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Ohio governor has plan to address relatives caring for kids

Mike DeWine
Posted at 9:02 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 21:02:57-05

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday he’s close to releasing a proposal for dealing with an issue related to approved relatives caring for children taken from their parents even when the relatives aren’t licensed caregivers.

Ohio has been under pressure from child advocates to follow a 2017 federal court ruling ordering equality in payments to non-licensed relatives and to relatives who become licensed.

The issue has taken on new significance because the opioid crisis has seen a huge increase in the number of children taken from homes because of parents’ or guardians’ addictions. About 16,000 children are in custody in Ohio today, a more than 20% increase from five years ago.

Currently, relatives who have custody of their children but aren’t licensed foster care providers — known as kinship providers — receive around $290 per month for one child, according to advocates for the change, though that can vary by county.

By contrast, licensed foster care providers could receive hundreds more dollars per month for one child depending on circumstances. That doesn’t include extra payments for a child with special needs.

“This is something that we’ve been not only looking at, but working on a proposal, and that will come out shortly,” DeWine said at legislative forum sponsored by The Associated Press.