Families, children and child protection staff in eight Ohio counties can look forward to additional support and resources in 2018 thanks to the innovative 30 Days to Family ® Ohio program, expected to launch early next year. In August, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced $1 million in funding for foster care family recruitment and support in 10 Ohio counties hit hard by the opioid epidemic.
Last week, administrators from Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark, Fairfield, Highland, Montgomery, Clark and Allen counties received the exciting news that their agencies were chosen to participate in the pilot program, which will provide each site with a full-time family search and engagement staff member. 30 Days to Family® is a short-term intervention program that aggressively searches for extended relatives and kin to identify potential placement options and supports, decreasing the need for long-term foster home placements.
Selection criteria for participating counties includes: the number of families/children in need of services, geographic location and the child welfare agency’s readiness or ability to implement the program. The VOCA (Victims of Crime Act) grant funding, which is anticipated to renew for a second year, requires a 20 percent match in funds for each location. To protect Ohio’s financially strapped child welfare agencies from the burden of this expense, Cleveland nonprofit Waiting Child Fund, which will oversee the program, has pledged to raise the necessary $200,000 through private donations and local foundation support.
“Children are entering foster care throughout the state at an alarming rate,” said Mike Kenney, executive director of Waiting Child Fund. “The Ohio Attorney General is responding to this crisis by investing in a proven solution which empowers and supports kinship and foster families. We are honored by the opportunity to grow our collaborative partnerships and ready to get to work helping more children and families.”
Recruitment and selection of two additional counties is still underway.
Editor’s Note: As of February 2019, twelve Ohio counties have joined the pilot program, and three more will be selected to join this year. Current 30 Days to Family® Ohio counties include: Allen, Clark, Cuyahoga, Fairfield, Hamilton, Highland, Lorain, Lucas, Montgomery, Stark, Summit, and Wood.