Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has added his voice to the many calling for additional foster parents as our state struggles with an opioid epidemic. We appreciate his interest in helping us continue to increase the network of foster homes for abused and neglected children.
On the day he announced his office would create a new $1 million fund for recruitment of foster families, Hamilton County had 2,295 children in care, with 1,191 children in foster homes.
We contract for foster placement services through a number of local and national providers, including Lighthouse Youth Services, Pressley Ridge, Child Focus, Necco, Focus on Youth, St. Joseph Orphanage, Beech Acres, Bair Foundation, National Youth Advocate Program, SAFY, Choices, Ohio Mentor, Buckeye Ranch and many others who have been great partners in the effort to provide temporary placement for children who cannot safely return to their home. Hamilton County has more than 500 foster families living within its borders. All of them were recruited and nurtured by one of these agencies.
Being a foster family is a tough job. Caring for a child who is not your own is difficult, but there is so much more to it than that. Foster families have to constantly complete new trainings, open their home to inspection, juggle medical appointments and family visits and meet the demands of caseworkers assigned to help foster children.
On top of that, foster parents know it is very likely these children will eventually return to their biological families; while reunification is a wonderful reward for work well done, it can be heartbreaking to lose a child who has become an important part of your life and family.