Gov.-elect Mike DeWine has said children’s initiatives are a top priority. One group that advocates for kids says it’s going to push him to prove that in the upcoming state budget.
There are 3,500 more kids are in children services custody now than were five years ago, and during that time there’s also been a 92 percent increase in the number of kids placed with family members.
In nearly all cases, the opioid crisis is to blame. Angela Sausser with the Public Children Services Association of Ohio says some counties have put two levies on the ballot because one isn’t enough.
“We can’t continue to rely on the counties to fund it and the state barely put any investment into children services," Sausser said. "So one of our big asks for the next budget will be a significant increase of state funding for children services.”
Sausser says the cost of foster care and family placements soared by nearly $100 million in the last five years, and it’s expected to rise another $44 million this year alone.