The Gloucester County Department of Social Services has been an extremely busy place in recent months, director Beth Barry said March 25.
In January, the department received 140 applications—a record for the agency for SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), formerly known as the food stamp program.
In the past three years the office had had as many as 135 applications in a month, Barry said, but this January passed that record. The potential eligible population participation for SNAP here was 95.8 percent in January, up substantially from the 66 percent in March 2009 under the old food stamp program.
The total number of Gloucester households receiving SNAP benefits in January was 2,131, she said, compared to the record of 2,146 households that received SNAP benefits last June.
Since January 2012, the department has seen an increase in the reports of adult protective services, Barry said. Checking recent numbers, she said that this February the department staff was investigating 31 valid reports, meaning that they met the legal criteria for staff involvement. In February 2012 there were 15 valid reports.
"We have seen an increase in the number of custody investigations," she said. The caseload had been tracking in the 50-70 range, but in recent months, "we have had as many as 104 of those types of investigations."