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New state budget invests $60 million in protecting children, stabilizing families

New state budget invests $60 million in protecting children, stabilizing families

In one of the most challenging and dismal budget years in memory, in which the Ohio legislature was forced to make significant cuts totaling more than $1 billion in state spending, legislative champions maintained the course for investing in Ohio’s children, the innocent victims of this opioid epidemic. The 2018-19 budget signed by Governor John Kasich on Friday increases the State Child Protection Allocation for county children services agencies by $15 million per year and creates a new child care program for kinship caregivers using $15 million per year in federal TANF funds.

In approving Am. Sub. HB 49, the Governor and General Assembly invested new resources in Ohio’s children services system — for the first time in a decade. Funds will be used to fight the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic. “PCSAO is extremely grateful to Governor Kasich, Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and all of the legislators who prioritized the needs of these innocent victims of the opioid epidemic by providing this significant new investment in children services,” said Angela Sausser, PCSAO’s executive director. “Ohio’s children services system is in crisis, but this new investment will improve our ability to provide vital services to our most vulnerable population, abused and neglected children.”

By investing new dollars for children services, this budget will help public child protection agencies respond more appropriately to the impact of Ohio’s opioid epidemic on children and families. “Public children services agencies will be able to recruit and support additional foster families to care for the influx of children being removed from their homes, address rising placement costs driven by the need for higher levels of care due to the trauma children have experienced in their homes, better maintain young children placed with kin and recruit additional caseworkers to reduce the burden on our beleaguered workforce,” Sausser said.

The budget also includes the creation of a foster care advisory committee and improvements to agency background checks for new hires.