PCSAO welcomes gubernatorial focus on child protection
In response to gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine’s announcement today of a comprehensive policy agenda for kids, PCSAO issued the following statements by Executive Director Angela Sausser:
“Our membership of county children services agencies appreciates a focus on reforming our struggling foster care system by a gubernatorial candidate. For several years now, our caseloads have been rising with more children coming into foster care, largely attributed to Ohio’s opioid epidemic. The children are staying in care longer, have more complex needs, and have created a financial crisis for our counties.
“The challenges in our system will require innovation and leadership from the next governor and the legislature. Ohio remains last in the nation in the state share of child welfare funding, and while we deeply appreciate the legislature’s investment in the state budget last year, we continue to rely more heavily on local dollars to pay costs than any other state. We desperately need more foster homes so that children who come into custody can remain close to their home community. Kinship providers need more supports, and county agencies that vary significantly from county to county when it comes to available resources need relief from skyrocketing placement costs.
“Candidate DeWine has been a longtime champion for abused and neglected children, from his time as a prosecutor, to his tenure in the U.S. Senate, and most recently as attorney general with his investment of federal funds in the Ohio START program that is serving children of parents addicted to drugs. The program started last year in southern Ohio, and the announcement today that he would expand START and other evidence-based prevention programs is aligned with our own vision.
“PCSAO has released a bold reform plan that reimagines the foster care system, available at pcsao.org. Today’s announcement by candidate DeWine gives us hope that the plight of abused and neglected children in Ohio will get much-needed attention in the upcoming election, including reforming and investing in our system.”