Johnson County officials are looking into the possibility of breaking ties with their current parent office of Child Advocacy Services of the Bighorns, which is based in Sheridan, and start their own office in Buffalo to service Johnson County families only.
The possibility became public at last week's Johnson County Commissioner's meeting, when Buffalo CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) Patsy Jenkins, who was on the Agenda to talk to the commissioners, called in to say she couldn't make her alotted time.
Commissioner John Gibbs explained to the other commissioners that Jenkins wanted to discuss the possibility of breaking ties with the Sheridan office and set up a Johnson County office in Buffalo.
He explains further.
Gibbs, later in the meeting, said he received a text from Jenkins saying she had been fired from her position with Child Advocacy Services of the Bighorns.
When contacted, Child Advocacy Services of the Bighorns Interim Director Susan Carr Yager said she could not discuss any personnel matters specifically, but did say they were looking to fill a vacancy in the Buffalo office.
She stressed that the goal of CAS is to provide services to the families that need it, and said their commitment to Buffalo and Johnson County has not wavered.
Since last week, CAS has cleaned out the Buffalo office rented by Jenkins and has opened another office to service local families.
The Johnson County Commissioners have since sent a letter to CAS in Sheridan, fully supporting the county opening their own CAS office in Buffalo, citing a belief that money that might have been earmarked for Johnson County had been spent elsewhere. The letter, in part, said, “We have experienced some hesitation to support the program due to its connection to Sheridan County. It seems it was felt that our funds and backing were being used heavily in Sheridan County. Perhaps if we were allowed to review your financials we would have a better understanding of how and where these funds are being put to use.”
CAS Board member Linda Clark spoke to the Buffalo City Council at their meeting Tuesday, saying she wanted to clear up some rumors that were making the rounds.
Clark said the CAS remains committed to providing supervised visitation and Child Advocacy services to Johnson County.
Interim Director Susan Yager said in response to the letter from the Johnson County Commission, that CAS was not against Johnson County looking into the feasibility of starting their own CASA program.
“We would assist in the transition and work with any organization that wanted to set it up. We just want to make sure that we are there to provide services to the children and families of Johnson County and that there are no breaks or gaps in services (now and if that) transisition occurs.”