Weekly Update: March 15, 2021
Association News
PCSAO Executive Director Angela Sausser led joint testimony before the full House Finance Committee that included Danny Brenneman, executive director of Coshocton County Job and Family Services; Chip Spinning, executive director of Franklin County Children Services; and Sarah Hayden, an Ohio START family peer mentor at Warren County Children Services. They did a terrific job and were well received. Legislators expressed appreciation for the important work they do every day. Read their testimony here or watch a recording of testimony here, with PCSAO beginning at the 27:00 mark. Read more.

Conference Planning Committee meets
The Conference Planning Committee met on March 12. In light of the rapidly changing environment surrounding COVID restrictions, the committee is considering options with respect to an in-person or virtual conference. PCSAO will survey members about their willingness and ability to return to an in-person conference and reconvene on April 2.

OCWTP examines life after pandemic
The Ohio Child Welfare Training Program State Steering Committee met March 10, hearing updates from ODJFS, PCSAO, RTCs and the new training vendor, Ohio’s University Consortium for Child and Adult Services (OUCCAS). The group discussed future recommendations for the trainer conference and identified lessons learned during the pandemic as a first step in strategizing future direction for training staff and resource families. The next meeting is April 14.

JFS HRA answers employment questions
Many thanks to the Job and Family Services Human Resources Association, which met for its monthly Q&A March 9. Each meeting features expert advice from an employment attorney, answers to pressing questions about the pandemic and HR, and updates from stakeholders. JFS HRA has launched a new Teams site to answer questions between meetings and meets again April 13. 
Ohio START offers training
Children and Family Futures and Ohio START provided a one-day virtual “Foundations 4” training on March 10. This training explored the “nuts and bolts” of START practice throughout the life of a case, including key practices such as the cross-system collaboration necessary to deliver comprehensive family-centered services, increased oversight and monitoring, shared decision-making, and strategic information sharing. Ohio START will offer “Foundations 3” on March 17, which will cover treatment provider strategies within START that support behavioral health treatment and child welfare outcomes. Find more information about START trainings at ohiostart.org.
State Updates
ODJFS welcomes interim director
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Interim Director Matt Damschroder began his new job March 8 after Kimberly Henderson announced that she will be stepping down. Henderson will serve in an advisory capacity until May as she relocates to North Carolina. The state will launch a national search for a successor.

COVID-19 updates

  • In response to a significant increase in the amount of vaccine coming into Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine again expanded the individuals who are included in Phase 1D and Phase 2B of Ohio's vaccination plan, which went into effect March 11. Phase 1D includes approximately 197,000 eligible Ohioans with certain medical conditions not addressed in previous phases, including type 2 diabetes and end-stage renal disease. Phase 2B will open vaccinations based on age for Ohioans ages 50 and older. This group includes approximately 1.2 million eligible Ohioans. 
  • Gov. DeWine announced that Ohio's centralized scheduling website is now available at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. The website will serve as a singular location for Ohioans to confirm that they are eligible to be vaccinated, identify nearby providers, and schedule their vaccine appointments.
  • The Cleveland mass vaccination site, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will launch on March 17 at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center in downtown Cleveland. To schedule an appointment at the Cleveland mass vaccination site, or with a vaccination provider, visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.
  • The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) issued a revised order that allows for the reopening of all fair activities if certain health conditions are met. There will be a 25 percent maximum for indoor grandstand capacity and a 30 percent maximum for outdoor grandstand capacity. ODH will issue updated order and guidance regarding festivals, parades, proms, and spring sports. For spring sports, students will not be required to quarantine because they have an incidental exposure to COVID-19 in a classroom unless symptoms develop.
  • Gov. DeWine discussed the new federal regulations for nursing home visitation, as well as Ohio’s Vaccine Maintenance Program. The visitation guidelines, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, indicate visitation should be happening in nursing homes. Full information on the federal nursing home visitation guidance is available at cms.gov.
  • Gov. DeWine reported that four initiatives are making rapid COVID-19 tests more accessible to Ohioans: Federally Qualified Health Centers, local health departments, public libraries, and K-12 schools. Between libraries and local health departments, at-home testing is accessible in 76 of Ohio's 88 counties. Some of these areas had disproportionate access to testing earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rules Update
Pre-Clearance: The following rule is open for comments until March 26:
Clearance: The following rule is under five-year review and is open for comments until March 18:
The following rule is under five-year review and is open for comments until March 22:

Filed with JCARR: The following rule was original-filed on Feb. 8 with a hearing date of March 17:
The following rule was original-filed on Feb. 19 with a hearing date of March 30:
The following rules were original-filed on Feb. 24 with a hearing date of March 30:
  • Rule 5101:2-45-01 - Administration of the Title IV-E candidate for family first prevention services (FFPS) program.
  • Rule 5101:2-45-02 - Title IV-E candidate for family first prevention services (FFPS) program eligibility.
  • Rule 5101:2-45-03 - Reimbursement for Title IV-E candidate for family first prevention services (FFPS) program.
  • Rule 5101:2-45-04 - Traditional candidate for Title IV-E foster care.

