Casco contracts out social services in-take

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Mostly as a means of freeing up staff time, the Town of Casco is contracting out its general assistance application process.

The Casco Board of Selectmen voted, 3-0, for the town to enter into a work contract. Selectmen Calvin Nutting and Mary Fernandez were absent from the Jan. 12 meeting.

Recently, Town Manager Dave Morton came across information about an individual who does general assistance in-takes for several towns.

Morton said he was having lunch with Norway Town Manager David Holt, and the topic of the number of general assistance applications came up.

Typically, winter is the time of the year when the need for general assistance rises in Maine, he said.

“We have 70 to 75 cases through the winter months that all take a considerable amount of time and effort. Some of those are multiple visits,” he said.

According to Morton, Holt said he was happy with the service the Town of Norway had contracted out. Otisfield and Long Island also use the individual for work that varies greatly from week to week, he said.

“We have talked about this for years,” Morton said.

“I would like to try this for three-month trial period and see how that works,” he said.

“Currently, the problem we have is the need varies greatly. Some weeks, we might have someone involved the whole week,” he said.

“In other communities that are doing this, someone would fill out an application. We would e-mail that to the person providing the services,” he said.

“We are not giving out a blank check,” he said.

“We are having someone follow up with an application and the background check. This takes up a chunk of staff time,” he said.

Also, privacy of information will be applied to each application.

“The rules for administrating are universal. We follow state law,” Morton said.

“Some pricing factors are different for different parts of the state,” he said.

The contractual services will not require additional funding, Morton said.

“The experience in Norway has been so good that we thought we would try it out. It is more for freeing up staff,” Morton said.

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