A quick rundown of Ohio child protection news this week
Weekly Update for November 9, 2020
Association Updates

Board of Trustees meet
The Board of Trustees met virtually on Nov. 4 and approved Oct. 7, 2020 meeting minutes, Sept. 2020 financial report, tax year 2019 Form 990, and the 2021 operations budget. The board finalized plans for the virtual Executive Membership Meeting on Dec. 3 and reviewed the 2020 Annual Conference report. The board had a robust discussion with Kara Wente, ODJFS Assistant Director and Kristi Burre, OCST Director about workforce crisis issues and strategies. PCSAO staff provided priority and legislative updates including Family First, OCST recommendations and final meeting, Ohio START, OhioRISE, and expungement challenges. The board will hold its virtual annual meeting on Dec. 4. 

Ohio START holds first fall consortium meeting
On Nov. 5, Ohio START held the first of two fall consortium meetings with approximately 90 people in attendance. During the meeting, participants heard program updates, attended breakout sessions focused on Ohio START practice and discussed the evaluation team’s first iteration of baseline outcomes and the newly revamped online database. The second fall consortium will be Nov. 12. For more information or to register, click here.

Community Education Committee talks about talking about Family First
The Community Education Committee met Nov. 6 for its final meeting of the year. Patti-Jo Burtnett (Lorain County Children Services) presented on communicating the Family First Act's values and benefits, sharing concrete suggestions for framing the landmark legislation and the impact it can have on children services and other systems. The committee also celebrated the levy wins in all seven counties amid the pandemic and provided updates on National Adoption Month and other end-of-year events. The committee meets next on Jan. 8.

All seven children services levies pass
Despite the uncertainty of a global pandemic and the economic downturn, voters affirmed their support for children services levies in seven counties last week. Six of the seven levies are renewals of existing levies, with Guernsey County mounting a replacement-with-increase levy. PCSAO is grateful to voters for their support of protective services for children and families, and congratulates agency staff, community leaders and others who made county levy efforts successful.
State Updates
  • Gov. Mike DeWine appointed a new executive team at the Ohio Department of Health. Stephanie McCloud will take over as ODH director and Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff will become the chief medical officer.
  • Gov. DeWine announced that every Ohio county is in the high-incidence category, even those that are still on a yellow alert level. He urged Ohioans to avoid gatherings, wear masks and engage in social distancing to combat the spread of COVID. He also said that we are getting closer to a vaccine. 
  • The Ohio Development Services Agency began taking applications for the Home Relief Grant program, which helps eligible Ohioans who are behind on rent, mortgage, and water and/or sewer utility bills catch up on past payments back to April 1, 2020, and provides additional assistance through Dec. 30. Find more information here.
  • As always, you can find more information at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
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: The following rules are open for comments until Nov. 11:
  • Rule 5101:2-48-18 - PCSA and PCPA approval of placements with relative and nonrelative substitute caregivers.
  • Rule 5101:2-5-33 - Foster caregiver preplacement and continuing training.
  • Rule 5101:2-5-38 - Payment of foster caregiver training stipends; reimbursement of training allowances to recommending agencies.
Filed with JCARR: As of Nov. 6 there are no children services-related rules filed with JCARR.
Announcements and Resources

Virtual PRT Symposium to focus on permanency
Kinnect is offering a Virtual Youth Centered Permanency Roundtables Symposium Nov. 30 from 1-4 p.m. Topics include talking to youth about permanency, breaking down barriers to permanency, and engaging a team. To attend, RSVP to Tracy@kinnectohio.org by Nov. 24.

Supreme Court survey due Nov. 30
The Supreme Court of Ohio’s Subcommittee on Responding to Child Abuse, Neglect and Dependency is conducting a statewide comprehensive assessment of the investigative, administrative and judicial handling of child abuse, neglect, exploitation and maltreatment-related fatalities. The subcommittee is seeking feedback from stakeholders via this short survey by Nov. 30. Local agency responses will help the subcommittee develop recommendations and a plan for improving Ohio’s child protection system. If you have questions, email Tequilla.Washington@jfs.ohio.gov.

