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Treating resource families as professionals will improve retention, outcomes for kids

Treating resource families as professionals will improve retention, outcomes for kids

The latest report on improving Ohio’s treatment foster care system recommends professionalizing caregivers by clarifying roles, enhancing training and certification, and reexamining costs and processes.

The report, Professionalization of Treatment Resource Families, is the third from a joint effort by PCSAO and the ODJFS Office of Children Services Transformation to expand the state’s capacity and supports for treatment foster care placements in the run-up to Family First Act implementation in October 2021. New restrictions on placement in residential treatment facilities will mean that more youth with serious behavioral health problems will be placed in treatment or therapeutic home settings instead.

This report follows an initial report and recommendations released in February and a report on supports, training, recruitment and retention released in August. Stakeholders assembled to develop the reports represent public and private child-serving agencies, families, behavioral health providers and state experts.

One group consensus suggested that resource parents are more likely to continue fostering if they are treated as the professionals they are, considered part of the treatment team, treated respectfully and kept informed when allegations inevitably arise, and offered the high-quality training they need for the hardest-to-serve children in their care, including certification. The group also considered costs related to liability insurance to cover damages to families’ homes, along with an emerging crisis in finding affordable casualty insurance for private providers of treatment foster care.