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Foster Care Advisory Group Recommendations

Foster Care Advisory Group Recommendations

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Published by Jessie Balmert
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's advisory group compiled recommendations to improve Ohio's foster care system by prioritizing children's safety.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's advisory group compiled recommendations to improve Ohio's foster care system by prioritizing children's safety.

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Published by: Jessie Balmert on Apr 08, 2013
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04/08/2013

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Additional transparency and child welfare system guidance is needed. Throughout the Child
Safety Summits, foster parents and biological parents alike repeatedly expressed frustration
about the lack of accountability within the child welfare system. Families often find
themselves without recourse when they feel that a social worker or public children services
agency is not acting in the best interest of a foster child in their care. Some counties, such
as Franklin and Hamilton counties, have an ombudsman to handle disputes with the public
children services agency. But many counties do not have this mechanism. Even among the
counties that have an ombudsman to sort out disputes with an agency, an ombudsman
employed by the agency is arguably not an unbiased party.

21. Ohio should explore the creation of a system of increased transparency and technical
assistance for families and the children in their care. Eleven states — Colorado,
Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Rhode
Island, Tennessee, and Washington — have independent and autonomous
ombudsman offices with child welfare oversight. The Foster Care Advisory Group
recognizes value in the increased transparency provided by annual reports released
by these ombudsman offices that detail the types and number of issues the office
handles each year. This data provides valuable information about where system
change is needed. In addition, the Foster Care Advisory Group believes that such a
person or office could assist families in mediating disputes with county children
services agencies. Ohio should look to its existing agencies in an attempt to create
increased transparency and a mediation process without creating an entirely new
system of bureaucracy.

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