foster care

Pandemic Makes Reunification Harder For Parents Of Kids In Foster Care

Sep 8, 2020

Lionel scooped up his daughter, Imari, and planted a kiss on the 1-year-old's chubby cheek, then carried her to the car that would take the baby and her brothers away from him and back to their foster home.

Trailing behind him was his partner, Carlitta, who held the hands of their chattering sons, 4-year-old Regis and 2-year-old Kenneth, as they walked across the parking lot of University Settlement’s Mead House in Slavic Village, where their weekly two-hour visits are held.

A sign welcoming residents to Franklinton.
Mary Rathke / WOSU

Residents have started moving into a new apartment complex for youth that have aged out of the foster care system, or are homeless. 

A group of children services experts from around Ohio are putting together recommendations to improve the system. They say their mission must keep moving forward even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Foster Care And Child Welfare During Coronavirus

Apr 22, 2020
childrens shoes

Across the U.S., COVID-19 has applied fresh pressure to an already overburdened child welfare system.

The pandemic has closed courts, sidelined caseworkers and slowed the process for reunifying families. Most visits with parents now take place online. Worry about infection has had a chilling effect on recruiting foster parents to meet the need.

Child welfare advocates worry about the added trauma and isolation for already vulnerable kids. 

Young adult on his phone
Startup Stock /

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says more than 1,250 young people have participated in a program that helps foster children transition to independent adulthood. 

South Central Ohio Job and Family Services covers Ross, Vinton and Hocking counties.
Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is creating a $1 million Emergency Response Fund to help agencies and caseworkers burdened by the ongoing opioid epidemic. 

Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague (R-Ohio) backs a proposed House bill that would reduce interest rates for loans used for adoption.
Dan Konik / Ohio Public Radio

In Ohio, as many as 19,000 children are projected to be in the foster care system by this time next year. State leaders are offering a plan that could address the crisis by alleviating some of the financial stress that comes with adoption through reduced interest rates.

Lieutenant governor-elect Jon Husted and governor-elect Mike DeWine celebrate at the Ohio Republican Party event, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

Gov. Mike DeWine has signed an executive order that establishes an advisory council that will come up with suggestions for how to make it work better for foster families. 

Crystal Posey discusses the financial challenges she's had raising her baby granddaughter after receiving custody two years ago in Columbus
Andrew Welsh-Huggins / AP

Ohio plans to increase payments to approved relatives caring for children who were taken from their parents even when the family members aren't licensed caregivers, as more kids are being removed from their homes amid the opioid crisis.

Gov. Mike DeWine, center, speaks between Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, left, and Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder during the Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, March 5, 2019.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

Ohio would cut personal income taxes by 4%, raise the age for buying tobacco products to 21 and direct $550 million for educational wraparound services such as mental health counseling under the state budget that lawmakers belatedly sent to Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday, hours before their extended deadline.

Montgomery County Children’s Services workers will strike this week, unless a deal is reached before then. The dispute between the 270 member union and the county centers on wages.

Rawpixel / Pexels

More than 270 Ohio child welfare caseworkers and their support staff could soon be going on strike.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is sponsoring a bill in the U.S. Senate to provide more financial help for children who become victims of the opioid crisis and the families who take those children in.

House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) unveil new cameras installed in a committee room in March.
Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau

Republican and Democratic leaders in the Ohio House are coming together to sponsor priority legislation for this General Assembly. That’s a departure from previous sessions, when each caucus announced their priorities separately.

A Republican former state lawmaker from Northeast Ohio is taking on a new job in the administration of Gov. Mike DeWine.

Sarah LaTourette left the Ohio House on Sunday and started work Monday as director of Ohio Family and Children First. The organization works with county-level councils to help kids who receive state services, such as mental health or foster care.