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Health and Medicine

Ohio considering alternative to foster care
New program would provide stipend for care of extended family

Kabir Bhatia
In The Region:
Ohio may be joining 30 other states in a new program designed to reduce the number – and cost -- of kids in foster care. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
Ohio considering alternative to foster care

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Kinship-guardian assistance programs allow families to get foster care money for taking in children from their extended family – such as grandparents raising grandkids, or aunts and uncles raising nieces and nephews.

Chris Vasco, spokesman for Summit County Child Services, says Ohio may start a similar program because children are better off with relatives than foster families.

“Reducing the trauma for the children when you move them from their birth parents to a placement outside the home. If you can place them with grandparents or a relative, it’s generally a very positive kind of thing. For one thing, relative placements are usually more stable than foster care placements and that sort of thing.”

New York, California and Louisiana are among the states that have started kinship-guardian assistance programs since they were authorized by the federal Fostering Connections Act of 2008. The law allows states to waive some foster care requirements – such as bedroom size -- when placing children with family members.

A study by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says families in the new program would get a maximum annual stipend of $3600 per child, versus a cost of about $44,000 in foster care.
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