A quick rundown of Ohio child protection news this week
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Weekly Update for January 8, 2018
Association Updates

Board of Trustees kicks off new year  
The PCSAO Board of Trustees held its first meeting Jan. 3 and welcomed the new Vice President, Kathi Spirk, Clinton County JFS, new board member, Patty Harrelson, Richland County Children Services, and new ex officio member, Jerry Coleman, Stark County JFS and PCSAO Legislative Committee Chair. The board reviewed and approved the December Treasurer’s Report, the 2018 budget, and service contracts for the year. The board discussed the Department of Administrative Services Electronic Document Management Service proposal for child protective services, the recent press release, and pending legislation. The Board of Trustees will meet next on Feb. 7. 

2018 PCSAO Annual Conference: Sept. 19-21
Save the date! The 2018 PCSAO Annual Conference will be Sept. 19-21 at DoubleTree Hotel in Columbus. The conference will provide attendees with a prime opportunity to reconnect with child welfare professionals across the state. The conference will build on learning and sharing up-to-date information and best practices. Stay tuned for more details. Check out the highlights from our last year’s conference .

PCSAO gears up for human trafficking work, still accepting job applications
PCSAO staff participated in an orientation hosted by the Office of Criminal Justice Services Dec. 20 to learn more about the new three-year federal grant that will support a new staff position at PCSAO. The deadline to apply for the position, which is wholly grant supported, is Jan. 9 (tomorrow). Learn more . The grant funding will allow PCSAO to offer education and support to PCSAs on the issue of human trafficking, with the goal of getting better outcomes for trafficked children who come into agency care and of preventing emancipating youth from becoming trafficked. The grant involves close coordination with state anti-trafficking efforts, the Department of Youth Services, and Children’s Advocacy Centers. 

Foster Care Advisory Group examines recruitment ideas, offers draft recommendations
Stakeholders in the Foster Care Advisory Group led by ODJFS met Jan. 3. PCSAO’s Scott Britton led presentations on foster caregiver recruitment efforts such as the Community Education Committee’s Recruitment Guide  and statewide marketing efforts. Other presentations included provider efforts to recruit treatment caregivers, resources at AdoptUSKids, new data on foster home placements, and ODJFS updates to MEPA and recruitment plans. Initial recommendations were reviewed in part. The advisory group meets again Feb. 7 to discuss supports for children impacted by the opioid epidemic; a final report must be submitted to the legislature by May 1. 

Community Education Committee releases updated levy guide
Putting a levy on the ballot in 2018? PCSAO’s Community Education Committee is pleased to share its newly updated Levy Campaign Guide . The expanded guide contains helpful information whether you are venturing into your first campaign or you are a veteran. Also at the committee’s Jan. 5 meeting, the group discussed plans for April’s Child Abuse Prevention Month and Wear Blue (April 11). The committee meets next via conference call Feb. 2.

HOPE 2017 accomplishments
In the spirit of the season, HOPE parent partners were asked to identify the top accomplishments of the HOPE program in 2017. HOPE is currently active in Athens, Cuyahoga, Montgomery, Richland, Stark and Trumbull counties. HOPE is supported with Casey Family Programs funding and through PCSAO and ODJFS. The notable accomplishments included program activities on both the state and local levels as well as personal accomplishments. Learn more .
Announcements and Resources

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of exploitation for commercial gain, and is happening here in Ohio. A preliminary report on the scope of the problem in Ohio cited nine out of 10 children who run away from home end up in the child sex trafficking business. The most common age in Ohio for youths to become child sex trafficking victims is 13 years old. To raise statewide awareness, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force have created messaging and visuals available for Ohio districts and schools. Please visit the link below for additional information, fact sheets and posters on human trafficking. Learn more

Fifth Trauma-Informed Care Summit 
Plans are well underway for the fifth Trauma-Informed Care Summit. Please save the date, May 22-23 at Residence Inn by Marriott in Columbus. Registration will be available in February. 

2018 Addiction Studies Institute: Call for presentations
The 2018 Addiction Studies Institute is accepting proposals. Presenters should have experience or the ability to present to a diverse national audience. The deadline for submission is Jan. 19. Submit your proposal today .  
Child Protection in the News
Jan. 3 – Clark County to recruit relatives, foster families due to drug crisis (Includes video) – Springfield News-Sun
Clark County is one of eight Ohio counties hard hit by the opioid crisis that have been chosen to participate in a pilot program to recruit more relatives and foster families to care for children in need.

Jan. 3 – Fund seeks to help counties pay bills, fight opioid abuse – The Morning Journey News
A veteran Ohio politician called on Wednesday for the creation of a special state fund to help counties boost employment, fight opioid abuse and cover basic expenses. 

The number of children in Ohio’s foster care system is on the rise due to the growing opioid epidemic. Over the holidays there were a thousand more children placed into the system than in 2016. 

