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   Governor: Foster parents need 'voice' in placement decisions
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Last Editedev0lv  Feb 06, 2020 08:46am
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AuthorJim Provanance
News DateWednesday, February 5, 2020 05:15:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionOLUMBUS — The initial report from Gov. Mike DeWine's panel reviewing Ohio's over-tasked child welfare system on Wednesday emphasized the need to better recruit foster-care families while ensuring those families have a voice in decisions affecting them and the children in their care.

“I have heard horror stories from foster parents ... that they are not many times consulted,” Mr. DeWine said at a recent forum hosted by the Associated Press. “Many times they've had the child [for several years] and then there's a decision to move that child, and they're not even consulted.”

He said if a foster parent has had a child for a year or longer, the foster parent should be placed on equal footing to an aunt, uncle, or other blood relative with whom a child may not have had much contact.

“Under current law today there's a preference to kin,” the governor said. “That is understandable, but we have to look at each individual case. The most important thing is always the best interest of the child.”

The review panel held a series of public forums since November, including one in Bowling Green where it heard from 22 people. Those who attended called for the hiring of skilled caseworkers while easing their caseloads to reduce burnout and improve morale.

A final report is due in May.
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