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Child welfare non-profit gets emergency assistance aid

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The state-contracted non-profit Stop Child Abuse & Neglect (SCAN) wants any family with kids facing financial hardships to know that its case workers will still come to them in person, if needed.

SCAN – which has a South Bend Office but is currently taking calls only – and other local agencies now have to cooperate for an unprecedented challenge families face during the pandemic, even if some expenses are on hold, Vice President of Prevention Lisa Branchard said.

The group was recently gifted a $1.1 million fund from the Indiana Department of Child Services for aid to families in need who might fall short of paying bills once they start to pile on. 

“Eventually some of those bills are going to come due,” Blanchard said.
“So if we can use these funds to help people to continue to pay their bills, so that when those are all reinstated, they don’t have these huge sums that they have to try to come up with. I think that’s a really important thing that we can continue do with these funds right now, is to help families stay on track.”

That also includes case managers making in-person visits in special situations which can make a difference in providing support, as CEO Dee Syndrowski said.

“If we have children and/or parents that consider themselves high-risk or in a potential domestic violence situation, or if there’s a particular mental health issues in the home, we are still seeing them face-to-face. We want to make sure that our children and families are safe, and sometimes it’s just a human interaction with social distancing to be able to talk out face-to-face with their issues.”

The SCAN website welcomes sponsors and donations to continue its services, which usually rely on about $1 million in outside funding per year.

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