County Social Services will now have their representatives in an office at the Hancock County Health Services building in Britt.
The decision made after discussion at the Hancock County Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, Aug. 5.
The office will be available for the CSS representative Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, days the office was already being used, on occasion, by CSS.
“We went through the office today with [CSS Chief Executive Officer] Bob [Lincoln] and kind of talked about what their needs would be coming in," HCHS nurse Chelcee Schleuger said, "and it sounds like just making sure they have the connectivity and just the space. I think all of it is doable.”
Schleuger said she recently moved out of the office so she knows what work will need to be done for connectivity for the CSS representative.
Lincoln said CSS wants to serve Hancock County in whatever direction or assistance it wants, and HCHS Chief Executive Officer Laura Zwiefel agreed.
“I just think it would be so good for the people, especially with some of the new legislative services that are being required,” Zwiefel said.
According to Zwiefel, the HCHS has been working with the Garner and West Hancock school systems with the mental health of students, a business and field that “just keeps growing.”
“You guys have no idea the number of kids who need support," she said, "and I think having that peace worker right here in the community would better facilitate what our therapists can do with the parents and the kids and all of that, too."
Kids’ mental health is not the only field that will benefit from having a CSS representative in the county. The senior life solutions program and geriatric outpatient sites will also benefit from the representative’s presence, according to Zwiefel.
“The folks our medical staff see in the clinics and things," she said. "I just think having somebody present at least part of the week will just facilitate peace management and connectivity for those patients. I think it is what our medical staff has seen to."
Zwiefel said she doesn’t think HCHS has utilized the services offered by CSS very well because they and their medical staff “just didn’t know or understand them.”
“It’s been eye-opening for [Schleuger] and I,” she said.
Supervisor Chairman Jerry Tlach said the board's main concern was if there was an office space available for a CSS representative, so as long as there was something available and HCHS could work something out with CSS, the supervisors were fine with it.