DeWine proposes near doubling of state children services investment
Today before an audience of county children services agency leaders, Governor Mike DeWine announced an unprecedented $74 million increase in the state’s investment in protecting abused and neglected children, plus related spending, making good on a campaign promise that Ohio should not be last in the nation when it comes to the state’s responsibility for funding such a critical program.
“We are deeply grateful to the Governor for standing up for vulnerable children and families by proposing a 95 percent increase in the state’s investment,” said PCSAO Executive Director Angela Sausser. “Never before have we seen such a laser focus on giving abused and neglected children a chance for safety and permanency, on giving families struggling with addiction and mental illness a chance for stability, and on giving the caseworkers and caregivers who help them a chance for achieving better outcomes.”
In addition to increasing the State Child Protection Allocation by $30 million per year, up from $60 million, to give struggling county agencies the ability to pay the rising costs of serving children, Governor DeWine announced:
- $25 million for multi-system youth will prevent parents from having to relinquish custody of children with developmental disabilities or severe mental illness so that they can get the treatment they need;
- $8.5 million to support struggling grandparents and other kin care providers who unexpectedly find themselves caring for children, and to invest in recruiting much-needed foster parents;
- $5.5 million to expand Bridges, a program for youth who emancipate from our system;
- $4.5 million to expand evidence-based programs like Ohio START and 30 Days to Family to prevent children from coming into foster care; and
- $2.6 million to help our caseworkers be more efficient and productive in the field.
“The Governor is saving a system in crisis and making smart investments that will position children services for the future,” Sausser said. “These programs will alleviate the pressure on county agencies struggling to pay rising costs, but more importantly, they will literally change the trajectory of children and families, improving and even saving lives.”
Sausser noted that no other governor has made such bold investments in children services. “The Governor’s leadership, with the support of his Administration, will afford Ohio’s vulnerable children and families the quality services that will strengthen our state across the board,” she said. “We stand ready to work with the General Assembly to bring the Governor’s proposals to fruition.”