Weekly Update: February 22, 2021
Association News
HB 8 workgroup examines training for resource families
As required preservice training hours for foster and kin caregivers are reduced in line with the Family First Act and other reform efforts, ODJFS has convened a diverse stakeholder group to recommend new training content and requirements. Established in response to passage of HB 8 in the last session, the group met for the second time Feb. 18 to review the Foster Care Advisory Group report from 2018, discuss research related to training for resource families, and brainstorm content areas. The group will meet biweekly and conclude its work in April.

Metro counties discuss communities of support grants, kinship program
PCSAO’s metro counties held their bi-weekly check-in call Feb. 18. Topics included the communities of support grants, including whether counties are applying for them and how they will use them. Counties also discussed notification to families about Ohio’s new Kinship Support Program, the number of families impacted and the potential impact on individual counties. PCSAO district and policy updates were also provided. The next meeting is March 18. 
Ohio START
Foundations 1 training offered
Children and Family Futures and Ohio START provided a one-day virtual “Foundations 1” training on Feb. 16 to Cohort 4 counties and any staff from other cohorts who may have missed prior offerings. This training serves as an introduction to the START model and included opportunities for participants to discuss implementing the essential components of START in their community. 
State and Federal Updates
State updates
Gov. Mike DeWine made the following announcements this week:
  • This week, vaccine eligibility opened up to Ohioans with high-risk medical conditions. Following reports of individuals with these conditions being denied vaccination appointments, particularly those with cystic fibrosis, the governor stressed that vaccine providers should vaccinate those of any age with any of the high-risk conditions.
  • Gov. DeWine asked vaccine providers to collect and report accurate data on vaccine administrations including race, ethnicity, age, and category of eligibility. This information is critical to understanding vaccination rates among specific communities or occupations and also helps inform future policy and allocation decisions.
  • Ohio launched its COVID-19 Vaccine Maintenance Program for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Each month, facilities can host a vaccine clinic for residents and staff if there is the need for vaccinations. The program ensures that vaccinations in long-term care facilities continue for new residents and staff or current residents and staff who have now decided to be vaccinated.
  • Gov. DeWine has assembled a team of doctors and nurses to develop a plan for safe nursing home visitation. Ohio's existing visitation order does allow compassionate care visits. The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is available to assist individuals with questions about compassionate care visits. The office can be reached at OhioOmbudsman@age.ohio.gov or 1-800-282-1206.
  • Gov. DeWine announced that Ohio's centralized scheduling website has been created, and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is working with vaccine providers to enroll them in the system. The website will serve as a single location for Ohioans to confirm that they are eligible to be vaccinated, identify nearby providers, and schedule their vaccine appointment
  • Due to severe weather across Ohio and the country, both Pfizer and Moderna have advised that direct vaccine shipments to providers may be delayed one to two days. 

Cornyn, Burre accept new roles
Gov. DeWine announced that LeeAnne Cornyn, director of children’s initiatives, will become director of cabinet affairs, and that Kristi Burre will become the director of children’s initiatives effective Feb. 22. We join the governor and ODJFS in congratulating both of them, and look forward to continuing to partner with them in their new roles. 

Federal updates
The U.S. House is considering another COVID relief bill. The bill would distribute another $1.9 trillion in federal relief. Read a summary here.
Rules Update
Pre-Clearance: As of Feb. 19, there are no children services-related rules in Pre-Clearance.
 
Clearance: As of Feb. 19, 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 March 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
Resources

Ohio Department of Health to hold COVID town halls 
The Ohio Department of Health will hold four COVID-19 town hall meetings next week geared toward Ohioans who are African-American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian-American or Pacific Islanders, or who live in rural areas. Find more information here.

OSU Family Engagement Center offers series for kinship caregivers
The Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center is offering a three-part series for grandparents and other kinship caregivers devoted to building connections with educators, local resources, family, and friends in their community. The series begins Feb. 25 and will be held once a month from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Register here.

American Bar Association offers Family First resources
The American Bar Association’s Center for Children and the Law has developed resources to help legal practitioners implement the Family First Prevention Services Act. Check out Family First Act resources here. The ABA is also offering a webinar about the material called “Achieving the Family First Act’s Goals: A New Implementation Tool” on March 3 from 3-4 p.m. Register here.

Congregate care in the time of Family First resources
The Capacity Building Center for the States has developed a collection of resources on congregate care in the time of Family First, including an overview, family engagement and trauma-informed care. View the resources here.

Foster Fit matches kids in care with CrossFit facilities
Foster Fit is a nonprofit that is looking to match kids with CrossFit gyms and pay for their scholarships. Its mission is for every foster child to have strong physical health, avoid the rising obesity epidemic for kids and teens, and have access to consistent activities. CrossFit provides a consistent and nurturing community, which is proven to improve the mental and physical health of adolescent teens and adults. Foster Fit will provide kids and teens in foster care access to the same love and support members receive from the CrossFit community. Find more information here.

HPIO brief: Addressing ACEs could save $10 billion
Health Policy Institute of Ohio's new policy brief found that addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) could save $10 billion in healthcare and related spending. Focusing action on specific ACEs related to behavioral health could yield substantial savings. Read the brief here.
Child Protection in the News
When children need emergency surgery or face a chronic physical condition, they can usually get the medical treatment they need through their family’s private or Medicaid insurance, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But when young people sink into a deep depression, act out violently or harm themselves, treatment options are limited.

A local child advocacy organization is experiencing an uptick in referrals after a shooting left two young children dead and a third fighting for his life. The Family & Child Abuse Prevention Center (FCAPC) has received so many calls lately that the CEO is speaking out about how people can help children. Dr. Christie Jenkins, CEO of FCAPC says people have been deeply affected by the tragedy of what happened to the Phillips children.

Work to reform foster care in Ohio is getting a boost from a new federal law.
The Family First Prevention Services Act will be implemented this fall. It changes how federal dollars for foster care are spent. Rob Myers, deputy director for Stark County Children Services, explained counties will be partially reimbursed for using evidence-based prevention interventions that prioritize keeping families together.
 
The pandemic has upended many aspects of life, but experts say it shouldn't stop Ohio families from continuing regular dental visits. According to state data, almost one in four Ohio kids have experienced tooth decay by age five. Oral Health Ohio will release its State Oral Health Plan on Feb. 26, which will address the oral health needs and challenges for all Ohioans.
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive for all families and also for the organizations looking to help add to families. The local foster care system continues to place children in homes either temporarily or permanently. Local foster care agencies have had to make adjustments to their operations to help keep foster families and CASAs, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, safe during the pandemic.
 
Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz said overdose deaths through the first three quarters of 2020 outpaced the previous year by 45%. The data, released Friday, shows that the number of overdose deaths through Sept. 30, 2020, 614 people died in Franklin County from a drug overdose. Information on the last three months of the year has not yet been finalized. 

The death of 10-year-old Takoda Collins of Dayton in 2019 has prompted the introduction of a reform plan by a pair of Miami Valley state lawmakers. Hearings on the proposal, House Bill 4, started this week. Collins was severely abused and that abuse was reported to authorities multiple times, but it was not enough to save him.
Calendar and Job Postings
Feb. 22 | Legislative Committee Meeting
Feb. 24 | Ohio START Leadership Council Meeting
Mar. 4 | Executive Membership Meeting

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

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