Thursday, October 05, 2006

Foster issues in Ohio

1.) Recent articles in Ohio decry the lack of information-sharing:
- Biological parents are not allowed to see their case file, and thereby know the specific charges that are being leveled against them.

- Foster parents are not being given medical information about the youth in their care. As a result, foster youth have received multiple vaccinations.

- Lack of information sharing between agencies has led to poor (and sometimes deadly) placements for children.

2.) Butler County task force:
- In the aftermath of the murder of Marcus, an autistic foster child, a task force has been assembled to reexamine Butler County's independent foster care board.

- Their report is due on Dec. 11, 2006.

- This report will make recommendations as to whether this board should be:
a.) folded into the Ohio Department of Family Services
b.) privatized
or c.) continue as an independent board

3.) Columbus NAACP files grievance regarding foster care because children of color are overrepresented in the foster care system.

As a response, the following actions are being taken:
- Training social workers in the cultural values of different colors
- Distribution of multilingual CPS literature
- Recruiting caseworkers from black universities

4.) The Ohio welfare reserves currently stand at $893 million.
- This is higher than any other state.
- Meanwhile, Cleveland has been described as being "the poorest big city in America."

Although Ohio received federal funding to support kinship care, for example, time spent planning how to implement the program, and limitations on eligibility have led to this funding remaining largely unspent.

For these, and many other reasons, unspent welfare funds are a big concern.

5.) Need for increased foster and post-adoptive monitoring
- A couple in Clark County severely abused their six adopted children.
- A widow in Butler County had six adopted and five foster youth, whom she reportedly used as indentured servants.

To quote a West Chester foster child, "They need to examine the foster parents a lot better before they pass them off as foster parents... Every single foster system should have a caseworker come by at least once a week. Bad things happen real fast."

This young man and his sister had both been severely abused in his foster placement -- but, despite the fact that his foster father confessed, charges were never pressed against him.

More in-depth and ongoing checks on foster parents are needed, due to recent discoveries of licensed (and even awarded) foster parents with histories of theft, domestic violence, prison and sexual abuse.

Sources
Brooks, Candice. Foster care investigation big job. Hamilton Journal, Sept. 29, 2006, pg. A2.
Grieco, Lou. Boy's death spurring changes in foster care. Dayton Daily News, Sept. 22, 2006.
Ludlow, Randy. Accused couple: Authorities unsure why no one saw child abuse. Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 24, 2006, News pg. 1A.
McGurk, Margaret. Foster agencies hide behind veil of secrecy. Cincinnati Enquirer, Oct. 1, 2006, pg. 1B.
McLaughlin, Sheila. Agency overlooked foster care dangers. Cincinnati Enquirer, Sept. 24, 2006.
Program to help kids gets slow start. Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 26, 2006, News pg. 4D.
Pyle, Encarnacion. Addressing racial inequities in foster care. Columbus Dispatch, Sept, 29, 2006.
Suchetka, Diana. Millions for Ohio's needy unspent: Money reserved for foster care of children by relatives, family, friends. Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sept. 25, 2006.

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