Dec. 31 – Opioid crisis breaks records – Warren Tribune Chronicle
More than 100 dead from accidental drug overdoses hasn’t been the only effect of another record-setting year in the trenches of the opioid epidemic in Trumbull County.

It’s no secret the opioid epidemic has put a strain on children services departments throughout Ohio. Lake County voters should be well aware of the problem. 

Dec. 27 – Opioid fallout – The Courier
The response to Ohio’s opioid problems can’t be just about helping adults face their addictions. Communities must also make sure the innocent victims of the epidemic aren’t forgotten.

Volunteers place 1,240 handmade pinwheels in front of Athens County Children Services along East State Street in 2016. ... One of the many ways the opioid epidemic has negatively impacted Ohio is by increasing the amount of children in the state's foster care system, a new report has found.

A tsunami of opioid-affected children is flooding Ohio’s children services agencies, exploding county budgets and overwhelming available foster care resources.

Dec. 26 – Opioid crisis straining local, state child welfare system – Ashland Times Gazette
The opioid epidemic is impacting the child welfare system locally and across Ohio with more children in custody than ever before. Ashland County has seen almost double the number of children in custody in 2017 compared to the same time last year, Department of Job and Family Services social services administrator Jana Carroll said Friday. 

On this Christmas Day, the opioid epidemic casts a shadow. In part, that is timing. On Thursday, the National Centers for Health Statistics released numbers detailing the toll in 2016, nationally 63,632 people dying from drug overdoses, at a rate of nearly 20 per 100,000 people.

Dec. 22 - Angela Sausser: Ohio children as casualties of the opioid epidemic (Commentary) – Akron Beacon 
A tsunami of opioid-affected children is flooding Ohio's children services agencies, exploding county budgets and overwhelming available foster care resources. Compared to 2016, a thousand more Ohio kids will be spending the holidays in foster care this year, instead of at home with their family. 

More than 15,500 children are in the custody of Ohio's children service agencies, a 23 percent increase over 2016, according to the latest data from the Public Children Protective Services Association of Ohio, a Columbus-based nonprofit. Report: The Opioid Epidemic's Impact on Children's Services in Ohio 

Dec. 22 – Report: More Ohio children in foster care – Tiffin Advertise Tribune
According to a Public Children Services Association of Ohio report, 1,000 more Ohio children are expected to spend the holidays in foster care compared to figures from 2016.

The number of Ohio children neglected because of parental drug use is swelling foster care rolls and straining county children services agency budgets, according to a new report. 

The growing number of Ohio children neglected because of parental drug use is straining county children services agencies, according to a new report.

More Lucas County children are in foster care now than at this time last year, and child-welfare officials worry the number of children in need soon will outpace the capacity of foster homes available to take them in.

A new report says opioids are overwhelming Ohio's foster care system saying a thousand more kids will spend Christmas in foster care compared to last year. Fostering is tough, especially during the holidays when family time is treasured.

A local initiative to connect children in foster care with their relatives is getting a boost from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Stark is one of eight counties hit by the opioid crisis that has been selected for a pilot program funded by a $1 million grant from the Attorney General and run by Waiting Child Fund, a Cleveland-based not-for-profit organization. 

The opioid crisis is overwhelming Ohio's foster care system as record numbers of children are removed from the homes of drug-addicted parents, the state's children service advocacy group said Thursday.

"In 2015, two years ago we had about 50 percent of the children in foster care primarily because of their parents substance use," said Angela Sausser, the Executive Director of Public Children Services Association of Ohio. Children are also falling victim to the crisis. Sausser says in a few years ...

We could have 20,000 children in custody by 2020, and we could be spending more than half a billion dollars in placement costs," said Scott Britton, assistant director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. "

Dec. 21 –  Ohio child advocates: Opioid crisis straining foster care - Youngstown Vindicator 
Child advocates say the opioid crisis is overwhelming Ohio’s foster care system as more and more children are removed from the homes of drug-addicted parents.

Summit and Stark counties will participate in a new state program designed to recruit more foster families. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that eight counties that have been hard hit by the opioid epidemic will take part in the Foster Care Recruitment Program.

Clark and Montgomery counties will participate in a new pilot program to recruit foster families, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office. Eight counties particularly hard-hit by the opioid addiction crisis were selected for the program, which will be funded by a $1-million grant. 

The year-long “Protecting Our Children” series published by The Daily Item and Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. newspapers in Pennsylvania and Ohio has helped bring awareness to the needs of children and child welfare workers tasked with ensuring their safety, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said.
Upcoming Events

Jan. 10 | Ohio START Steering Committee Meeting
Jan. 11 | Rules Review Committee Meeting
Jan. 12 | Conference Planning Committee Meeting

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

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”  
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Public Children Services Association of Ohio | 614-224-5802 | www.pcsao.org