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GUEST OPINION

Posted: Wednesday, May 8th, 2013


This time, letís vote yeas for Lincoln County kids

The Childrenís Trust of Lincoln County is on your ballot in May. The need is even greater, the new levy is lower (19 cents per $1,000 of assessed value), and the design of the trust is well planned and accountable.

Every child matters. Every child deserves to be safe, healthy, realize their potential, and make a positive contribution. The Children's Trust Ballot Measure 21-151 provides children with opportunities to succeed in life. The trust will be a dedicated county fund devoted to providing grants for children's programs throughout Lincoln County. It will be funded by a five-year property tax levy that will cost the average home in Lincoln County about a dime a day (a $200,000 property would pay only $38 per year).

Accountability and oversight is a high priority. The county will collect the funds and assure that all grants meet legal requirements. The Childrenís Trust of Lincoln County, a nonprofit, will manage the funding process and provide reviews of the programs receiving funding. The accounts of the nonprofit will also be audited annually with results reported to the public.

A fund distribution committee is being selected by the children's trust board this week, and will be announced before the election. The seven-member committee will have representatives from all parts of Lincoln County and will make funding decisions in a public forum

The administration of the trust will keep costs to an absolute minimum. The trust board and fund distribution committee are volunteers. The nonprofit Childrenís Trust of Lincoln County will have only one part-time employee.

More than 70 current childrenís programs in Lincoln County will be eligible to apply for funding from the childrenís trust. Almost all are struggling to find funding, as sources are decreasing, while the need is increasing. You can find a list of eligible programs in your voterís pamphlet, and on the Childrenís Trust of Lincoln County website.

The children's trust will focus on programs for child abuse prevention and intervention, outside-of-school child development and early childhood education and childcare.

Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education. Lincoln County's abuse rate is 26 percent worse than the statewide rate, and the threat of harm rate is 100 percent worse. The children's trust will support programs that assist abused children and abuse prevention programs for parents. Strengthening families and preventing child abuse require community support. You can help prevent child abuse in Lincoln County by supporting resources that will empower and educate parents to be better caregivers to their children.

Outside-of-school child development includes after school and summer programs with tutoring, mentoring, the arts, athletics and substance abuse programs. Studies show that mentoring programs can play a powerful role in reducing drug and alcohol abuse, youth violence and dropout rates. At its most basic level, mentoring tells a child that they matter and that someone cares about them. Youth mentoring promotes positive outcomes such as, social skills, improved self-esteem and knowledge of career opportunities.

The children's trust will also support programs for early childhood education and childcare. The payoffs to a community when a child attends preschool include a higher graduation rate and a higher earning potential in their career. Child care has become an essential component of life in our society. High quality child care programs can make a significant difference in a child's social, emotional and physical development. The people who help care for a child also help shape a child's mind. Quality child care is a recognized need of our community that needs our support.

If you believe every child in our community matters, please vote yes on measure 21-151 in support of the Children's Trust of Lincoln County.



Patti Littlehales is the chair of the Childrenís Trust of Lincoln County Board of Directors.

For the complete article see the 05-08-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-08-2013 paper.







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