XENIA — Greene County Children Services is commending Gov. Mike DeWine for his focus on children.
Two days after his first state of the state address, DeWine announced his proposal for an unprecedented 95 percent increase in the state’s investment in protecting abused and neglected children.
“This proposed investment is most definitely needed in Greene County,” said Lana Penney, administrator for Greene County Children Services. “We have experienced a rise in the intensity of cases and an increased need for multi-agency involvement, in large part due to the substance abuse crisis in our area.”
That $74 million announcement, along with related spending proposals, supports efforts to ensure that Ohio is not last in the nation when it comes to state funding for such a critical program.
“Governor DeWine is standing up for the vulnerable children and families of Greene County,” said Director of the Greene County Department of Job & Family Services Beth Rubin. “This investment would help us with the rising costs of foster care and ongoing services to families struggling with complex needs.”
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, 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 care without achieving permanency;
— $4.5 million to expand evidence-based programs like Ohio START and 30 Days to Family to prevent children from coming into foster care; and
— $2.6 million to help caseworkers be more efficient and productive in the field.
“These efforts show a real commitment to children in our community,” Rubin said.