A quick rundown of Ohio child protection news this week
Weekly Update for April 6, 2020
Association Updates

Governor expands stay-at-home order to combat virus
Governor Mike DeWine issued a new stay-at-home order Thursday that is in effect until 11:59 p.m. May 1. In addition to extending the timeframe, the order will also:
  • Create a dispute resolution process for situations where two local health departments have come to a different conclusion on what is or is not an essential business.
  • Require essential businesses to determine and enforce a maximum number of customers allowed in a store at one time and ensure safe social distancing.
  • Require campgrounds to close, except where a it serves as a person's/family's permanent residence and they are unable to secure alternative housing.
  • Require public swimming pools and swimming pools at private clubs or housing complexes to close.
  • Require closure of day camps for children.
  • Prohibit organized youth and adult sports. 
  • Direct travelers arriving in Ohio to self-quarantine for 14 days. Exceptions include persons who live and work in trans-border areas, heath care workers, public health workers, public safety workers, transportation workers and designated essential workers. Visitors are instructed not to travel to Ohio if they are displaying symptoms, excepting in certain circumstances for medical care. 
Other measures implemented this week will:
  • Expand access to telehealth behavioral services by waiving the requirement that providers have a face-to-face meeting before scheduling remote visits, and that providers complete special training to provide remote visits.
  • Extend the order closing K-12 schools through May 1.
  • Ask local communities to include homeless shelters in their planning so that they can help support these Ohioans to meet social distancing guidelines.
  • Maintain public water service during the state of emergency by an order signed by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Develop a website through the Office of Workforce Transformation specifically geared toward matching essential businesses with Ohioans who are able and willing to work as an essential employee during the COVID-19 crisis.
For more information on all of the state's orders, visit the executive orders page .

In addition, President Trump declared on Wednesday that a major disaster exists in the State of Ohio and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 monitor the situation is coronavirus.ohio.gov . The Ohio Department of Health hotline, 1-833-4ASKODH ( 1-833-427-5634 ), is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. The governor continues his daily press conferences at 2 p.m. on www.ohiochannel.org

Call for presenters open for 2020 PCSAO Conference
We need your knowledge and expertise! The call for presenters is now open for our 35th Annual PCSAO Conference, scheduled for Sept. 16-18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Worthington/Columbus. The conference theme is “Partners in Progress” to reflect the transformation taking place in the child protection system. The audience consists of children services professionals: directors, administrators, caseworkers, supervisors, attorneys, students and advocates. Submissions are due May 1 by 5 p.m. Submit your proposal here . Note that you can download a preview of the entire application at the bottom of the submission link. You can check the PCSAO Conference webpage for updates.

Workgroup outlines supports for treatment caregivers
Expanding on the recommendations for tiered treatment foster care , a workgroup met for the second time April 3 to identify the various caregiver supports and training needed in each tier. The group plans to meet at least once more before issuing recommendations. Contact Scott Britton for more information.

Rules Committee meets via teleconference
The Rules Review Committee met via teleconference on April 2. ODJFS staff discussed several rules in pre-clearance through April 4, including Chapter 5101:2-47, Title IV-E Foster Care Maintenance rules and 5101:2-33-02, PCSA requirement to participate in child protection oversight and evaluation. The committee then shared local issues and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The next meeting is May 7 via teleconference.  

Rules update
Pre-clearance: the following rules are in pre-clearance until April 30:
Clearance: As of April 3, there are no children services-related rules in Clearance.

Filed with JCARR: As of April 3, no new children services-related rules have been filed with JCARR.
Announcements and Resources

JFS HRA holds weekly call on employment-related updates
The Jobs and Family Services (JFS) Human Resources Association has been meeting weekly during the pandemic to advise JFS departments, PCSAs and CSEAs of the swiftly changing landscape in employment and human resources. Led by association president Valarie Nash (Summit County Children Services) with the counsel of Jonathan Downes of Zashin & Rich, the calls cover county, state and federal benefits and answer a multitude of questions. The next call will be tomorrow, April 7, at 1 p.m.

