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Candidate DeWine supports investments in children services system

Candidate DeWine supports investments in children services system

Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine addressed 500 child protection caseworkers, agency leaders and other child advocates today, telling them that children and child protective services will be a priority in his administration.

DeWine spoke to the crowd at the 33rd annual conference of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, a membership organization of county child protection agencies, telling the direct service caseworkers that they have one of the toughest jobs. “I have no idea how you do what you do,” DeWine said, stressing that counties without local children services levies struggle even more. “I’m going to try to make your job easier. My top priority is going to be children.”

DeWine also promised expansion of evidence-based programs that he has funded as attorney general, including Ohio START (Sobriety, Treatment and Reducing Trauma), keeping children safe at home or reunifying them more quickly when their parents are struggling with substance use, and 30 Days to Family, which identifies kin for children who must be removed from their homes so that they do not go into foster care. “Thanks to these pilots, we have changed the trajectory of children’s lives,” he said. “As governor, I will expand these programs to every county in Ohio.”

PCSAO’s executive director, Angela Sausser, responded to DeWine’s remarks. “We appreciate Attorney General DeWine’s recognition that our system needs thoughtful, bold leadership from the next administration,” she said. “PCSAO looks forward to working with the next governor to redesign our child protection system to get better results for children and families.”

Referencing the opioid epidemic, Sausser added that if Ohio trends continue, the state could see 20,000 children in custody by 2020 and a gap of $175 million just to pay for placements for the additional children. “We have a better way forward,” she said.

DeWine went on to present the 2018 Child Advocate of the Year award – which he himself had won the previous year – to The Ohio State University College of Social Work for its evaluation and other contributions to Ohio START.

Betty Sutton, the running mate of DeWine’s opponent, Richard Cordray, addressed the group Wednesday.