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State of the State response: Governor prioritizes all children

State of the State response: Governor prioritizes all children

PCSAO’s Executive Director Angela Sausser released this statement today in response to Gov. Mike DeWine’s State of the State address:

“On this day when children’s advocates across the state are wearing blue to demonstrate their commitment to preventing child abuse and neglect, we applaud Gov. Mike DeWine for his ongoing, persistent focus on Ohio’s children, their overall well-being and the need to create a sense of urgency for their futures. This is especially true for children involved in Ohio’s foster care system.

“In his State of the State address today, the Governor recognized an innovative model program in Sandusky, Wyandot, Seneca and Ottawa counties that is licensing foster families who are equipped to support youth with complex behavioral health needs in their homes. The Northwest Treatment Foster Care Collaborative has not only kept kids in homes rather than in residential group care, but it has saved taxpayers half a million dollars so far. With the Governor’s support, this model will be extended to other regions of the state through an exciting pilot program, allowing more children the opportunity to remain in a home with a family instead of being placed in residential group settings. We are grateful for the Governor’s leadership in funding the pilot program.

“Gov. DeWine’s two terms have witnessed significant new state investments in children services; new resources for foster care, kinship care and adoption; expansion of the Ohio START program for parents struggling with substance use disorder; establishment of the OhioRISE program for children with behavioral health needs; increased access to Mobile Response Stabilization Services; bold responses to county workforce and placement crises, and so much more. As the Governor often says, children truly are Ohio’s future, and we need every child to thrive. Prioritizing children through innovation and meeting families’ needs where they are will move the needle in preventing child abuse and neglect. We applaud the Governor’s continued laser focus on children.”

Pictured, left to right: Stephanie Kowal, Director, Ottawa County Job & Family Services; Jenni Zaika, Northwest Treatment Foster Care Collaborative Program Lead, Sandusky County JFS; Gov. & Mrs. DeWine; Melanie Allen, Director, Sandusky County JFS; Kathy Oliver, Director, Seneca County JFS.