PCSAO is proud that all 85 county children services agencies covering all 88 Ohio counties were dues-paying members in 2022, and we expect that to be true for 2023! Membership is currently restricted to the agency of county government responsible for children services pursuant to Chapter 5153 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Ohio is one of only nine states in the nation with a state-supervised, county-administered child protection system, meaning that day-to-day responsibility for overseeing this work is a county government function. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is the state agency responsible for supervising and supporting the work.
There are 85 public children services agencies (PCSAs) in Ohio — one located in each county or, in a few cases, consolidated across two or three counties. Of those 85 PCSAs, 65 are part of a county department of job and family services accountable to elected county commissioners, 18 are standalone children services agencies overseen by a board appointed by county commissioners, and two fall under the purview of a county administrator or executive.
Across the state, 53 counties — covering more than 80 percent of the child population — are supported in part by voter-approved property tax levies. However, Ohio has historically relied more heavily on local dollars to pay the cost of child protection than any other state. Starting in state fiscal year 2020, Ohio significantly increased its investment in children services.
PCSAO works closely with its sister associations that support county human services, including the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association, the Ohio Child Support Enforcement Agency Directors’ Association, and the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.
As an association of public children services agencies, PCSAO was established in part to promote system-wide excellence and program improvement. In addition to the many benefits available to agencies and agency staff outlined below, we provide or work to support a number of services specially designed for agency executives, including directors, child welfare administrators and senior staff. The only cost associated with most services relates to travel, food and accommodations.
New Executives Orientation
Brand-new executives and their senior managers may attend a two-day orientation and training, offered annually, to learn about best practices, to network with peers, and to gain the skills they need to hit the ground running. Topics have included county government, financial management, public policy advocacy, media relations, executive/board relationship, personnel administration and collective bargaining, and outcomes/data management. The next orientation is tentatively scheduled for April 29-30, 2021.
Executive Membership Meetings
Three times a year, agency executives are invited to a two-day meeting to learn about the latest trends, exchange information, and improve skills. Open to PCSAO members only, these meetings offer ample opportunity to interact and recharge. In 2021, these meetings are March 4, June 24-25, and Dec. 2-3.
A pool of specially trained coaches – many retired agency executives themselves – is available to offer one-on-one coaching to directors, administrators and senior staff. Coaches provide in-depth and personalized assistance on one or more topics identified by the executive. To discuss coaching, call Scott Britton at 614-224-5802. Executive coaching is a collaborative project of PCSAO and the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program. Learn more.
Executives can get immediate feedback from their peers across the state by using a closed, secure email listserv. Topics run the gamut in this informal, collegial virtual setting.
Subscription to THE IMPRINT
New in 2023! PCSAO is pleased to offer member agencies a one-year subscription to The Imprint. The Imprint is an independent daily news outlet focused on the nation’s child welfare and youth justice systems. Since 2013, Imprint reporters have produced rigorous, in-depth reporting on the courts that process these children, youth and families; the agencies paid to serve them; and the housing, economic, mental health and educational issues they face. The Imprint is a publication of Fostering Media Connections, a nonprofit organization that uses the power of media and journalism to lead the conversation about children, youth and families in America.
Technical Assistance Upon Request
PCSAO’s staff and trustees bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their work. Assistance is available in crisis management and communications, advocacy, agency excellence, accreditation, human resources, safety, public information campaigns, and much more. PCSAO staff have broad knowledge of many topics and can link executives to valuable resources, experts, or colleagues to address a particular need. Contact PCSAO at 614-224-5802 (or by email – firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions and requests.
Benefits and Services for Agencies and Staff
As an association of public children services agencies, PCSAO was established in part to promote system-wide excellence and program improvement. We offer or work to support a number of services and benefits specially designed for member agencies and their caseworkers and other staff. The only cost associated with most services relates to travel, food and accommodations.
Annual Statewide Conference
Always much-anticipated, the PCSAO conference features in-depth workshops offering social work Continuing Education Units, OCWTP training credit and Continuing Legal Education. The conference offers interaction with vendors, networking opportunities, and awards ceremonies highlighting youth and families as well as legislators and advocates. Agency staff can be nominated for one of three honors awarded at the conference: Supervisor of the Year, Caseworker of the Year, and Support Staff of the Year. Members receive discounts on conference registration fees. Learn more.
By bringing together agency staff across a variety of disciplines, PCSAO promotes the sharing of best practices, problem-solving, and system-wide improvement. Committees meet regularly with specific goals and tasks. They include the Legislative Committee, the Rules Review Committee, the JFS Human Resources Association, the Conference Planning Committee and the Community Education Committee. Learn more.
PCSAO offers its members resources to become nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation. Funding is available from the state to defray costs associated with accreditation. Learn more.
State and Federal Legislative Advocacy
As a statewide association, PCSAO represents its members’ interests at the Ohio Statehouse, monitoring child protection and related bills, advocating for improvements to the law, providing input to the rule-making process, and lobbying for adequate funding. PCSAO does the same thing at the federal level, promoting our mission of safe children, strong families and supportive communities among Ohio’s Congressional delegation. Learn more.
Communication is key in an 88-county statewide network, and PCSAO has a number of tools to keep agencies and staff up to date. The Weekly Update offers the latest news, events, job postings and more via email once each week. Sign up to receive the Weekly Update. Also, check out our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Employment Listings and UPP Graduates
PCSAO provides free advertising for children services-related job openings. Learn more about posting a job opportunity. We also assist University Partnership Program graduates in advertising their availability for public agency employment.
Ohio Child Welfare Training Program
More than 30 years ago, PCSAO helped establish the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program, and we remain a proud partner in this internationally recognized comprehensive competency-based in-service training program. PCSAO’s assistant director co-chairs the OCWTP State Steering Committee along with staff from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. We work closely with the statewide training manager and the eight regional training centers to ensure that agency staff and caregivers receive the best possible training to improve outcomes for children and families. Learn more.
Every two years, PCSAO has published a comprehensive Factbook of county-by-county data about children services. Much sought-after by policy makers, advocates and others in the field, the Factbook identifies trends, measures success, and presents recommendations for improving the child protection system. We are currently transitioning to the 15th edition. Learn more.
Limited Legal Support and Friend-of-the-Court Briefs
From time to time, when agencies are involved in legal action on issues with statewide application, PCSAO’s Legislative Committee may submit an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief to the appeals court. If your agency is involved in litigation where such support would be useful, contact PCSAO’s executive director.