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County Checkbook Snaps Shut and Pinches Foster Families

July 7, 2008

Hillsboro, OH – Highland County has had to close the checkbook on foster kids. The county is low on money and has stopped sending reimbursements to foster families who care for about 70 children.

Director of Highland County Children's Services Wendy Jacobs says she is uncertain, but hopeful.

"What will happen, I don't know. I have extremely dedicated foster parents, but people can only dig out of their own budget for so long."

Jacobs notes the state made a loan to help get reimbursements to foster families through the end of this month, but there’s no more money after that. Some families had to sell a car or tap into credit to make ends meet until the state money came through. The department will be asking voters to approve a levy this fall to provide more stable funding.

Jacobs is thankful that the crunch has not caused any foster family to say they have to return a child.

"This shows that these people truly care about these children. It is not about, 'Are we going to be paid?' It's about, 'What can we do to make sure these kids are safe?'"

She also hopes the budget squeeze won't discourage potential foster families.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - OH