Association News
Weekly Update: July 18, 2022
Conference registration opens for members
PCSAO conference registration is now open to member agencies!
Staff of PCSAO member agencies are invited to register for the 2022 PCSAO Annual Conference: As Our World Turns. Access to early registration is exclusive to members. The general public will have the opportunity to register when registration is fully opened on Aug. 1. Read about the conference agenda, keynote speakers, awards, sponsors, and more on our conference webpage. Register here.
PCSAO welcomes new staff
Anisha Varatharajah joined the PCSAO staff July 11 as communications and policy coordinator. She will support digital communications – including this Weekly Update as well as social media – and assist with Ohio START and public policy research and advocacy. Anisha graduated with her Master of Social Work and brings experience as an associate foster care social worker, she also has a background in domestic violence policy. Welcome, Anisha! She can be reached at
County transitions in Harrison, Pickaway, Warren
Scott Blackburn is retiring as longtime director of Harrison County JFS; Assistant Director Deb Knight will succeed him. Nick Tatman has taken over as director of Pickaway County JFS following Joy Ewing’s departure to oversee the county’s Metropolitan Housing Authority. Also, Shawna Jones, who had been serving as interim director of Warren County Children Services, was officially named director. Many thanks to Scott and Joy for their service to Ohio's children and families, and we look forward to working with Deb, Nick, and Shawna in their new roles.
ODJFS makes $15 million available for county frontline workforce
Responding to the unprecedented workforce crisis in children services, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is making $15 million available to county agencies to recruit and retain frontline staff. Funding will be administered by PCSAO and is available by allocation for a flexible menu of interventions through June 30, 2023. PCSAO Executive Director Angela Sausser expressed gratitude to Gov. Mike DeWine and ODJFS Director Matt Damschroder for responding to the crisis with evidence-based interventions that will help county agencies compete with the private sector. "We appreciate the administration's action to provide counties with new tools for recruiting and retaining these essential workers," she said. Read more about the menu of interventions.
PCSAO Rules Committee meets
The PCSAO Rules Committee met on July 7. ODJFS staff discussed proposed changes to the case plan rules regarding new concurrent planning requirements included in HB 110 (the biennial budget bill) that will be effective as of January 2023, as well as KGAP case pan requirements. The committee next meets on Sept. 1. 
Race Equity Community of Practice selects interventions
The 10 county agencies participating in PCSAO's Race Equity Community of Practice met July 14. Based on survey results and consultation with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, county teams selected a variety of policy and practice areas for focus, including staff training, policy review, and community partner engagement. The initiative is supported with funding from Casey Family Programs and meets next on Aug. 11.

East Central District meets
Directors and senior leaders from the East Central District met July 15 in-person in Coshocton. Discussion included QRTP and CANS issues, HB 4 and law enforcement reporting, and the new workforce grant along with current workforce challenges. The district meets next Oct. 21.
PCSAO seeks Initiatives Coordinator
PCSAO is seeking a full-time Initiatives Coordinator to manage grant-related projects and coordinate strategic initiatives that advance children services practice as identified in the Association’s strategic plan. PCSAO is a friendly, collegial team that values diversity. To apply, review the job description for duties and qualifications; submit a cover letter and résumé through the application portal. Applications will be reviewed and interviews scheduled on a rolling basis until the position is filled.
Ohio START team attends coaching session
Last week Ohio START teams attended a quarterly coaching session about developing community partnerships and MOUs. Cross-system collaboration is a critical element of the Ohio START model. Families experiencing substance use disorder (SUD) and child maltreatment benefit from quick access to SUD assessments and intensive treatment services. In addition to ensuring quick access to care, the Ohio START teams engage with clinicians to facilitate a continuous exchange of essential information.
Rules Update
Pre-Clearance: As of July 15, there are no children services-related rules in pre-clearance.

Clearance: The following rules are open for comments until July 25:  
Note: Three amended and two new OAC rules are related to licensing of Children’s Crisis Care Facilities, Residential Infant Care Centers, and Family Preservation Centers. These rules have been amended and developed in accordance with new requirements resulting from Sub. HB 265. 
  • Rule 5101:2-1-01 - New definitions to the Children Services Definitions of Terms. (Note: The amendment to this rule includes two new definitions, Family Preservation Center and Residential Infant Care Center, along with a reference correction for the definition of relative.) 
  • Rule 5101:2-5-03 - Guidance on foster care certifications from ODJFS.  
  • Rule 5101:2-9-36 - Requirements for children’s crisis care facilities with the primary purpose of residential care for pre-teens.  
  • Rule 5101:2-9-43 - Requirements for residential services for infants affected by substance use.  
  • Rule 5101:2-9-44 - Requirements for new certificate for licensed children’s crisis care facility.  

