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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Ohio program prepares foster parents to care for kids with complex needs

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Tuesday, June 18, 2024   

An Ohio program that provides help for foster parents of children with complex behavioral issues is expanding. It offers 24/7 on-call crisis counseling and specialized training enabling more children with these difficulties to stay in a family setting. The program is now being replicated in other regions.

Casey Morrow, assistant director with the Sandusky County Department of Job and Family Services, said the Treatment Foster Home Pilot Program licenses families at a higher, specialized skill level better allows them to work with traumatized kids.

"What we were finding in our county is that we have children that have a much higher level of acuity of needs, and we were going straight from them needing a family foster home at a young age to having to go into congregate care, which is group homes or residential facilities, " Morrow said.

Ohio currently has more than 1,800 foster children who live in group settings because there aren't enough foster families willing to take on kids with significant behavioral challenges and needs.

Olivia Ramsey, an Attica resident and the foster parent of three girls, was licensed last summer through the program. She said the extensive training and personalized support she and her partner received has helped them keep the three siblings together, while working toward reunification with their biological parents.

"When we accepted the girls, the oldest was way out of our age-range, we requested to be licensed from the age of zero through five, and we took in a 10 year-old just because of that reason," she explained.

Melanie Allen, director of Sandusky County Department of Job and Family Services, said most counties can't afford to run a specialized program, but by collaborating with the Public Children Services Agencies in Seneca, Ottawa, and Wyandot counties, they've been able to maintain a robust program and share resources.

"What we found is that if we collaborated with a few other counties and pooled our funding together to share a worker, we could oversee a program that crosses multiple counties, which is what the new pilot model looks like," she said.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced more than $2 million in funding to expand the Treatment Foster Home Pilot Program to 34 counties across the state. The program will save the state money, given the significantly lower cost of treatment foster care compared with congregate care, Allen said.


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