A quick rundown of Ohio child protection news this week
Weekly Update for November 23, 2020
Association Updates

Weekly Update on hiatus for holiday
Due to the short week, the next Weekly Update will be published Dec. 7. The staff and board of PCSAO wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. The office will be closed on Thursday and Friday. The "Profiles of Hope & Courage" series will return after the holiday.

Transformation report released
At a news conference Nov. 20, Gov. Mike DeWine announced final recommendations issued by the Governor’s Children Services Transformation Advisory Council. The 37 recommendations across seven domains will strengthen the child protection system just as significant federal changes are underway, PCSAO stated in a news release. Read more and link to the full report.

Ohio START to add fourth cohort
The Ohio START program will add 14 more counties to the program in early 2021. PCSAs interested in joining Ohio START should complete the cohort 4 application here. The link to the application can also be found on the Ohio START website. Applications are due Jan. 8, and PCSAs will be notified of acceptance by Jan. 15. PCSAO will hold two informational webinars on implementation of the Ohio START program, the application process, and any questions PCSAs have. Counties interested in applying for the program are encouraged, but not required, to attend one webinar. The webinars will be held Dec. 1 from 1-2 p.m. and Dec. 4 from 9-10 a.m. Links for registration can also be found on the application. Contact Fawn Gadel with questions.

Legislative Committee meets
The PCSAO Legislative Committee met Nov. 16. PCSAO provided budget, policy and legislative updates. Members discussed issues related to the impact of Central Registry reports on employment, and affirmed Jerry Coleman (Stark County JFS) continuing as chair of the committee for 2021. The committee next meets Jan. 25.
PCSAO congratulates Hill, Moore

PCSAO congratulates Athens County Children Services Executive Director Cathy Hill and Gallia County Children Services Executive Director Russ Moore on their retirements effective Nov. 30. Both will be missed!

Hill served as president of PCSAO's Board of Trustees from 2017-2018, as the past president in 2019 and as a trustee from 2013-2019. She built strong, collaborative community partnerships to further support children and families in the county and region and has been a powerful voice for Appalachian counties. She boldly agreed to serve as one of the first Ohio START counties and has been focused on improving outcomes and enhancing services and supports for children and families. She championed the need to support workers, provide quality training, and equip them with the skills and technology to do the job.

Moore is a strong relationship builder and connector with elected officials. Like Hill, he boldly agreed to serve as one of the first Ohio START counties that then developed a multi-county team that achieved great success despite limited local resources. He has been very committed to child welfare training, including active participation as the county representative to OCWTP. He was dedicated to improving the agency by being one of the first county directors to request the Comprehensive Learning Assessment from OCWTP. Finally he was extremely creative with funding and managing with fewer resources.
State Updates
  • Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Interim Director Lance Himes signed a health order effective Nov. 16 at midnight to enforce mask-wearing in retail locations across the state. The order does not apply to restaurants, bars, banquet and catering centers, hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, body piercing locations, tanning facilities, or gyms, which fall under previously issued, existing orders. He also signed a revised health order to limit mass gatherings in Ohio. Wedding receptions, funeral repasts, and other events at banquet facilities are subject to the following restrictions:
  • No socializing or activities in open congregate areas and no dancing. 
  • Guests must be seated at all times. Traditional wedding reception events such as first dance, toasts, tossing the bouquet and cutting the cake are permitted.
  • If serving food and beverages, guests must be served at their seats. No self-serve buffets and no self-serve bar areas permitted.
  • Masks must be worn at all times unless actively consuming food or beverages.
  • No more than 10 people should be seated at a table and those individuals must be from the same household.
  • Gov. Mike DeWine announced a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. statewide curfew beginning Nov. 19. The curfew will be in effect for 21 days. The curfew will not apply to those going to or from work, those who have an emergency, or those who need medical care.
  • Gov. DeWine provided details on Ohio's vaccine prepositioning plan. ODH has identified 10 sites across the state that will receive the pre-positioned vaccine after a COVID-19 vaccine is given emergency-use authorization. Once the CDC issues its recommendation on how to use the vaccine, these sites will begin administering the vaccine immediately. Ohio will first vaccinate those who are most at risk, including those who work in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and other congregate-care facilities, high-risk health care workers, and first responders. 
  • As students at Ohio’s colleges and universities are preparing to head home for the holidays, the Ohio Department of Higher Education and Ohio Hospital Association are launching a new "Home and Healthy for the Holidays" campaign to encourage students to keep themselves and family members safe.
  • ODH is offering a holiday celebration guide to help families celebrate safely during the 2020-2021 holiday season.
  • Two new COVID-19 dashboards tracking the number of cases at Ohio childcare centers are now available. The first dashboard tracks the number of children and staff cases in individual centers. Because of the small size of home-based providers, many of which serve six or fewer children, positive COVID cases from children and adults in those facilities will be tracked by county on a separate dashboard.
Rules Updates

Pre-Clearance: The following rule is open for comments until Dec. 6:
  • Rule 5101:2-9 - Private, non-profit therapeutic wilderness camps.
Clearance: As of Nov. 20, there are no children services-related rules in Clearance.
Filed with JCARR: As of Nov. 20, no new rules have been filed with JCARR.
Announcements and Resources

ACYCP survey
The Association for Child & Youth Care Practice, Inc. is conducting a survey to collect information on current salaries, benefits, and the most important issues that practitioners want to see addressed. This information will be used to inform future public awareness efforts to improve the field and its services to children, youth, families, and communities. ACYCP includes child and youth care practitioners, service providers, and state and regional professional associations in the United States working together to improve child and youth care. People who complete the survey could be entered into a drawing for a $100 Visa gift card. Take the survey here.