Filed with JCARR:
Annual Conference
Registration is now open for members!
Conference registration is now open to PCSAO member agencies and will open to the general public on Aug. 1.

About the 2022 conference
PCSAO is holding its 37th annual conference Monday through Wednesday, Sept. 19-21 at the Hilton Easton. Our theme, “As Our World Turns,” recognizes that the children services field is in the midst of many changes and it can feel like we are spinning so fast, we can’t slow down. At the same time, the theme employs lighthearted humor around soap operas. Thank you to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services for serving as our first-ever conference partner. 

Read about the conference agenda, keynote speakers, awards, sponsors, and more on our conference webpage.

Become a sponsor!
The PCSAO Annual Conference is an opportunity to network with more than 500 children services professionals across Ohio. See our sponsorship flyer for more information regarding sponsorship levels and benefits. See a preview of the application here. Ready to become a sponsor? Complete this form. Sponsorship closes Sept. 1.

Thanks to our World Champion Sponsor
Resources and Clips
Resources and Opportunities
Adoption, resource home assessor program available
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services in partnership with Adopt America Network has created the Adoption and Resource Home Assessor Program (ARHAP). ARHAP's goal is to facilitate the assessments of homes for the purposes of placing children in foster, adoptive, or kinship placements. In this way, ARHAP aims to assist Title IV-E juvenile courts, private child placing agencies, and public children service agencies in finding suitable homes for children living in out-of-home placements. During the 2023 fiscal year, ODJFS will cover the assessor costs of up to 800 home studies and 700 kinship assessments through ARHAP. More information about this program can be found on this website.

988 launched as new mental health emergency support
On July 16, the United States transitioned to 988—the new number to reach the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. To assist in the effort, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has created print files for wallet cards, magnets, and posters in its 988 Partner Toolkit. The toolkit already includes logo and brand guidelines, key messages, frequently asked questions, fact sheets (English and Spanish), radio PSA scripts (English and Spanish), and more.
Child Protection in the News
Calling on new court volunteers to keep hope as they investigate cases and make recommendations, a juvenile court judge Thursday swore in 10 advocates for abused and neglected children.

The Wood County Protective Services Unit, a division of the Department of Job and Family Services, will receive $110,576 in incentive funding from the state of Ohio. The incentive funding is being given to 58 counties that met 95% compliance or more in two critical practice areas. 

NewPath Child & Family Solutions (formerly St. Joseph Orphanage) is seeking a partnering apartment complex and financial investments by this November to relocate at-risk youth participating in their Independent Living Services (ILS) Program.

Children in foster care need a spokesperson. Will you be their voice? Judge Brett Spencer recognized the need of the over 200 children in the system and has initiated plans for an Adams County CASA program. In May, Judge Spencer met with Scioto County Juvenile Court Judge Alan Lemons and his court staff. That meeting led to a recent discussion with Cortney Reiser, Executive Director of Scioto County Juvenile Court CASA Program, about implementing this program locally.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that helps more than 39 million people avoid food insecurity has an unexpected benefit – it may help prevent child maltreatment.
Since March 2020, U.S. Department of Agriculture waivers have allowed schools to serve meals at no cost to all children, regardless of income. The waivers expired at the end of the school year. Katherine Ungar, policy associate for the Children's Defense Fund of Ohio, said it means an estimated 1.4 million Ohio children will lose access to free school meals. The Hunger-Free Schools Ohio Coalition is calling on state leaders to use funding from the American Rescue Plan or other sources to supplement the cost of providing school meals for districts.

July 9 - Foster Parents needed in Allen County -
The top two reasons they are in need are parental domestic violence and drug abuse.
The system is full. There are 39 children placed in 18 foster homes.
That’s why Children Services hosted ‘Fostering the Future: Your Road to Foster Parenting Starts Here,’ an informational session for anyone who has ever considered becoming a foster parent.
Stark County is part of a new community-based, Medicaid-funded program designed to help families and providers form a holistic plan for children with serious mental health needs. The program created by the Jefferson County Educational Service Center, which is based in Steubenville, has received $1.11 million in start-up funds from the OhioRISE initiative (Resilience through Integrated Systems and Excellence.). OhioRISE is the state's first highly integrated care program for youth with complex behavioral health and multi-system needs.
The Wood County Protective Services Unit, a division of the Department of Job and Family Services, will receive $110,576 in incentive funding from the state of Ohio. The incentive funding is being given to 58 counties that met 95% compliance or more in two critical practice areas. 
Calendar and Job Postings
July 21 | Northwest District Meeting
July 22 | Conference Committee Meeting
July 25 | Southeast District Meeting
July 25 | Northeast District Meeting

Note: Some meetings are being held via web and others in-person.
View the full calendar for details.
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