A quick rundown of Ohio child protection news this week
Weekly Update for April 20, 2020
Association Updates

Lucas County Director Robin Reese appears on Senator Brown’s daily update
Thanks to  U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown  for having  Lucas County Children Services  Director Robin Reese on his daily COVID-19 update last week and for highlighting children services heroes in his remarks. Thanks to Director Reese for sharing the challenges children services agencies are facing, including reduced referrals, lack of placements for children and the difficulty of social distancing when caseworkers are working with children. Watch the clip here.

Executive transitions
Jeff Felton, director of Medina County JFS, has been selected as the new director of Belmont County JFS. Jeff Sell, administrator of Seneca County JFS, has taken a similar position at Delaware County JFS; Jennifer Schumacher has taken his position in Seneca. Cathy Hill, director of Athens County Children Services, and Kathi Spirk, director of Clinton County JFS, have both delayed their planned retirements because of the crisis. Tina Pocock was selected as administrator for Clermont County JFS. Vickie Evans is serving as interim director of Scioto County Children Services.

Ohio Supreme Court says agencies can seek permanent custody after 12 months
In an opinion released this week, the Supreme Court of Ohio held that public children services agencies could seek permanent custody after 12 months of temporary custody. The case was brought because of a conflict between the Sixth District Court of Appeals and the Eleventh District Court of Appeals. The Sixth District had held that an agency must be involved with the family for 22 consecutive months before the motion for permanent custody can be filed. The Eleventh District had ruled that the child only had to be in temporary custody for 12 of the last 22 months; the agency did not have to be involved with the family for 22 months before it could be filed.  You can find the opinion here.

Governor continues coronavirus efforts
Gov. Mike DeWine and his administration continued efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus and to prepare the state for it.
  • Beginning May 1, Ohio will begin a phased-in reopening of the state economy. The plan will be fact-driven over a long period of time to minimize the health risk to business owners, employees, and their customers. More information will be released next week.
  • Gov. DeWine also announced he will work closely with the governors of Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Kentucky to reopen the region’s economy in a coordinated way, looking at number of cases, hospital admissions, testing capacity and best practices for social distancing.
  • The governor and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton have stressed restrictions on large gatherings of people will be the last to be lifted. Many factors will go into this including testing, availability of PPE and hygiene measures put in place in public areas. In response to questions, Gov. DeWine said it is far too soon to answer questions about what will be possible in the fall.
  • Long-term care facilities are required to notify residents and families within 24 hours of a resident or staff member becoming infected.
  • Battelle will extend sanitization of PPE to law enforcement and EMS.
  • More swab kits are being created so that testing can be expanded and OSU is producing the sterile solution needed to complete tests.
  • Companies that purchase rapid antibody tests should purchase only those with FDA approval. These are listed on the FDA website.
  • The House 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force has been meeting and hearing from various sectors of the economy in preparation for delivering an economic recovery plan to the governor.
  • Census completion is at 52%, and the governor encouraged people to complete their Census forms. 
For more information on all of the state's orders, visit the  executive orders page .

PCSAO, along with the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association (OJFSDA), the Ohio Child Support Enforcement Agencies Directors’ Association (OCDA) and the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO), continues to follow the situation closely and interact with state officials to ensure that county agencies are well represented and receive clear information. The best place to find information is  coronavirus.ohio.gov  . The Ohio Department of Health hotline, 1-833-4ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634), is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. The governor holds press conferences at 2 p.m. on  www.ohiochannel.org 

Rules update
Pre-Clearance: The following rules from Chapter 5101:2-5 (Child Services Agency Licensing) are in pre-clearance until April 30:
The following rules from Chapter 5101:2-9 (Children’s Residential Centers, Group Homes, and Residential Parenting Facilities) are in pre-clearance until April 28:
Clearance: The following rule is in clearance until April 21:
The following rules are in clearance under five-year review until April 22:
Filed with JCARR: The following rule was final-filed on April 13:
Announcements and Resources
Learn more about Youth-Centered Permanency Roundtables on upcoming webinar
Kinnect is offering webinars to PCSA staff interested in adopting the Youth-Centered Permanency Roundtables model. The model has been shown in 10 counties to help move children 12 and older toward permanency by putting the youth in charge of her/his permanency plan. It also helps shift agency culture and philosophy toward permanency across all divisions. Kinnect plans to bring 10 new counties onboard in 2020. Sign into one of these sessions:
New distance learning website from OCWTP
The Ohio Child Welfare Training Program has created a user-friendly distance-learning website with a variety of opportunities for caseworkers, supervisors, assessors, foster parents, adoptive parents and trainers. The sessions have been well received, and many trainings can be taken for credit.

Webinar on navigating dependency cases during COVID-19
The Supreme Court of Ohio is offering a webinar for juvenile judges, magistrates, court administrators and child welfare agency staff on Navigating Dependency Cases During the COVID-19 Crisis: Hearings, Worker Visits, & Parent Visitations on April 23 from noon to 1 p.m. As juvenile courts work to find creative ways to handle abuse, neglect, and dependency cases during the COVID19 crisis, children services agencies are also utilizing alternatives to initiate and maintain contact with families. The webinar will examine how juvenile courts and child welfare agencies are navigating restrictions to ensure children and families are receiving services. It will also review how the Children’s Bureau guidance coincides with HB 197 and the Supreme Court’s tolling order. There will also be a discussion on what juvenile judges can expect from children services caseworkers and their responsibilities to lay eyes on a child, as well as the importance of continuing parenting time visits.  All participants need to register through OhioCourtEdu . Non-court attendees will need to create a new account under the “All Others” category. Contact Judicial College staff at OhioCourtEDU@sc.ohio.gov with questions.

