Seneca County DJFS applauds governor’s unprecedented investments

Seneca County DJFS applauds governor’s unprecedented investments

Children services funding to nearly double

Gov. Mike DeWine announces an increase in funding for the protection of children Friday in Columbus.

[COLUMBUS, OH March 11, 2019] — Last week before an audience of children services agency leaders, including Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services personnel, Governor Mike DeWine announced an unprecedented 95 percent increase in the state’s investment in protecting abused and neglected children. That $74 million announcement, along with related spending proposals, makes good on a campaign promise that Ohio should not be last in the nation when it comes to the state’s responsibility for funding such a critical program, county DJFS Director Kathy Oliver said.

“This proposed investment is very needed in Seneca County,” Oliver said. “We are very pleased that the Governor is interested in making this investment to keep kids safe in Ohio.”

Oliver said Ohio is 50th in the nation for child protection funding, which has made it more difficult to protect children.

“This investment will help us address the crisis in our children services system,” she said. “These funds will help us carry out the critical work of child protection which has increased due to the opiate crisis. Governor DeWine is standing up for the vulnerable children and families of Seneca County and Ohio.”

In addition to increasing the State Child Protection Allocation by $30 million per year, up from $60 million, to give struggling county agencies the ability to pay the rising costs of serving children, Governor DeWine announced:

  • $25 million for multi-system youth will prevent parents from having to relinquish custody of children with developmental disabilities or severe mental illness so that they can get the treatment they need;
  • $8.5 million to support struggling grandparents and other kin care providers who unexpectedly find themselves caring for children, and to invest in recruiting much-needed foster parents;
  • $5.5 million to expand the Bridges program for youth who emancipate from our system without achieving permanency;
  • $4.5 million to expand evidence-based programs like Ohio START, which Seneca County now is implementing, and 30 Days to Family to prevent children from coming into foster care; and
  • $2.6 million to help our caseworkers be more efficient and productive in the field.

“The Governor is saving a system in crisis and making wise investments,” Oliver said. “These programs will alleviate the pressure on our agency’s budget, which has struggled to pay rising costs. More importantly, he is saving children and families by improving their chance for a better future.”

Seneca County is a longstanding member of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, which is working with county agencies across the state and other stakeholders to support the Governor’s proposals.

“The Governor’s leadership, with the support of his Administration, will afford Ohio’s vulnerable children and families the quality services that will strengthen our state across the board,” Oliver said. “As an association, we stand ready to work with our local legislators on the Governor’s proposals.”