Pike Dept. of Human

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 17, 2000

Resources out of ‘distress’


Staff Writer

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Pike County’s office of the Department of Human Resources is celebrating a "huge success" this week.

Paul Butler, director of the local agency, said a three-hour presentation for Dr. Ivor Groves, federal court monitor for the R.C. Consent Decree, was well worth the effort. The local DHR is out of "distress" in Groves opinion, although there’s still one more hurdle to make, but Butler considers it a "formality" in the matter.

In 1999, Pike County was tagged a "county in distress" because of concern over child safety issues, but that all changed on Monday. That pronouncement came after a 1991 federal consent decree requiring Alabama to reform its child protective services and foster care systems was handed down as a result of the case R.C. versus Fuller.

The term "county is distress" is used when the Alabama Department of Human Resources sees a problem and that the county is not fulfilling requirements, Butler said.

Some of the issues in which Butler and his staff had to show improvements included: child safety, foster care, community collaboration, resource development and quality assurance.

On Monday, Groves began considering Pike a "corrected county" and that further monitoring was not necessary.

"In 18 months we turned this county around," an obviously excited Butler said.

Only Pike and Jefferson County of the state’s 67 counties were found to be counties in "distress," and Pike has had that term lifted.

"It’s a huge success for this department and this county," Butler said.

But, he is quick to point out "everybody helped" to accomplish this "significant feat."

Butler said he is proud of his staff and the community for working with DHR to make these corrections.

Butler said the plaintiff’s attorney still has to see what Pike County has done, but has no fear of the attorney finding in problems.

He is also proud Pike County is only the 30th Alabama county to develop such a policy.

Jefferson County is still considered a "county is distress."