Ohio intensifies efforts to help rising number of children in foster care

The opioid crisis in Ohio has made the need for foster care families greater than ever, and the state launched a new website and public awareness campaign in January to get more children placed in safe, loving homes. Ohio has nearly 16,000 children in the custody of county children services agencies. Since 2013, the number of children entering the state’s foster care system has risen 24 percent. Many of these individuals are quite young —17 percent of the foster care population is under 12 months of age and 35 percent is 3 years old and younger.

Two years ago, with passage of HB 49, Ohio legislators created a Foster Care Advisory Group. That group, in turn, recommended the new statewide awareness campaign and website. Its other ideas include establishing formal rights for foster caregivers (in state statute or administrative code), providing bonuses to families with years of proven service, and increasing mentoring and training opportunities.

Nationwide, substance abuse-related problems have caused a spike in foster care caseloads — a rise of 10 percent between 2012 and 2016. During this time period, foster care populations rose by more than 50 percent in six U.S. states, including Indiana and Minnesota, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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Stateline Midwest: February 20191.99 MB