Motivational Interviewing training
Ohio Motivational Engagement Strategies and Actions (Ohio MESA) training will be offered to all 88 counties, with a capacity to serve up to 350 participants. The trainings will provide a foundational education for children services workers in addiction, trauma and basic strategies for engaging families. The following topics will be covered:
  • Course 1: Introduction: Substance Use, Child Welfare, Trauma
  • Course 2: Increase Your Knowledge: The Neurobiology of Addiction and Trauma
  • Course 3: Assess Your Attitudes: Stigma and Substance Use Disorders
  • Course 4: Build New Skills: Strategies to Engage Individuals and Families
  • Course 5: Moving Forward: Hope and the Voices of Recovery
Look for more information soon. In the meantime, if you have questions, email Vincent.Ciola@jfs.ohio.gov or Kristine.Monroe@jfs.ohio.gov.

National Youth in Transition Database Cohort 3 survey
The ODJFS Office of Families and Children encourages agencies to identify youth to participate in the National Youth in Transition Database survey. This letter contains important information and instructions about the survey, which began in October. If you have questions regarding the NYTD Statistical Report, contact Chris Beach at Christopher.Beach@jfs.ohio.gov . If you have policy questions regarding NYTD, send inquiries to the Transition Age Youth Programs mailbox at Transition-Youth-Programs@jfs.ohio.gov. 
Child Protection in the News

Ohio is carving off a separate Medicaid program that will coordinate care for an estimated 60,000 children and young adults with the most complex behavioral health needs. The new program, called OhioRISE, will help families stay together while the state covers the care that in the past might not have been covered and also will provide coordination to help navigate what can be a maze of different systems and programs.

An Ohio man is now the proud parent of five brothers and sisters who were separated in different foster homes.

When he was 12, Robert Carter went into foster care in Hamilton County, Ohio, and didn't see some of his younger siblings for years. But when he was old enough, Carter reconnected with his family. He was granted custody of his sister and became the guardian of his brother.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is recognizing National Adoption Month. According to the governor, there are currently nearly 16,000 children in Ohio who live in foster homes or other out-of-home settings. Of those 16,000, 3,000 children in foster care are waiting to be adopted and more than 1,200 of the children are 13 years old or older.

Ohio kids or families who have complaints when they're involved in the children's services system need to have an independent ombudsman at the state level to investigate and resolve disputes, according to a new set of recommendations by a group that spent over a year looking at how to improve child welfare.

"Andrew reached the point where our family's safety was at risk," said Butler, who lives in Whitehall, Ohio. "We were told it was no longer safe to have him living with us. We were told surrendering custody was the only way to get him the help he needed." Since making that grueling decision six years ago, Butler has joined with other families facing similar circumstances to urge state officials to find a better way to serve so-called multi-system youth whose complex and costly needs put them at risk of being separated from their families. Gov. Mike DeWine's administration says they've found the answer.

The thought of bringing a child into your home, whether through adoption or foster care, can be exhilarating, and can also raise a number of questions. You may be wondering if you are ready to welcome a child into your family through adoption, or if foster care may be a better option for you. Paul Hemminger, assistant director at Isaiah's Place in Troy, and Sarah Feine, youth specialist and family assessor at Focus on Youth in West Chester, offer tips for families considering taking this exciting, life-changing step toward adoption.
Profiles of Hope and Courage

Lindsay: 'It's pretty inspiring to see the resiliency of families and caseworkers'

Lindsay is an ongoing protective supervisor with South Central Ohio Job and Family Services. While there have been challenges surrounding the pandemic, she says families in her area have adapted to the new normal.

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

Nov. 12-13 | New Executives Orientation
Nov. 13 | Conference Planning Committee Meeting
Nov. 16 | Legislative 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