Recommendations in transformation report will improve services to children, families
Recommendations issued today by the Governor’s Children Services Transformation Advisory Council will strengthen the child protection system just as significant federal changes are underway, according to the association of Ohio’s county children services agencies.
Angela Sausser, executive director of Public Children Services Association of Ohio, thanked Gov. Mike DeWine and his administration for expanding the capacity and responsiveness of all family- and child-serving systems in order to reduce the number of kids who must enter foster care. “Not only did the governor lead in making substantial new investments in children services in the current state budget, he indicated today that our system will need additional investments in the next budget,” she said. “He also recognized that the responsibility for preventing child abuse and neglect extends well beyond the purview of a single system. We are heartened by his promise of continued financial support, and his recognition that each and every child deserves to grow up in a loving family.”
With 37 recommendations across seven domains, the report touches on all facets of child and family services. “The report prioritizes everything we know from decades of research about achieving good long-term outcomes for children: keeping families together, when possible, and ensuring the most appropriate family-based settings for children who cannot remain at home,” Sausser said. “Other recommendations tackle the children services workforce crisis and the role of the courts, both of which will reduce the time that children spend in foster care. Just as important, the report recognizes the racial disparities in our system and presents a critical vision for equity.”
Sausser expressed appreciation to members of the advisory council, which includes Nicole Caldwell and Robin Reese, directors of Guernsey County’s and Lucas County’s children services boards, respectively. “Thanks to their advocacy, many of the recommendations align with PCSAO’s Children’s Continuum of Care Reform and with the federal Family First Act, which are also transforming the way services are delivered to children and families,” Sausser said.
Sausser concluded that the association stands ready to work with the administration and the legislature to implement the recommendations. “The state is already making good on so many of its promises of partnership and support,” she said. “We understand that, as with any transformation, some will be carried out in the short term and others in the long term, but thanks to Gov. DeWine’s leadership, Ohio has a blueprint for strengthening families and reducing child trauma.”