Weekly Update: December 21, 2020
Association News
Happy holidays from PCSAO
The Weekly Update will be on hiatus over the holidays and will resume publication Jan. 11.

PCSAO strategic plan approved
At the Executive Membership meeting Dec. 3, PCSAO members approved an ambitious two-year strategic plan that seeks to modernize Ohio's child protection system with respect to a shared practice model, a culture of safety for frontline workers and racial equity. Read the plan here.

PCSAO featured in Children Services Transformation webinar
PCSAO Executive Director Angela Sausser participated in an ODJFS webinar on the recommendations included in the final report of the Ohio Children Services Transformation Advisory Council on Dec. 17. Sausser commended the report for striving to keep families together where possible and seeking most appropriate placement, tackling the workforce crisis that has plagued the children services system, addressing the role of the courts, and recognizing racial disparities and presenting strategies for addressing them. She said the recommendations are a blueprint for strengthening families and reducing trauma. Sausser was joined by Ohio Job and Family Services Directors' Association Executive Director Joel Potts, County Commissioners Association of Ohio Executive Director Cheryl Subler and other system stakeholders. 

Southwest District meets
PCSAO's Southwest District met on Dec. 9. ODJFS staff presented on Family First and OhioKAN. PCSAO and the regional training centers shared updates. The district elected Sue Ware, director of Union County JFS, as its newest PCSAO Trustee. Her term begins in January 2021. Finally, participants discussed current issues in a county roundtable. The district meets next on Jan. 20.

Rules Committee meets
PCSAO's Rules Review Committee met on Dec. 10. ODJFS staff joined the committee to discuss the prevention services rules that were in clearance through Dec. 16 and the Title IV-E prevention services rules currently in pre-clearance. The committee next meets on Jan. 7.  
START approved by clearinghouse
Last week, the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse approved START for inclusion as a promising practice. This is really exciting news for the national START program.  The PCSAO Ohio START team is thankful to Children and Family Futures, the national START purveyor, for all the hard work its team put into this effort. Ohio will continue to move forward with the plan to implement START as one of five Family First prevention programs for launch in October 2021. Read more about START’s placement on the clearinghouse here.

Ohio START job openings
Ohio START is seeking a behavioral health technical consultant to assist Ohio START grantees and their local behavioral health partners in forming collaborative relationships to achieve and maintain Ohio START model implementation and sustainability. Read the job description or apply here. Ohio START is also seeking two Ohio START coaches to provide individual or small group coaching and training to Ohio START grantees to build START teams’ skill sets, increase model fidelity, and enhance collaboration among community partners in Ohio START counties and/or regions. Read the job description or apply here.

Ohio START Leadership Council meets
Ohio START held its final Leadership Council meeting of 2020 on Dec. 9. The council discussed 2020 Ohio START accomplishments, Family First implementation, plans for the next cohort of program participants, and sustainability planning. The council will meet again on Feb. 24.  

Ohio START applications for new counties due Jan. 8
Ohio START will add 14 more counties to the program in early 2021. Applications are due Jan. 8, and counties will be notified of results by Jan. 15. Find the application here.
Rules Update
Pre-Clearance: The following rules are open for comment until Jan. 2:

The following rules are open for comment until Jan. 3:
  • Rule 5101:2-5-02 - Application for an agency to perform specific functions; amended applications.
  • Rule 5101:2-5-03 - Certification of an agency to perform specific functions.

Clearance: The following rule is open for comment until Dec. 23:
Filed with JCARR: The following rules were original-filed on Nov. 30 with a hearing date of Jan. 5. These rules are proposed for amendment as a result of the five-year review, the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act, and to keep alignment with foster care requirements.

The following rules were original-filed on Dec. 2 with a hearing date of Jan. 5:
  • Rule 5101:2-33-03 - Procedure for complaints of alleged discriminatory acts, policies or practices in the foster care or adoption process that involve race, color or national origin.
  • Rule 5101:2-33-11 - Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) agency administration requirements.
  • Rule 5101:2-33-13 - Administrative procedures for falsification in adoption.
  • Rule 5101:2-33-70 - Statewide automated child welfare information system (SACWIS) access.

