As a co-founder with Carmen Auza and sitting President for eleven years of Pinal Council for CASA//Foster, Inc. (PCCI) I would like to comment on our Pinal County Supervisors position and comments on RICO money being used to assist non-profit organizations involving children/youth in our County. Although I resigned my position only this year to commit myself completely to my work with foster children/youth on W6 Ranch Counseling Services, I remain a strong supporter of this worthwhile organization.
RICO money donated to PCCI over the years by Sheriff Paul was used to pay for tutoring for Pinal County foster children/youth. A large percentage of the children in the foster care system are behind in school because of abuse, poor attendance, lack of follow through with homework, poor parent participation and frequent moves within the foster care system. Sylvan offers a reduced rate to PCCI for foster children, which has enabled PCCI to serve more children.
It’s not unusual to see a 8th grade foster student on a first grade level. PCCI collaborated with Sylvan Learning Center and to make a long-term difference in these children’s lives. With the help of RICO funds, these children hopefully will move on to become successful and productive, tax paying members of our society. Our State Officials see tutoring as a luxury and does not provide funding for foster children even though they are considered Wards of the State.
Other RICO funds were used to help support continuing education for students who aged out of the foster care system and would be left on the streets to survive anyway they possibly could. With the help of PCSO and RICO funds numerous students were able to continue onto college and also will become productive members of our society. If we can mitigate crime by educating our foster students/teens then we are in fact, saving money in the future by their not having to resort to a life of crime to survive.
I agree with our Sheriff that it’s a “moral obligation” to give money to youth organization so children/youth have access to positive activities that keep them out of trouble and tutoring to help them succeed academically.
Supervisor Pete Rios – What higher priority can we have in Pinal County than the future of our children/youth? With a little assistance from RICO funds they can have tutoring and a positive influence and guidance through non-profit organizations throughout the County. Kudos to our Sheriff for caring about them!
I read the daily newspaper and have seen numerous articles where our Sheriff has purchased surveillance equipment, handguns and tasers, and other devices needed for his Deputies from RICO funds when actually the County Supervisors should be sharpening their pencils and finding the funds to support items needed for our protections and safety in Pinal County. More Deputies on the streets is always good but what about the equipment they need to do their job. It’s unfortunate that so much time is spent arguing with the Sheriff and County Attorney about the way they disburse funds. Why not do your job and allow them to do theirs!?
/s/ Lynda Smith Williams