A quick rundown of Ohio child protection news this week
Weekly Update for December 7, 2020
Association Updates

Trustees hold annual meeting
PCSAO's Board of Trustees held its annual meeting virtually Dec. 4 and elected the following 2021 officers:
  • President: David Haverfield (Tuscarawas CDJFS)
  • Vice President: Stacy Cox (Champaign CDJFS)
  • Treasurer: Danny Brenneman (Coshocton CDJFS)
  • Secretary: Julie Barnes (Summit CCSB)
The board also elected Robin Reese (Lucas CCSB) and Chip Spinning (Franklin CCSB) to serve their next two-year term as at-large metro trustees and Jerry Coleman (Stark CDJFS) as 2021 Legislative Committee chair (ex-officio). The board extended appreciation to Jacqueline Ringer (Marion CCSB) and David Wigent (Wood CDJFS) for their service and leadership to PCSAO. Their terms expire at the end of this year. Trustees also approved November's meeting minutes and October's financial report, selected a new audit firm, and set 2021 meeting dates. Staff provided updates on priority issues, legislation and rules. The next board meeting will be held virtually on Jan. 6. 

PCSAO holds virtual executive membership meeting
PCSAO held its membership meeting virtually Dec. 3 with over 100 people in attendance. In the morning, attendees approved an updated PCSAO mission statement and a modernization plan. PCSAO staff and board members provided an overview of the modernization plan and upcoming priorities. PCSAO Assistant Director Scott Britton and Gretchen Clark Hammond of Mighty Crow provided an update on treatment foster care. In the afternoon, Ohio Department Job Family Services (ODJFS) Assistant Director Kara Wente and Office of Children Services Transformation Director Kristi Burre provided updates from ODJFS in multiple areas, and Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) Director Maureen Corcoran and Deputy Director for Strategic Initiatives Marisa Weisel gave an overview of the Ohio Medicaid redesign and the new OhioRISE program. The meeting concluded with a Q&A session with representatives from ODJFS and ODM. 

Permanency roundtables showcased at symposium
Kinnect hosted the first Youth-Centered Permanency Roundtables Symposium Nov. 30. Counties participating in the model, which engages longstaying foster youth in identifying their desired permanency solution, were treated to online sessions focused on self-care, technology, and tips from practitioners in Colorado. Agencies interested in adopting the model -- which includes incentive funding and significant coaching, training and support from Kinnect -- should contact Angela Wilson.
OAPG holds final meeting of year
The Ohio Adoption Planning Group, a coalition of public and private adoption advocates and agencies, met Dec. 2. The meeting featured updates from PCSAO, ODJFS, and other members. The group continues its focus on post-adoptive supports to sustain permanency and prevent disruption. For more information about OAPG or to join, contact Jessica Swaisgood.
Ohio START applications 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.
State and Federal Updates

State updates
  • Gov. Mike DeWine held a press conference Friday about the protocols for COVID-19 vaccination. The main objectives are to save lives, to slow the spread of the virus and to make sure health care workers are safe. Phase 1-A will begin mid-December. Priorities are consistent with those recommended by the CDC.
  • The first priority will go to healthcare workers involved in COVID-19 care, EMS responders, vulnerable individuals who live together in close proximity and those who care for them. That will include residents and staff at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It will also include patients and staff at state psychiatric facilities and group home residents and staff (developmental disabilities, veterans’ homes).
  • In terms of doses, on Dec. 15, Pfizer will provide 9,750 units to hospitals and 88,725 to Walgreens and CVS for congregate care settings. Then, on Dec. 22, Moderna will send 201,000 doses to 98 hospitals (who will vaccinate their staff) and 108 health departments (who will vaccinate EMS, home health care, etc). Pfizer on that same day will send 123,000 doses – those will continue to go through Walgreens and CVS for congregate care. A few days later, 148,000 will arrive from Pfizer and 89,000 doses from Moderna.
  • Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Ohio, Gov. DeWine has delayed Ohio's plan to resume in-person work at state-owned facilities. State employees will be remote through the end of April.
  • According to this week's ODH travel advisory, this is the first week since April where Ohio’s positivity for COVID-19 has increased above 15 percent. The travel advisory encourages all Ohioans to help limit the spread and impact of this virus by staying home except for necessary trips for supplies.
  • Gov. DeWine asked that K-12 winter sports be conducted without fans in attendance. He announced that most of Ohio’s colleges and universities will not have a physical return to campus in the spring. 
Federal updates
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer announced support last week for a $908 billion bipartisan stimulus proposal. That began a new round of negotiations with Republicans and the White House. While the plan lacks specifics, it does contain state and local fiscal relief. This confirms the intentions of Democrats and Republicans to enact some relief before adjourning for the year.  Any COVID relief is likely to be attached to an omnibus spending bill which may contain funding for all 12 appropriations measures through the end of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2021. The current extension ends Dec. 11.
Rules Updates

Pre-Clearance: The following rules are up for five-year review and open for comments 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: As of Dec. 4, there are no children services-related rules in Clearance.
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.
  • Rule 5101:2-38-08 - Child’s education and health information.
Profiles of Hope and Courage

Kelly: 'Never underestimate the value of your presence in helping someone'
Kelly has been an ongoing caseworker with Perry County Children Services for two years as part of a crisis team in drug court. She previously worked in the mental health field for 18 years as a crisis stabilization unit case manager, helping adults learn coping skills. When Kelly joined the children services agency, the biggest change was transitioning from adults to youth. She especially likes developing ongoing case plans and the goal of reunification.