Quality Parenting Initiative webinar on virtual visitation April 7 and 9
Quality Parenting Initiative is holding a two-part webinar on conducting virtual visit and navigating screens during the current pandemic.
  • Part 1: April 7 from 3-4 p.m. While in-person visitation is the best way to support families, it isn’t always possible during this emergency. Dr. Rachel Barr will share research on how to use remote and virtual communication to maintain and strengthen relationships. She is a professor at Georgetown University and has conducted research on media and young children for over 25 years. She has served as a consultant for Sesame Street on media and very young children. She partnered with the Youth Law Center to create a media-based intervention for incarcerated teen parents. Register here.  
  • Part 2: April 9 from 3-4 p.m. While sheltering at home, families will become more reliant than ever on “screens" (TV, computers, and other media). This webcast, also presented by Dr. Rachel Barr, will focus on how parents can navigate the digital media world with their toddlers and how media can be a useful tool for parents to support intellectual, educational and emotional development. Digital play, where adults and children interact around media, is a way to build connections and avoid isolation. Register here.  
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute webinar on virtual supervision April 8 
The National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI), the Capacity Building Center for States, and the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development will host an open mic discussion on how to use supervision to support the virtual child welfare workforce April 8 from 3-4:15 p.m. With the child welfare workforce currently working from home, supervision is more important than ever to ensure continued quality service provision and to keep children safe and families together. How is supervision changing to respond to this new virtual world? What adjustments are being made? This webinar will offer expert guidance on virtual supervision and provide opportunities for participants to ask questions and exchange information.  Register here.

Bar Association offers webinar on federal child welfare guidance April 9 
The American Bar Association will offer a webinar to highlight the federal government's recent guidance on emerging legal issues in child welfare cases on April 9 at 11 a.m. It will help attorneys and judges apply that guidance in case-by-case decision-making on topics like visitation and family time, access to services in the case plan, due process and civil rights protections during remote court hearings, reasonable efforts findings, family reunification, termination of parental rights timelines, and other important aspects of a child welfare legal proceedings that may be affected by the pandemic. This is a non-CEU training. Find more information and register here

HealthPath offers funding through RFP process
Cincinnati-based HealthPath Foundation of Ohio will provide funding to organizations needing help in the following categories: food access, housing and shelter, caregiving services (i.e., child, older adult, persons with disability), and health care (i.e., behavioral, medical, oral, vision) through a simple and quick RFP process to address community needs. Apply through the online application portal by April 10. HealthPath has allocated $200,000 for this initiative. Grant awards of up to $10,000 will be made to selected organizations. If your organization is a current HealthPath grantee or applying for another HealthPath grant opportunity, you are still eligible to apply for this opportunity. Contact Tara Behanan, HealthPath Grants Manager, with questions. 

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 up for one of these sessions:
Distance learning opportunities available from OCWTP
In an attempt to provide a hub for information about online training, the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program has created a webpage listing a variety of distance learning opportunities for caseworkers, supervisors, caregivers, and others. The page also includes tips for searching for distance learning offerings on E-Track. Many of these trainings can be taken for credit.

Ohio launches Infant Mental Health Credential 
The state of Ohio recently launched a new Infant Mental Health Credential for early childhood professionals, the first of its kind in the state. This credential provides professional development to support the social-emotional needs of Ohio’s youngest children. Early childhood professionals who hold this credential will have met the state’s minimum core standards. Applications are being accepted through the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association .
Child Protection in the News

Ohio needs a statewide uniform moratorium on evictions. Without a statewide policy, we worry that the effectiveness of COVID-19 mitigation policies, like the stay-at-home order, will be reduced.

Every April, we recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month. As we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue is becoming an even bigger concern. With the stay at home order, some children are stuck inside all day with abusive families. And social workers expect an increase in domestic violence cases as well. Robyn Haines shares some of the changes being made and has more on how you can help these kids.

Local children’s services centers say kids are more at risk for abuse and neglect now because of the pandemic. With children out of school, reporting abuse is now up to the public more than ever before.

Biological parents battling to regain custody of children in foster care could lose crucial bonding time and see reunification stymied as dependency courts nationwide cancel hearings and suspend face-to-face family visits over coronavirus concerns.

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the face of social services, including foster care. In some parts of the country, agencies are struggling to find new people willing to take children into their homes during this time of uncertainty. Local foster care agencies said the need for new parents hasn't slowed down, and more people in Cincinnati are stepping up to help. Some necessary practices have changed dramatically, and foster parents are having to adapt.

Ohio law gives a juvenile court 90 days to conduct a dispositional hearing to decide a child's placement in protective supervision or decide custody issues after authorities file complaints alleging the child is abused, neglected, or dependent, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled this month. If the hearing is not conducted within that timeframe, the case must be dismissed and authorities must start the process over, the Court concluded.

This issue isn't new. Child abuse reports decrease in the summer and during winter breaks, when children are apart from educators, according to figures from local agencies. But the coronavirus pandemic will likely aggravate the problem, and not just because cases will be underreported with children out of school, say local advocates. The mental and economic strain on parents and guardians could manifest in abuse directed at children.
Don't forget to Wear Blue April 8!

In-person events have been canceled, but Wear Blue is still happening this Wednesday, April 8! Wear Blue from home, with your family, and post the photo on your county children services social media or on the Wear Blue Ohio Facebook page to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect.  #OhioWearsBlue   is a "pandemic-safe" event.
Upcoming Events

April 10 | Conference Planning Committee Meeting
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