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.
Gov. Mike DeWine's Children Services Transformation Advisory Council is proposing ways to encourage kinship care, when a relative or a close family connection raises a child when the parent can’t or won’t.
Kristi Burre, director of the Office of Children Services Transformation within the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, says the group is recommending a federally-subsidized kinship assistance program and wants a kinship bill of rights as a way to expand care - even in the face of budget cuts.
"Make recommendations even though some of them are lofty goals. We want to build the recommendations based on what's the right thing to do," says Burre.
The workgroup is tasked with:
- Learning more about local challenges and best practices around the state
- Promoting a "shared state and county vision for agency purpose and practice"
- Reviewing data, trends, and policies in the current foster care system
- Providing recommendations and strategies for kinship care, foster care, adoption, workforce, and prevention
The group is now turning its attention to improving foster care.