The following rule was final-filed on Dec. 3 with an effective date of Dec. 15:
State Updates
  • Although vaccine supplies are currently limited, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advised that Ohio will continue to receive vaccinations throughout the month of December.
  • Local health departments in Ohio that registered as providers are expected to begin receiving vaccines. Local health departments should coordinate the vaccinations of congregate care residents and staff, such as those at nursing homes and assisted living facilities, who are not enrolled in the federal long-term care pharmacy programs or are not registered as providers themselves.
  • Nursing homes began vaccinating patients Dec. 18.
  • Gov. Mike DeWine announced that school districts continue to pull back from in-person learning, with 28% of students attending five-day, in-person classes, 45% learning online and the remainder attending a hybrid of in-person and remote classes. He urged Ohioans to prioritize getting kids physically in school in 2021 as the state continues to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Resources and Clips
Webinar: Combating false narratives in human trafficking
A free panel discussion on “Combatting False Narratives in Human Trafficking” will be offered Jan. 14 from 6-8 p.m. Sitting on this panel will be PCSAO Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator Bhumika Patel along with representatives from the FBI, the survivor community, and the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center. Register here.

OACBHA, OhioMHAS accepting conference submissions
The Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, will host Ohio’s 2021 Opiate and Other Drugs Conference virtually May 11-13. The conference will focus on opiates, stimulants, and other substance use disorders, and specifically on efforts related to prevention, education, intervention, treatment, recovery, family supports, community engagement, and more. Presentation proposals should be submitted through this form and will be accepted until Jan. 15 at 5 p.m. For questions regarding the conference or call for papers, contact Michaella Radich.

OCTF, ODH accepting applications for early childhood safety initiative
The Ohio Children’s Trust Fund (OCTF), in partnership with Ohio Department of Health, is accepting applications for their Early Childhood Safety Initiative Funding Opportunity. The funding available through this Request for Grant Applications will support parent education and the provision of concrete safety-related support items for TANF-eligible families with the overall goal of decreasing risk factors related to infant and child mortality and potentially preventing injury-related deaths. OCTF plans to issue eight or more grant awards, between $10,000 and $25,000 per award. Find more information here.

PBS series on childhood trauma
PBS News Hour ran a four-part series on childhood trauma last week:

Child Protection in the News
As local childcare providers continue to experience critical revenue losses and a dwindling of resources, nearly a quarter of them could close by the end of January 2021, a new report says.

The number of babies who died in Ohio before their first birthday dropped for the third consecutive year in 2019, but racial disparities persisted with Black babies being nearly three times more likely to die as those who are white.

Ohio saw a 20 percent increase in overdose deaths in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, and the state is currently on track to break the all-time annual record for overdose deaths of 4,854 set in 2017, the Columbus Dispatch reports. Next year's state budget includes $4.5 million to help build a mental health and addiction recovery center in Franklin County, and legislators are considering others laws to help address the issue.

New data reveals what many policy experts have feared for months: The pandemic has taken a serious toll on the well-being of Ohio's children. Using data from weekly U.S. census surveys, a report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation demonstrates how families across the country are challenged to meet basic needs while managing school, work and mental health. Kim Eckhart, Kids Count project manager for the Children's Defense Fund in Ohio said the loss of jobs and income since March has destabilized many families.

With COVID-19 closing down daycares and schools moving remote, Ohio has a critical need for more foster parents. Many children are slipping through the cracks: Fewer of them are in foster care since the pandemic hit and screened in referrals have dropped a little over 10%, said Jacqueline Fletcher of the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services.
Profiles of Hope and Courage
Kelly: 'I am an eternal optimist'
Kelly is an Alternative Response ongoing worker with Columbiana County Children and Adult Protective Services. She has been in child protection for 19 years in several roles. Her favorite part of her current job is working intensively with families. She has two scheduled meetings a month with them and often sees them weekly. That gives her a chance to view their progress. 

PCSAO is collecting stories from the front lines of child protection to raise awareness of the challenges our children services professionals, and the families they serve, are facing during this pandemic. Despite all the changes in their daily lives, they remain hopeful and courageous.
Calendar and Job Postings
Jan. 6 | Board of Trustees Meeting
Jan. 7 | Rules Review Committee Meeting
Jan. 8 | Community Education Committee Meeting

Note: Meetings will be held via web meeting for the foreseeable future.

Looking for a career in child protection? Or a new position to challenge yourself?