Weekly Update: February 16, 2021
Association News
Associations offer human services orientation to legislators
PCSAO joined with sister associations Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association and Ohio Child Support Enforcement Agency Directors’ Association to present an overview of Ohio’s county-administered human services system to members of the Ohio General Assembly Feb. 8. With newly elected and veteran legislators taking up the biennial budget and making funding and policy decisions, an understanding of how child and adult protective services, child support, income maintenance, nutrition assistance and other essential services are delivered is critical for representatives, senators and their aides. 

OCWTP Steering Committee meets
The Ohio Child Welfare Training Program State Steering Committee met Feb. 10 to discuss the HB 8 workgroup on resource family preservice and ongoing training, the national workforce research project, and the annual report. The committee meets next on March 10.

Rules Committee meets
The PCSAO Rules Review Committee met Feb. 4. ODJFS staff joined to discuss rules currently in pre-clearance; Ch. 5101:2-38, case planning and review; Ch. 5101:2-39, removal of child from home; and Ch. 5101:2-47, Title IV-E foster care maintenance rules. The committee next meets on March 11. For more information, contact Mary Wachtel.
Ohio START welcomes Carly Mesnick
Ohio START is excited to announce that Carly Mesnick has joined the Ohio START team as the Behavioral Health Technical Assistance (TA) Consultant. Carly is a licensed clinical professional counselor with her supervision designation and has been working as a clinician and director of programs managing the treatment of trauma and co-occurring disorders for 15 years. Carly will focus her work with Ohio START on the behavioral health side of the program, offering technical assistance to the behavioral health partners and PCSAs.
Ohio START welcomes Kathi Spirk
Ohio START is also excited to announce that Kathi Spirk has joined the team as an Ohio START Coach and TA Consultant. She recently retired as the director of Clinton County Job and Family Services, one of the original pilot counties for the Ohio START program. She also served as a member of the PCSAO Board of Trustees from 2016-2020, most recently as president. Kathi will provide on-the-ground coaching to Ohio START teams focusing on Family Team Meetings and Motivational Interviewing.  
State and Federal Updates
State updates
Gov. Mike DeWine made the following announcements this week:

  • Gov. DeWine announced the end of Ohio's curfew.
  • Gov. DeWine announced that a total of 223,025 first doses of the vaccine are scheduled to arrive in Ohio the week of Feb. 15.The federal retail pharmacy program will soon begin allotting doses to Ohio's more than 160 Rite Aid pharmacies. Vaccine distribution will also expand into 194 Kroger pharmacies.
  • Those with high-risk medical conditions that put them at a very high risk of dying from COVID-19 will be eligible for vaccinations beginning Feb. 15.
  • Gov. DeWine asked school districts to work with their communities to help students advance and make up for any learning that may have been lost or delayed because of the pandemic. School districts should provide their plans to the public and General Assembly no later than April 1.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted highlighted a provision in the Executive Budget that guarantees student access to a computer science education. The “right to access” computer science classes would be defined as the statutory right of a student to be able to take a class either offered directly by their school district or through another provider of the student’s choice.
  • The Ohio Development Services Agency is now distributing $100 million in federal funding to help low-income Ohioans who do not own their own home pay their rent, water, sewer, wastewater, electric, gas, oil and/or trash removal bills. Eligible Ohio households must be at or below 80% of their county’s Area Median Income, have experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19, and demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
  • Gov. DeWine shared the latest information on the number of school districts that are physically in school (48%) versus those that are fully (12%) or partially (38%) remote.
Rules Update
Pre-Clearance: As of Feb. 12, there are no children services-related rules in Pre-Clearance.
Clearance: As of Feb. 12, there are no children services-related rules in Clearance.
Filed with JCARR: The following rule was original-filed on Feb. 8 with a hearing date of Mar. 17:
The following rules were final-filed on Feb. 9 with an effective date of March 1:
The following rule was revise-filed on Feb. 10 with a hearing date of March 10:
Resources and Clips

Webinar on cross-reporting of animal and human abuse
Case Western Reserve University’s Center on Trauma and Adversity is offering a free webinar on HB 33, which creates a system of cross-reporting of animal and human abuse and neglect, on Feb. 17 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. One CEU is available for the training. Find more information and register here.

Ohio Children's Trust Fund seeks input
As part of its strategic plan, the Ohio Children's Trust Fund is seeking input on how it can best increase its impact and support children and families moving forward. People interested in child well-being and child abuse prevention are invited to take an anonymous survey being administered by the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Ohio State University. The survey is open until Feb. 26 and takes about 15 minutes. Take the survey here

Ohio creates trauma certificate to help children, families
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, OhioMHAS, and the Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association have collaborated to offer a new online training certificate that will assist social service professionals, public assistance professionals, and early childhood professionals who work with children and families who have experienced trauma. The training is free, and the certificate will be effective for two years. It is a three-tier certificate and curriculum. Professionals can achieve proficiency in the following levels: Trauma Aware, Trauma Informed and Trauma Competent. Find more information here.

FYLaw offers Wells Conference March 24-26
The Family & Youth Law Center will host its 15th annual Wells Conference on Child Welfare and Adoption Law March 24-26. The conference will be a virtual event on Zoom for three hours each afternoon. The theme is “Child Welfare: Lessons Learned in 2020 for 2021 and Beyond.” Find more information here.

Columbus Scholar House 3 accepting applications from former foster youth
Columbus Scholar House is still accepting applications from 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, and view updates and photos of the amazing space here.
Child Protection in the News
Local adoption recruiters for the Wendy's Wonderful Kids program are celebrating 10,000 adoptions nationwide. The Dave Thomas Foundation started this program in 2004 to specifically focus on the hardest-to-place youth in foster care; teenagers, children with special needs and children with siblings. In Ohio, more than 1,200 of youth in this group were adopted over the last five years.

After aging out of foster care when he was 18, Jonathon Thomas was homeless for about a half-year, couch-surfing at his friends' homes.
The Ohio Department of Education has announced funding for educational service centers (ESC) to staff Family and Community Partnership Liaisons for the 2020-2021 school year. Approximately $3 million of federal CARES Act funding has been made available to fund Family and Community Partnership Liaisons in each of the 51 ESCs.
Gov. Mike DeWine’s $1 billion budget proposal could bring major financial assistance to issues facing the county, among them broadband, children’s services and substance abuse.
State Representatives Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) and Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) introduced House Bill 4 on Thursday. The legislation aims to address child services to prevent abuse cases from falling through the cracks. Plummer brought up the local case of 10-year-old Takoda Collins, who tragically died in 2019 after years of child abuse.
Stories of Hope and Courage
Deidre: 'I try to treat everyone with respect and dignity'

Deidre has worked at Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Families since 2002. She has had several roles with the agency, including the original START unit, adoption and extended services.

The best part, she says is “seeing a family come to me in one of their roughest spots in life and trust a caseworker enough to try to make some changes and make it work.”

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.
Calendar and Job Postings
Feb. 22 | Legislative Committee Meeting
Feb. 24 | Ohio START Leadership Council 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?