Senate budget fails families during pivotal year for transformation
The following statement may be attributed to Angela Sausser, executive director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio:
“It is a pivotal time for Ohio’s children services system, and the latest version of the budget, released today by the Senate, again fails to give counties any advantage in transforming the children services system. The budget strips away a key support for kin caregivers while leaving counties solely responsible for expensive reforms.
“Federal and state policy changes that go into effect in the next biennial budget will fail if county agencies do not receive additional funding. Ohio must align new policy requirements with new local resources in order to ensure that kids can remain safely with their families, that children can be placed in the most appropriate setting, and that the most effective services can be provided to reduce trauma in children’s lives.
“But county agencies are being asked to pick up where new state and federal programs leave off, and also to bridge a three-year gap during which federal reimbursement will not be available for certain types of placements that don’t meet new quality standards. State programs and federal initiatives intended to transform our system are important, but passing responsibility along to the counties for managing them with no new resources is not the answer. County agencies continue to struggle with a workforce crisis as well as an addiction epidemic, and transforming a system that greatly needs it without new resources will only bring failure.
“Ohio’s children services system can and will improve outcomes for children and families, but not without new resources. PCSAO stands with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio in asking the Senate to add $50 million per year to the State Child Protection Allocation and to restore the $15 million TANF Kinship Caregiver Program.”