The Ohio House version of the new two-year state budget has proposed doubling the $30 million Gov. Mike DeWine asked for to take care of foster children in Ohio.
The increase is a lifeline for overwhelmed county agencies.
Scott Britton with the Public Children’s Services Association of Ohio uses two words to describe his feelings about the increase in the House budget.
“We were blown away,” said Britton.
Britton said children services providers have been stretched to the limit, largely as a result of the opioid crisis in Ohio.
“We have seen a $109 million dollar increase in placement costs since 2013," said Britton. "These costs are borne largely by counties.”
Britton said that increase is simply unsustainable without the added dollars provided in this budget. Before this increase, Ohio’s public children services had the lowest state funding levels in the nation.
Summit County Children Services is one agency that would welcome the funding increase, according to spokesperson Ann Ream.
“It’ll help child welfare systems to be able to deal with the increase of children in custody and the increase of the number of children that need services in the child welfare systems,” said Ream.
It's estimated round 40 percent of children in foster care are there because of parental drug abuse.