The following rules were proposed for withdrawal:
  • Rule 5101:2-5-13 - Required agency policies and procedures. Note that this rule has been placed into pre-clearance until March 26 – see above.
  • Rule 5101:2-9-21 - Care, supervision and discipline.
Resources and Clips

Center of Excellence announcement
The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services announced that the Case Western Reserve University Center for Innovative Practices at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education, a part of the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences , has been awarded a two-year contract to coordinate a new statewide Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Center of Excellence. PCSAO is pleased to be part of this effort. Read more.

Statewide Trauma-Informed Care Summit registration opens
The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) will host the Eighth Annual Trauma-Informed Care Summit virtually May 18-19. This year’s theme is “Creating Environments of Resiliency and Hope: Trauma-Informed Care Inside a Pandemic.” Cost is $39. Click here to register.
Child Protection in the News
Human services groups that testified before the committee included the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, the Ohio Nurses Association, the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, the Children's Defense Fund of Ohio, the Ohio Provider Resources Association, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and a number of county children services agencies.

Ohio will create a statewide center which will offer support to child and adolescent behavioral health programs and agencies, including providing services to keep children out of foster care. Ohio's Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health "Center of Excellence" will offer training and technology and administrative services, including increased access to government support through telehealth. Multiple departments, including Job and Family Services and the Mental Health and Addiction Services, created the request for qualified contractors to help develop the center.
This has already been a time of tragedy and loss for so many. The recent news of small children dying in tragic circumstances, left our community reeling. How could this happen? How could children be left in an icy river? This kind of heartache is not new, but the vicious cycle of abuse and neglect can be broken. Every day, our passionate staff and committed volunteers at ProKids work tirelessly on behalf of Hamilton County's abused and neglected children - facing our children's trauma and helping them find a way forward. At ProKids, we provide training and support - flexible and online - to help these volunteers become Court Appointed Special Advocates.
As the community continues to mourn a Middletown boy believed to be murdered, leaders of a Cincinnati-area organization are hoping their trauma training program can help other kids in similar situations. Leaders of nonprofit Trauma Free World are inspired to help make a change wherever it is needed. The organization is made up of therapists and child welfare workers who offer trauma training. So far, they say they have trained people in 72 countries.
Montgomery County Children Services will host an online hiring event this week to attract new caseworkers to an agency that remains fraught with continual departures from jobs that are difficult under normal circumstances. "We've had massive turnover since 2019. That still has been part of the problem on top of the pandemic," said Mason Montgomery, president of the union that represents caseworkers and other Children Services workers.
Becoming an adult can be a challenging time for anyone, but for foster children, the 18th birthday is a life-changing event for which they may not be prepared.
Advocates for children's services are criticizing Gov. Mike DeWine's proposed two-year state budget, which includes a funding increase in the first year and a decrease in the second. Advocates say it won’t be enough to help counties deal with soaring costs with more than 15,000 children in foster care in Ohio.
According to Licking County Job and Family Services Director John Fisher, an "overwhelming majority" of Ohio counties do not let eligible foster children drive, including Licking County. But, he explained it's a more complicated issue than whether a foster child can drive or not. For children who are in Licking County's custody, whether temporarily or after their parents' custody has been severed, Fisher explained the county's responsibility is to protect the child, train them, discipline them, and provide food, shelter, education and medical care.
For as long as Prosecutor Ron Welch has worked in Muskingum County, it has been his goal to establish a local advocacy center for children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse. After years of planning, a newly formed partnership with a foundation connected to a Frazeysburg business is the ticket to bringing that dream to reality by the end of the year.
The alleged murder of a Middletown 6-year-old by his mother has called into question what can be done if parents don't want their kids anymore, and legal experts say they can't just give up their children.
Calendar and Job Postings
March 15 | Legislative Committee Meeting
March 17 | Southwest District 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?