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Social Services seeks to help ACAP program

After-school programs in Moriah and Willsboro are at risk of closing. Funding for the two programs, which serve 85 elementary-age children, will end in April. Unless addition money is found, both sites will close. The ACAP after-school program currently serves 61 children from 46 families at Moriah Central School.

After-school programs in Moriah and Willsboro are at risk of closing. Funding for the two programs, which serve 85 elementary-age children, will end in April. Unless addition money is found, both sites will close. The ACAP after-school program currently serves 61 children from 46 families at Moriah Central School.

— The Essex County Department of Social Services may be coming to the rescue of the Moriah and Willsboro after-school programs.

Members of the county’s Human Services Committee passed a resolution Feb. 13 to use $31,000 in reserve funds from the Social Services budget to help pay for the Adirondack Community Action Programs’ (ACAP) after-school programs. The money would fund the program through the end of the school year in Moriah and Willsboro.

The proposal will now go before the county Ways and Means Committee for consideration.

The program lost its state funding recently, and county officials have since been seeking ways to help the program so it does not have to shut down.

“It is from a prior year expense that would be used to cover the expenses for the rest of the year for those two programs,” Social Services Director John O’Neill said. “It’s money that we had in reserve, and I talked with Dan (Palmer, county manager) about using it in this way.”

“The amount is what John had set aside for some previous claims that we had talked about,” Palmer said. “This will cover through the end of this year. If you wanted to do more besides that, there is nothing short of the tax levy where you could get the funds from.”

The move was welcome news for ACAP Executive Director Alan Jones and Marjorie Zmijewski, program manager.

“We don’t want a situation where the children are without care for the next three months,” Jones said.

The five-year funding contract for the Moriah and Willsboro after-school programs was given a six-month extension earlier in the year, but was not given another, forcing ACAP to either find alternative funding or close the programs down.

Zmijewski said the program tries to get its information out to as many people as it can.

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