A quick rundown of Ohio child protection news this week
Weekly Update for July 27, 2020
Association Updates

Updates from Gov. DeWine
The governor made the following announcements last week:
  • Gov. DeWine issued a statewide mask order requiring that masks be worn at indoor locations that are not a residence, outdoors where people are not able to maintain a six-foot distance from others, and waiting for, driving, operating or riding public transit or a ride-share service. You can read the order here.
  • Gov. DeWine issued a travel advisory for all individuals coming into Ohio from states reporting positive COVID-19 testing rates of 15 percent or higher. Those traveling from one of those states should self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel. The self-quarantine recommendation applies to those who live in Ohio and to people who are traveling into Ohio from any of these states.
  • Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced the next steps in Ohio’s plans to expand broadband access across the state. Ohio issued a request for information (RFI). Companies will need to provide the specific equipment they have available, number of units available, price, and amount of time it would take to implement an order. This RFI will be specific to K-12 plans and will be housed in a single location, giving every school district a chance to compare what is available and make the best decision for their district and their students.
  • Additionally, pending Controlling Board approval, schools can apply for a dollar-to-dollar matching grant program with the state for hotspots, in-home internet, and internet-enabled devices for students. This funding will be facilitated through the federal CARES Act and will total $50 million. Schools will have the flexibility to use the funding through a connectivity plan that makes the most sense for their student population and district.
For the latest information from the state, visit the  coronavirus.ohio.gov page.

Federal children services updates from NACHSA
The National Association of County Human Services Administrators, of which PCSAO is a member, provides federal updates on human services issues. Relevant children services updates:
  • The House and Senate have both returned to Washington for what is likely to be an intense two to three weeks focused on developing another package of provisions responding to COVID-19. The House passed an expansive coronavirus response package in May (HEROES Act, HR 6800). The Senate is expected to release the outlines of its package this week. State and local fiscal relief is the centerpiece of the House measure, including $187.5 billion allocated to all counties based on a county’s relative share of the national population. The Senate is expected to focus on coronavirus liability protections and provisions to re-open schools. There will likely be an energetic debate on whether or not to include another round of stimulus payments to individuals and whether to extend or modify the extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits expiring July 31.
  • Earlier this month, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act (S. 4172). Co-sponsored by Sens. Harris (D-CA), Casey (D-PA), and Cortez Masto (D-NV), and supported by NACHSA, the bill would provide flexible emergency aid for key child welfare programs working to support children, youth, and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • NACHSA joined the National Governors Association, NACo and many other national and state organizations on a letter urging the House and Senate to boost the federal match for Medicaid services and IV-E foster care from the 6.2 percentage points enacted earlier this year to 12 percentage points. The HEROES Act would boost the federal contribution by 14 percentage points.
PCSAO Board President Retires

Kathi Spirk to retire Friday

Kathi Spirk, PCSAO Board President and director of Clinton County JFS, is retiring July 31. Spirk worked at Clinton County JFS for over 33 years and has served as director since 2013. As a quadruple-combined agency, she has been responsible for leading Clinton County’s public assistance, workforce development, unemployment insurance, child and adult protective services, adoption, child care, and child support programs. Spirk was elected to the PCSAO Board of Trustees in 2016, become vice president in 2018, and has served as president since 2019. During her tenure, she:
  • Led PCSAO through the SFY20-21 budget process where children services received an unprecedented investment;
  • Strengthened the association including now representing all county PCSAs;
  • Expanded Ohio START to serve 46 counties;
  • Released the 2019 Factbook;
  • Updated our Children’s Continuum of Care Reform plan including the recently issued report on developing a Tiered Treatment Foster Care network; and
  • Navigated the challenges and issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
PCSAO sincerely appreciates Spirk for her commitment and dedication to the association and to Ohio’s children, families, and county PCSAs. She will be greatly missed, but we wish her much-deserved enjoyment and relaxation in her retirement. 
PCSAO Conference 2020

Become a sponsor!
The PCSAO annual conference, Partners in Progress, will be a polished virtual event produced by Mills James Productions. Our conference offers the opportunity to reach more than 500 children services professionals across the state. Our audience includes child protection caseworkers, supervisors, administrators, attorneys, directors, students and advocates. United Healthcare is our 40th Anniversary Sponsor. Visit our sponsorship page for more information.
Rules Updates

Pre-Clearance: As of July 24, there are no children services-related rules in pre-clearance.

  • Rule 5101:2-39-03 - Emergency removal of a child from substitute care placement . Five-year review with no resulting changes. Comments open until Aug. 6.
  • Rule 5101:2-38-08 - Child’s education and health information. Five-year review with some proposed changes to clarify that the case record is SACWIS and that documentation and forms are completed in SACWIS. Comments open until Aug. 7.
Filed with JCARR: The following rules were final-filed on July 20 with an effective date of Aug. 1:
Announcements and Resources

Kirwan Institute offers webinar series on race
The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University is offering a series of free Zoom webinars on race and racism. This next one is July 30 at 11 a.m. The webinars are held every other Thursday for an extended period.  Register here.
Child Protection in the News

The Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority (KMHA) and Knox County Children and Family Services are partnering together to help these youths avoid homelessness and put them on the path to self-sufficiency. The Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) tenant protection voucher aims to give them a leg up by providing a rent subsidy and supportive services for three years.

July 21 - Ohio drug overdose deaths back on rise - Columbus Dispatch 
Fatal drug overdoses are rising again in Ohio just a year after the state’s first decline in nine years as the opioid crisis tore through the state.

Difficulty finding foster homes has forced Montgomery County Children Services to house children overnight in the agency’s offices — a practice criticized in other counties, a Dayton Daily News investigation found. 
Profiles of Hope and Courage:
Children Services in the Era of COVID-19

Gena: 'I have an extreme passion for this'
Gena has been working in child protection for over 20 years, all of it in Butler County. She has a variety of experience, including working as an intake caseworker, an ongoing caseworker, quality assurance, adoption and training. She currently works as a permanency roundtables coordinator, a job she has held for three years. The Youth-Centered Permanency Roundtables program was developed several years ago because so many older youth were in foster care for long periods of time. With permanency roundtables, or PRTs, youth are at the center of the meeting.

“They are the best resources for permanency. They know who they are drawn to, who they are comfortable with,” Gena explained.

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.
Upcoming Events

Aug. 5 | Board of Trustees Meeting
Aug. 7 | Community Education Committee Meeting
Aug. 12 | Ohio START Summit
Aug. 14 | Conference Planning Committee Meeting

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

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 .

Also, check out recent graduates of the University Partnership Program who are trained and ready to be hired by public agencies.
Public Children Services Association of Ohio | 614-224-5802 | www.pcsao.org