done in that two week period that only a director and deputy director can do,” Thums said. “Just to have someone in that position, until we can look for someone more permanent in a couple months when things calm down.”

The prospect of an interim deputy director will be discussed further at next month’s meeting.