Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a new $1 million fund for recruitment of foster families, calling the lack of enough safe homes a tragedy and a “crisis of immense proportions.”
More than 15,000 kids were in foster care in Ohio as of Aug. 5, he said in a press conference that was broadcast live. Yet the state has only about 7,200 licensed foster homes. That difference means a lot of kids are being sent to homes elsewhere, far away from their families and support systems.
In Hamilton County now, 2,295 kids live in care – 1,191 of them in foster homes, the rest in various types of care, including residential and living with relatives. We have 382 kids ready and waiting to be adopted. That number had held steady at 200 for more than a decade.
The numbers are increasing in large part because of the heroin issue. Children are staying in care longer as their parents struggle to overcome their addictions, then often relapse.
“These children deserve a chance to grow up,” DeWine said. “So this is a call to arms, loving arms. We must do everything we can.”
He encourage all Ohioans who ever considered becoming foster parents to look into it now – “This is the time.”
The $1 million will come from the Victims of Crime Act money. He wants it to go to 10 counties to fund workers who will focus on finding kinship families to take in children. Kinship means not only relatives of the child, but others who might know the child as well – teachers, ministers, etc.
To learn more about DeWine’s initiative, go to his website.
If you would like to become a foster parent in Hamilton County, please visit hckids.org.