CARES Act Grant Reinstates YFS Positions

Seven school-based Counselors and the Emergency Assistance Coordinator positions restored for the entire 2021-2022 biennium.

At its January 6 Regular Meeting, the City Council voted to accept a $243,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Fund, supported by the CARES Act. The result of significant efforts on the part of many City staff, this grant will allow the City’s Youth and Family Services Department (YFS) to restore seven school-based Counselors and one Emergency Assistance Coordinator to full-time for the entire 2021-2022 biennium.

The City’s COVID-19 pandemic response caused unprecedented budget shortfalls early in 2020, resulting in staff layoffs and furloughs in the Youth and Family Services Department (YFS), including a 20% reduction in hours for all eight of these positions.

Full time school-based counselors will be especially critical for overcoming pandemic-related trauma, loss, and ongoing mental health concerns, all of which may serve as barriers to upcoming school reentry. Similarly, the pandemic’s financial impacts will multiply the longer that restrictions exist, and a full time Emergency Assistance Coordinator will be crucial for families struggling to regain economic stability.

Read the full Council Agenda Bill here.

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