Family visitation resources
Many agencies are reverting to virtual visitations at least in part due to rising coronavirus cases. Two resources may be helpful while considering virtual visits: Ohio Supreme Court webinar on Family Time featuring Rose Wentz, and Irving Foundation resources on family time for caseworkers and supervisors.

Webinar series: Serving youth with problematic sexual behaviors
The Ohio Children’s Alliance is putting on a three-part webinar series on youth with problematic sexual behaviors with each week focusing on a different theme.
  • Dec 14 | Juvenile Sexual Offender Treatment
  • Jan 7 | Family Reunification
  • Jan 21 | Vicarious Trauma: Staying Healthy in an Unhealthy Environment
The fee for Alliance members is $119 for the three sessions, and general admission is $199. Register here.

Training on final transition plan for youth aging out of care
The Office of Families and Children’s Independent Living/Transition Age Youth Programs team has partnered with Bridges, SACWIS and the Ohio Department of Medicaid to host a training on final transition planning for youth aging out of care. This event will take place Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to noon. This training will provide information about program requirements and best practices to be considered to adequately prepare older foster youth for emancipation. The session is intended for PCSA caseworkers and supervisors, Title IV-E juvenile court staff, and community providers who serve this population. Register here.

CARES grant application for nonprofits due Nov. 27
The state has announced a $25 million grant program to distribute federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act monies to charitable organizations. Applications for the program, which will be administered through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, must be submitted prior to Nov. 27. The discretionary grants will be distributed to 501(c)(3) organizations that serve low-income Ohioans and have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the types of services provided by the applicant organizations, consideration will also be given to unemployment charges paid by the charity, as well as other criteria. Grantees will be notified of their approval or denial by Dec. 11 and will receive funds by Dec. 21. For additional details and restrictions about the program, click here
Child Protection in the News

Nov. 20 – Grant Me Hope: Videos Help Ohio Foster Kids Find Homes – Public News Service (PNS)
Nov. 21 is National Adoption Day, which celebrates forever families and highlights those children still waiting to find homes. In Ohio, some kids are getting a chance to be in the limelight. Several Ohio children-services agencies are partnering with the organization Grant Me Hope to create personalized videos of foster children who want to be adopted. Sonya Russell, adoption matching coordinator for the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services, was involved in the video-making process for two sibling groups. She said it allowed the kids to show their personalities, strengths and desires.
People in Ohio who have taken custody of children they’re related to are being illegally denied state foster care payments to help cover their child-raising costs, according to a federal lawsuit filed Thursday. At issue are payments to relatives who aren’t licensed caregivers but are approved to care for children taken from their parents. The arrangement is often referred to as kinship care. See also the Policy Matters Ohio brief released last week on this topic.

Nov. 19 - Ohio' Sexual-Assault Response Network Faces Massive Cuts - Public News Service (PNS)
In an already challenging year, advocates for sexual-assault survivors in Ohio are grappling with major funding cuts. The state's network of crime victim service programs and agencies relies almost exclusively on funding from the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). In 2019, VOCA grants decreased by 25%, and for the new fiscal year, funding is cut nearly 40% across the state.

Nov. 18 - Ohio Hunger Stats Underscore Need for COVID Relief Bill - Public News Service (PNS)
New estimates for overall food insecurity in Ohio in 2020 are 18.1%, up from 13.9% in 2018. Anti-poverty organizations in the state say the numbers are is further proof of an immediate need for Congress to approve a COVID relief package to help struggling families. Comments from Joree Novotny, director of external affairs, Ohio Association of Foodbanks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the way Ohio’s courts have operated for eight months, but one judge is making sure a life-altering day for families will remain “normal.” Saturday marks National Adoption Day, a nationwide initiative encouraging courts to open on or around the Saturday before Thanksgiving to finalize and celebrate adoptions from foster care.

Nov. 18 - Megan finds a forever home - Perry County Tribune
November is National Adoption Month and the Perry County Children’s Services staff has a great reason to celebrate. That’s because one of the children in their custody received her forever home when the adoption process was finalized in Judge Luann Cooperrider’s courtroom on Monday, Nov. 16.
Upcoming Events

Dec. 3 | Executive Membership Meeting
Dec. 4 | Board of Trustees Meeting
Dec. 9 | Southwest District Meeting
Dec. 10 | Rules Review Committee Meeting

Note: Meetings will be held via web meeting for 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.
Public Children Services Association of Ohio || www.pcsao.org