A quick rundown of Ohio child protection news this week
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Weekly Update for April 23, 2018
Association Updates

PCSAO releases 2017 annual report
“It’s no exaggeration to say that for PCSAO,” writes Executive Director Angela Sausser in the association’s annual report , “2017 was a year for the history books.” Securing the first significant state investment in child protection in more than a decade and launching a bold new program to combat the opioid epidemic are just two of the accomplishments highlighted in the report released this week. Entitled " Because Children Services Ain’t Kid Stuff ," the report reinforces county children services agencies’ commitment to improving outcomes for children and families across Ohio — no matter the challenges.

Enterprise Document Management System project kickoff
The Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) and Northwoods have signed a contract to expand the EDMS project to include child care, child support and child protective services. The project is on a very fast track to be developed and implemented by Dec. 31. DAS has planned a kickoff meeting for this project on April 30 from 1-3 p.m. at the Riffe Auditorium, 77 South High Street, Columbus. The meeting is for county senior leadership, including directors, administrators, supervisors, program leads, county IT, and key personnel for all six programs (Child Care, Child Support, Child Protection, Medicaid, SNAP and TANF). Click here for the registration information. Click here for information about the Riffe location and parking.

Call for Presenters: 2018 PCSAO Annual Conference
We invite skilled presenters, passionate enthusiasts and child protection experts to submit proposals to present and share their knowledge with our conference attendees. PCSAO’s annual conference Sept. 19-21 is a statewide child welfare training event, which draws more than 500 participants each year. The conference will focus on efforts to highlight collective knowledge and best practices in child protection that lead to improving outcomes for children, youth and families. We encourage you to be part of this event, and take this opportunity to network with child welfare professionals across the state. Click here for more information about the Call for Presenters, due April 30, and conference updates. 

Ohio START Steering Committee meets
The Ohio START Steering Committee met April 18 at PCSAO. Discussion focused on the current status of implementation, clarifying programmatic questions, and upcoming trainings. The Steering Committee will meet next on May 9 at PCSAO.

Legislative Committee meets
The PCSAO Legislative Committee met April 16. PCSAO provided updates on pending legislation, and the committee discussed Sub. HB 394, Juvenile Omnibus, and HB 574, Paid Caregivers-Medicaid Waivers. The committee then met in small workgroups to begin researching possible legislative initiatives.  The committee next meets May 21. For more information, contact mary@pcsao.org .

East Central District meets
The East Central District met April 20. The agenda included updates from PCSAO and the East Central Ohio Regional Training Center, a discussion of the new kinship child care program, and a county roundtable discussion. The district next meets July 20.  

Northwest District meets
Cassandra Holtzmann of Crawford County JFS led a meeting of PCSA executives and staff April 19 in Findlay. Discussion included the Children’s Continuum of Care Reform plan, the kinship child care program, and the importance of working with juvenile judges to identify appropriate placement for youth diverted from the juvenile justice system. The district meets next July 19.

Rules update
Rick Tvaroch, Trumbull County Children Services, testified before the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) April 16 regarding Chapter 5101:2-36, Screening and Investigation Rules. Click here to read the full testimony by Trumbull County CS.  His testimony expressed appreciation for ODJFS’ removal of proposed revised language regarding collateral contacts in 5101:2-36-01, Screening and Intake, and for JCARR’s interest and support on this issue. PCSAO provided written testimony as well. Click here to read the full testimony by PCSAO. 

Foster Care Advisory Group completes report
Having met at least monthly since October, the Foster Care Advisory Group wrapped up its work April 18, and the final report will be submitted to the legislature by May 1. The recommendations focus on improving recruitment and retention, streamlining foster caregiver licensing and providing better supports to caregivers in light of the opioid epidemic. Many thanks to co-chairs Karen McGormley of the Office of Families and Children and Mark Mecum of the Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies for their leadership, and to all of the foster parents and organizational representatives who sat on and advised the committee. 
Announcements and Resources

Ohio Family Search and Engagement Toolkit
Ohio’s Child Welfare Learning Collaborative just released the Ohio Family Search and Engagement Toolkit . The toolkit was designed to serve as a resource regarding effective Family Search and Engagement practice. It was developed after the Child and Family Services Plan (CFSP) identified the need to improve Family Search and Engagement practices statewide. Following completion of the Agency Readiness Assessment , feedback provided by the agency will be analyzed and compiled into a report that will provide an overview of the results and some suggested next steps. If you are interested in completing the Agency Readiness Assessment , please contact Katina.Bays@jfs.ohio.gov

Anti-human trafficking webinar
The Ohio Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers is hosting a series of webinars on leading strategies and innovative approaches for an MDT response to human trafficking. Contact ONCAC’s Statewide Human Trafficking Coordinator, Seth Boughton, at sboughton@oncac.org with questions. 
Child Protection in the News

Three clients of Trumbull County Children Services who are winning their battle with drug addiction were recognized at the agency’s annual “Rising Up and Moving On” luncheon today.

More kids in foster care: If the opioid epidemic continues at its current pace, Ohio will have more than 20,000 children in custody by 2020, a December 2017 report from the Public Children Services Association of Ohio says. 

Controversial changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are expected to be discussed as the U.S. House Agriculture Committee marks-up the 2018 Farm Bill today (4/18). A strict work requirement is among the proposals hunger-fighting organizations say could hurt already struggling Ohioans. 

The statistics on child abuse are alarming. April is Child ... In Ohio alone, a child is abused or neglected every 30 minutes. ... It's shocking and I don't think you ever get used to knowing about it," said Jennifer Kollar, spokesperson for Mahoning County Children Services.

Apr. 16 – Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention – Morrow County Sentinel
Ohio Children's Trust Fund's campaign this year is “Be a 30 minute Hero. Pick your super power: Support. Volunteer. Mentor. Donate.” Posters and flyers can be seen in many Morrow County businesses. Morrow County Children Services investigated 178 reports of abuse and/or neglect in 2017. 

The higher parents are on drugs, the higher the cost to care for their abused and neglected children. Licking County continues to set records for children in its care, and the needs of those children are greater than ever, due to the ongoing drug epidemic plaguing the state and nation.

For several hours Thursday evening, she and other female inmates at the Lucas County jail learned about various health and social services available to them once they are released to help them get back on their feet.
Upcoming Events

Apr. 26 | New Executives Orientation
Apr. 27 | New executives Orientation
May 3 | Rules Review Committee Meeting

Employment Opportunities

Looking for a career in child protection? Or a new position to challenge yourself? Check out the latest job openings in child protection.

Quote of the Week

“If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” – Barbara Bush
Public Children Services Association of Ohio | 614-224-5802 | www.pcsao.org
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