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PCSAO urges Senate to protect children services funding

PCSAO urges Senate to protect children services funding

PCSAO’s Executive Director, Angela Sausser, testified before the Senate Health Committee today on Sub. HB 33, emphasizing the need to maintain the proposed investment for public children services agencies in the State Child Protection Allocation (SCPA). Sausser highlighted the success of previous investments in 2019 and 2021, which helped improve the practice of county agencies, implement critical programs, and manage soaring placement costs.

The House reduced the overall funding in Line Item 830506, Family and Children Services (found within the new Department of Children and Youth), by $28 million in SFY24 and by $25 million in SFY25, compared to the Executive Budget. This reduction impacts key programs housed within, including supports for kinship caregivers, Ohio START, prevention services, and supports for youth aging out of foster care and entering young adulthood.

“Ohio’s children services system has experienced significant crisis for many years,” Sausser testified. “These dollars are absolutely needed by our county public children services agencies (PCSAs) to help stabilize their workforce, address the cost associated with today’s placement crisis, effectively implement the many changes that have occurred within our system over the last five years, and continue to become more innovative in our approaches to working with children and families.”

Sausser was accompanied by panelists Tammy Osborne-Smith, Director of Jackson County Department of Job and Family Services, who provided insight into the treatment crisis and its impact on Jackson County, and Aimee Clemson, a caseworker who emphasized the crucial role of the Ohio START program.

Read Sausser’s full testimony, Clemson’s full testimony, and Osborne-Smith’s full testimony.

Watch the testimony on the Ohio Channel (Sausser’s testimony begins at 1:34:00).