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Government & Politics

Ohio's Children Services Agencies Point to Opioid Epidemic, Say Kasich's Budget Falls Short

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The number of children entering agency programs has gone up in the last five years.

In the last seven years, the number of children taken into custody by children services agencies in Ohio soared by nearly 20 percent, and half of those cases involve parental drug use. And the agencies charged with caring for those kids say Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget doesn’t do enough to help them.

Ohio’s Job and Family Services director says the budget proposes $138 million toward drug-abuse related child protection services. But Angela Sausser with the Public Children Services Association of Ohio says there was no additional money for children services agencies to deal with the opioid crisis.

“They won’t be able to hire additional workers. They may not be able to fill open positions. They may have to lay off staff. So we could find ourselves in even more of a crisis than we’re already in today.”

Children services agencies say since 2010, they’ve seen an 11 percent climb in the number of kids in foster care and a 17 percent jump in costs, and that local agencies are too financially strapped to absorb the increases without more state help.