A quick rundown of Ohio child protection news this week
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Weekly Update for February 12, 2018
Association Updates

Board of Trustees meets
The PCSAO Board of Trustees met via conference call on Feb. 7 due to the inclement weather. The Board approved Jan. 3 meeting minutes, January 2018 Treasurer's Report, and the reconciled 2017 year-end budget. The Board passed a special resolution supporting the state's Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) proposal for child welfare, including mobility, with Northwoods as a proven system. Other discussion topics included agenda items for the upcoming Executive Membership meeting, Children's Justice Act survey, CARA rules, Kinship Child Care, pending legislative bills, and updates on strategic priorities. The Board will meet next on Mar. 12 following day one of the Executive Membership meeting.

Managed Care Core Team holds first quarterly meeting
The PCSAO Medicaid Managed Care Core Team met on Feb. 8 and discussed CFSR measures related to healthcare, health-related data needs, cost-shifting possibilities, and plans for 2018. The Core Team welcomed provider partners in the afternoon to discuss the implementation of the behavioral health redesign and the upcoming managed care carve-in. A special thank you to our partners at OACBHA for providing wonderful meeting space. The Core Team will hold its next in-person meeting in May.

PCSAO gives webinar on the opioid epidemic
The opioid epidemic is straining Ohio’s child welfare system, causing more children to enter foster care, stay in foster care longer, and placement costs to rise. On Feb. 8, Mary Wachtel and Fawn Gadel gave a webinar to discuss the impact of opioids on child welfare in Ohio, explain agency requirements to provide reasonable efforts for preventing removal of children from their homes and for reunification, and highlight the OhioSTART program—a pilot project operating in 14 southern Ohio counties focusing on families with both substance use and child abuse/neglect concerns. 

HOPE workgroup meets
The HOPE Workgroup held its first quarterly meeting of 2018 on Feb. 6 focused on planning for the year. HOPE 2018 plans include:
  • Continuing conference presentations promoting parent engagement
  • Providing both the core and training of trainers for the Building a Better Future Curriculum.
  • Sustaining local and statewide activities
  • Continued collaboration with the Succeed program
Requests for Applications have been distributed to add two new HOPE pilot sites. It was announced that Ohio has been selected to be a part of Family Voices United. Hopefully, HOPE parent partners will be able to participate in this effort.

Ohio Reach Advisory Board meets
The Ohio Reach Advisory Board met on Feb. 9 and reviewed the budget as of Jan. 31; discussed the expansion of the Ohio Reach mentoring programs to Bowling Green State University and Hocking Community College; received updates on the other four Ohio Reach mentoring programs at Columbus State, Central State, Cuyahoga Community College, and Ohio University; and reviewed upcoming trainings for Ohio Reach connected campuses. The Board discussed exploring the possibility of holding the Fostering Pathways to Success Conference at Cedar Point in August to celebrate Ohio Reach's tenth anniversary. The Board will meet next on Apr. 6.

Rules update
5101:2-1-01, Children services definitions of terms, is currently in pre-clearance until Mar. 9. The definition of Adopted young adult and Substance exposed infant will be added to provide clarification. This will serve as a five year review for this rule. Visit http://ohiorulereview.org to comment.

5101:9-9-21 , County agency records retention, access and destruction rule, is currently in clearance until Feb. 15. This rule is being amended to align with changes to Chapters 5101. and 6301. of the Revised Code. Review and comment here . If you have questions, contact Mary Wachtel, mary@pcsao.org .
Announcements and Resources

Family First Prevention Services Act signed into law
The Family First Prevention Services Act has been signed into law as part of the bipartisan government spending bill. While an analysis is not yet available, national partners report the following highlights:
  • Kinship Navigator Programs: provides partial government funding to help states that elect to offer kinship navigator programs.
  • Prevention Services: provides support for up to 12 months of services to children, birth parents and caregivers of children who are at risk of entering the foster care system. Services include mental health, substance use treatment and prevention services, and in-home skill-based services.
  • Licensing Relatives: helps address barriers to licensing relatives as foster parents to help more children and kinship caregivers get the full range of supports and services that traditional unrelated foster parents and children receive.
The legislation also does a number of things to prioritize families for children over group care unless the group setting is short-term, quality and treatment-oriented. It requires a number of quality improvements to residential treatment settings for children. It includes provisions to reduce the amount of time it takes to help children in foster care move across state lines to permanent families, and it extends and makes improvements to a number of other child welfare programs. The text of the bill can be read on approximately page 424 of the CR here.

24th Annual Eastern Ohio Leadership Conference
The East Central and Southeast Ohio Regional Training Centers, together with the ODJFS Akron Field Office, will be presenting the 24th Annual Eastern Ohio Leadership Conference, “Spectrum of Learning Opportunities for Today’s Leaders,” on Mar. 21, 22, and 23, at the Carlisle Inn in Sugarcreek. This conference will focus on the current issues and challenges that face the leaders of today. The brochure can be accessed here . Refer to Page 8 of the brochure for information on the room block which will be held until Feb. 21. To give them ample time to prepare for your learning experience, they ask that you please register no later than Mar. 12. There is no registration fee to attend this conference. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Darla Zajack at Darla.Zajack@jfs.ohio.gov or by phone at 740.432.2355, Ext. 252.

Ohio Family Care Association 2018 Annual Spring Conference
Join OFCA for their 42nd resource family conference Jun. 8-9! Attended by over 200 foster, adoptive, kinship, respite, primary birth families and child welfare professionals, OFCA's annual conference is designed to connect, educate and build meaningful collaborations between people who share similar experiences. Join them for this 2 day exchange of ideas, thoughts and information! Click here for more conference details.
Child Protection in the News

Recovering people with addictions will need jobs after sobriety. According to a report by the Public Children’s Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO), within one year of recovery from opiates, 85 percent will relapse. Is there a plan for relapse prevention? How does relapse affect employment? There is more work to be done in Appalachia Ohio.

Mansfield is joining more than 200 other cities across the country in a national civil suit against pharmaceutical companies that manufactured and distributed opioids.

Ohio has launched a program to help young adults who have aged out of the foster care system make the transition to living independently.

As Ohio's drug-addiction crisis continues, the state is trying new approaches to help the children caught up in it. The problem is that more than 15,500 children were in county custody statewide last year, including some who had watched their parents overdose or die. But there are only 7,200 foster homes, according to a report issued in December by the Public Children Services Association of Ohio.
Upcoming Events

Feb. 21 | Ohio START Steering Committee Meeting
Feb. 23 | Permanency Roundtables Advisory Council

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.

Quote of the Week

"Children make your life important." 
 — Erma Bombeck  
Public Children Services Association of Ohio | 614-224-5802 | www.pcsao.org