APSAC to host discussion on child abuse prevention resources for COVID-19
The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) will host an expert-led discussion on child abuse prevention, stress relief techniques for parents, and Internet safety practices for children on April 23 at 3 p.m. Experts will include Mary Pulido, PhD; Brooks Keeshin, MD; and Nina Agrawal, MD. The webinar will also offer additional resources for families and professionals coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. Register here .

NCWWI session on safety in the virtual workforce
The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) will hold a webinar on "Supporting the Virtual Workforce: Physical, Emotional, and Psychological Safety" April 21 or April 24 from 3-4:15 p.m. During the COVID-19 crisis, child welfare professionals provide critical services to their communities. As essential public servants, it is important that they have systems in place to ensure their safety during home visits and while working in the field. This session will explore how child welfare programs are innovating to protect their front line workers’ physical, emotional, and psychological safety. Register here .

Hopewell Health Center to offer trauma-informed family engagement webinars
Hopewell Health Centers, Inc., in partnership with OhioMHAS, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Programs, will present a series of free Trauma-Informed Family Engagement webinars . The webinars will identify the six guiding principles to trauma-informed care, the importance of family engagement, and strategies for the implementation of trauma-informed family engagement practices. The training is open to anyone working with families, including but not limited to faith-based, child welfare, juvenile justice, first responders, law enforcement, family childcare, education, and treatment providers. Participants only need to attend one day. Upcoming training dates include April 23 and 29; May 8, 14 and 19; and June 5, 10, 17, 23 and 25. Each GoToWebinar session, which lasts from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., can hold a maximum of 50 participants. To register, email carmen.wigal@hopewellhealth.org .  

Trauma Informed Care Summit goes virtual May 19-20
Resilience is the quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back as strong as before. Northeast Ohio Medical University, the Ohio Children’s Alliance, and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services will hold a virtual Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) Summit May 19-20. The virtual summit has been designed give participants the knowledge and tools they need to develop resilience in all children and adults. Participants may register for the entire two days or any parts that interest them. CEUs will be provided. The keynote session will be given by Raul Almazar, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors’ Center for Innovation in Behavioral Health Policy and Practice (May 19), and Dr. Laurel Kiser, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine Family Informed Trauma Treatment Center (May 20). There is no cost to participate. Click here to view the agenda and to register online.

Justice Clearinghouse offers webinar on exposure to violence by children
The Justice Clearinghouse is offering a webinar called "More than Words: The Emotional Maltreatment of Children" on May 21 from 1 to 2 p.m. The webinar will focus on the psychological and emotional harm risks for children who are exposed to violence. The webinar will also cover toxic stress and its effects on child development, as well as common misconceptions about emotional maltreatment. Register here .

Ohio Fatherhood Summit set for Sept. 2-3
Mark your calendars for the upcoming Ohio Fatherhood Summit Sept. 2-3 in Columbus. This will be an excellent opportunity for organizations that work with fathers and families to hear dynamic, nationally renowned speakers, share best practices, and learn new strategies for making a difference in the lives of Ohio's fathers and families. The conference will be sponsored by the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood in partnership with the Ohio Practitioners' Network for Fathers and Families. Look for registration information in August.
Child Protection in the News

Ohio's foster care system was already under stress with the opioid crisis. Now, the coronavirus is adding even more stress, according to some child welfare agencies. Local non-profit The Buckeye Ranch is reporting a 60 percent increase in children's cases. The non-profit child welfare agency has made drastic safety changes including switching to telehealth services all while the number of kids coming in continues to climb.

Lucas County Children Services officials are concerned about the safety of children and their staff in the field, as well as assistance for foster families. Lucas County Children Services Director Robin Reese says referral numbers are down by 50%, but that doesn't mean children are safe. It's a trend that's happening across the country.

What might sound like good news, instead has state leaders worried about the safety of Ohio's children. Child abuse reports are down 50 percent in one month. But state leaders say that doesn't mean fewer children are in jeopardy.

April 12 - Child abuse continues even in pandemic - Warren Tribune ChronicleEach April, gardens of hundreds of twirling blue pinwheels are planted in different areas of the Mahoning Valley. They aren’t there as a source of entertainment or to mark the onset of spring. Rather, they exist to draw attention to a dark truth that many of us don’t regularly think about.

Franklin County experienced a 14% increase in overdose deaths in 2019 compared to 2018, with nearly 91% of the deaths last year involving opioids, the county coroner’s office said in a report released Thursday.

Child welfare advocates across the United States have expressed concern about the safety of children during a time when millions of people are being forced to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. “What we know is when families are under stress, that's when the risk of child maltreatment increases," said Jacqueline Ringer, executive director of Marion County Children Services. "I'll be honest, I'm worried. ... I've been tracking the number of calls that we've received. I took the first week of March and compared it with the fourth week of March (23-27), just comparing pre- and post-social distancing. We've seen a decrease of 51 percent in the number of calls coming into our agency."

Butler County Children Services leaders say they are working to monitor cases and stay in contact with families during a time when those who most often report issues are not physically near children in schools, medical facilities and other offices. There are many concerns surrounding child welfare as the coronavirus pandemic escalates, such as available foster homes and whether kids are safe given there are fewer people seeing
Upcoming Events

April 20 | Legislative Committee Meeting
May 6 | Board of Trustees Meeting

Note: Most if not all meetings will be held via web meeting or teleconference.

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 .
Public Children Services Association of Ohio | 614-224-5802 | www.pcsao.org