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.
Announcements and Resources

ODJFS releases adoption toolkit
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) released an adoption toolkit that includes an Ohio Fact Sheet, Ohio’s Adoption Photo Listing, the Children Services Transformation Advisory Council’s Final Report, and inspirational videos. 

FYLaw, Ohio Children's Alliance offer FAFSA assistance
In addition to offering assistance obtaining academic records, the Family and Youth Law Center at Capital University is also partnering with the Ohio Children's Alliance to offer coaching sessions for current or former foster youth on filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The first session is Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. Registration is free, and these classes will be offered on a monthly basis over the next few months. Click here to register.

Columbus' Scholar House 3 expands eligibility to include former foster youth
Columbus Scholar House has expanded eligibility criteria for Columbus Scholar House 3 to include former foster youth between the ages of 18 and 24 years old and youth who will leave foster care within 90 days. Residents of the project are expected to maintain full-time status at an accredited two- or four-year college or university. Capital Law School’s Family and Youth Advocacy Center provides free legal assistance to foster youth ages 16-24 that includes tracking down transcripts and academic records. Contact fyac@law.capital.edu or 614-236-7236. Find more information here.

HPIO release Ohio Addiction Scorecard
The Health Policy Institute of Ohio released its "Ohio addiction policy scorecard: Children, youth and families," which highlights the importance of a comprehensive response to substance abuse disorder for children, youth and families. Read it here.

Children's Bureau offers webinar on use of technology to inform practice
The Children's Bureau is offering a webinar Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. to review the findings of a study to understand how current and future child protection professionals access information and use technology to inform their practice. The webinar will discuss how these findings can be used to improve practice for agency administrators, supervisors and caseworkers, as well as judges, attorneys, and students of social work. Register here.

Attorney General offers virtual Human Trafficking Summit Jan. 14
The 2021 Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Summit will be Jan. 14 from 8:45 a.m. – 4 p.m.. There are many workshops to choose from, and the cost is reasonable at $10 per person. Organizers have applied for continuing education credit for social workers and attorneys. Find more information and register here.
Child Protection in the News

Cutting back on the number of Ohio children stuck in foster care is a desperately important goal that has eluded policymakers for decades. Perhaps a willingness to consider new approaches will help the latest efforts be more successful. We hope so, because the suffering is immense.
In looking to update the Ohio children services system, an advisory council empaneled by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said more training is needed, particularly when it comes to race, trauma and stigma. The final report of the Children Services Transformation Advisory Council was released recently. The advisory council made specific recommendations related to racial injustice and implicit bias in their report.
A lawsuit seeking to boost support payments for Ohio children in the custody of adult relatives was necessary because of the state’s inaction in addressing a disparity in those payments, an advocate for foster children said.
Nov. 30 - Moving Upstream on Child Mental Health - The Imprint
Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcorantalks about her state’s new plan to change mental health services for youth and young adults and prevent unnecessary child welfare and foster care cases. (Director Corcoran's portion can be found at the 9:25 mark).

Despite problems created for many nonprofit groups during the coronavirus pandemic, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has continued on its mission to dramatically increase the number of children adopted from foster care.

Hundreds of thousands of kids across the country are waiting for their forever home. In Ohio alone, nearly 16,000 children are waiting for foster homes or permanent homes, meaning families are needed to help give these children a safe loving home.
Black, Asian and Hispanic children tested and treated for COVID-19 are faring significantly worse than other children during the pandemic, according to a new and comprehensive analysis made by an organization representing seven of the nation’s largest pediatric medical centers.

A documentary depicting the struggles and successes of Ohio drug courts earned a regional Emmy and also a Gold Telly Award, the highest honor for excellence for a film produced in the public interest.
The state of Ohio is facing a public health crisis with responses that have for decades produced little to no solution. This public health crisis is childhood trauma.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed many lives and daily routines. For foster care and adoption care agencies, there has been an adjustment to the challenges, but there also is still a need to serve families in the community.
Upcoming Events

Dec. 9 | Southwest District Meeting
Dec. 10 | Rules Review Committee Meeting
Dec. 21 | Legislative Committee Meeting

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

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 || www.pcsao.org