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Senate takes first steps to jump-start children services transformation

The following statement may be attributed to Angela Sausser, executive director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio:

“With a federal reform deadline fast approaching, it is a pivotal time for Ohio’s children services system and the families we serve. The latest version of the budget, released today by the Senate Finance Committee, provides counties with much-needed support to begin transforming children services. We are grateful to the Senate for recognizing that funding must align with new state and federal policy changes by adding $10 million per year to the State Child Protection Allocation.

“Federal and state policy changes that go into effect in the next biennial budget will fail if county agencies do not receive additional funding. Today, the Senate took a step to ensure 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. Senate President Huffman, President Pro Tempore Hottinger, Finance Committee Chair Dolan and Senate leadership are to be commended for their commitment and leadership.

“In addition, the Senate joined the House in affirming its support for relative caregivers by restoring the Kinship Caregiver Program at $10 million per year in TANF. This program allows county agencies to provide needed family stabilization and limited childcare assistance to eligible kin caregivers.

“The Senate has begun this important work on behalf of Ohio’s abused and neglected children. We look forward to continued support in conference committee.”

Read PCSAO’s testimony, delivered June 2 before the Senate Finance Committee.