On Nov. 4, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the formation of the statewide Children Services Transformation Advisory Council, meant to address failures in the current foster care system, according to the Columbus Dispatch. In addition to political leaders, the council will include children services representatives, juvenile court judges, foster parents and former foster children.
The number of children in Ohio’s foster care system has risen drastically since 2011, in large part due to parental opioid abuse. However, less than half of those children have foster homes available, leading to housing and familial insecurity.
“We have a crisis and must help these kids,” DeWine said while introducing the Council, as quoted in the Columbus Dispatch. “Children deserve to grow up in safe and loving homes.”
This issue is a priority for DeWine’s administration. One of his first executive orders, signed in mid-January, extended the power of the Office of Families and Children to recruit more foster care workers and provide more foster care homes. He also increased funding to the Office of Families and Children by $220 million in two years, the highest amount allocated in Ohio’s history, per reports in the Columbus Dispatch earlier this year.
The Children Services Transformation Advisory Council will conduct research and offer guidance on how to best reform the foster care system. DeWine hopes for council members to finalize their report by April 2020.
Seven regional forums are scheduled in the remainder of 2019 for constituents to voice their concerns. The Central Ohio forum will occur on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. on the Central Ohio Technical College Pataskala Campus.