A child welfare program in charge of investigating reports of child abuse and neglect as well as providing support and services to families in crisis.
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS):
oversees Ohio’s foster care system. Foster parents must meet specific requirements and be licensed by ODJFS.
When children are in foster care they are in temporary custody of the county children services agency that removed them from their birth home. Children in temporary custody are not available for adoption. Their case plan might be to reunify them with their birth parents or other relatives, or the county may be pursuing permanent custody which would make the child available for adoption.
A youth up to 18 or 21 years of age, placed in the custody of the local county social services system, through no fault of their own.
Foster Care Placement:
A family foster home, a group home setting, or a residential treatment facility where a youth will temporarily reside until an appropriate permanent solution is found.
A voluntary relative or non-relative adult who is licensed and approved to protect, nurture, educate, and care for a youth.
A county public children services agency goes to court to obtain temporary custody of a child when it is determined that the birth parents are not able to keep the child safe. The county social workers will work with the birth family toward resolving the issues the family is experiencing and returning the child to his/her parents. There are laws that limit how long the county can work toward reunification. Temporary custody means that the birth family still has some “residual” rights, but that the county has legal responsibility to make decisions for the child. Children in temporary custody may be living in foster care, in residential treatment, or even with their birth families.
Aging Out of Foster Care:
Each year approximately 20,000 children “age out” of the U.S. child welfare system without a permanent adoptive family. They are often cut off financially and left without the support and guidance of loving adults. Many drop out of school, are unemployed, and become dependent on public assistance, while others end up in prison, homeless, or as parents at an early age.
A program in Ohio that extends housing and other supportive services to eligible young adults who leave foster care on or after their 18th birthday but are not yet 21. Northeast Ohio Adoption Services is a Bridges provider.
Family Level Foster Care:
This level of foster care is intended for children whose behaviors are moderate to mildly challenging. Family level foster parents are required by the ODJFS to complete 40 hours of training every two years after the completion of the initial pre-service training. 60 hours of training are required every two years.
Treatment Level Foster Care:
To become treatment level foster parents, the foster parents must have significant experience in caring for children with special needs. You will learn about these requirements during the pre-service classes and during the family assessment. Treatment Level foster parents have extensive involvement in their foster child’s treatment plan, counseling, and education. They provide therapeutic interventions in the home and have increased requirements for on-going education. Treatment level foster parents are part of a team of professionals that includes Northeast Ohio Adoption Services (NOAS) staff, PCSA staff, mental health counselors and others.
Regardless of the level of care, both the PCSA and NOAS have the goal of permanency in mind. This means the serious pursuit of an exit strategy from the foster care system. For many of the children we serve, the permanency is achieved by adoption; for other children, our staff and foster parents are focused on reunifying the child with his or her birth family.
To get started, potential foster parents attend education groups which are referred to as pre-service classes. The classes are geared to help parents decide if foster care is right for them. Northeast Ohio Adoption Services licenses all families for both foster care and adoption. Click Here for a list of upcoming classes.
Family Assessment (Home Study):
Working with Permanency Planning Specialists, prospective foster parents will focus on assessing their own skills and deciding what type of child(ren) will be right for them. There will be ample time for questions. Generally involving 3-5 home visits, individual interviews with each household member is part of the family assessment process. Generally, a family assessment is completed within 4-5 months after the receipt of the family’s application. The assessment needs to be updated every two years.
Foster parents are paid a daily rate (per-diem board rate) for children placed in their homes. The rates are different for family level and treatment level care. It is intended to help offset the costs of caring for the child. We offer a competitive per-diem rate.
Our social workers provide a high level of support to our foster care families and the children in their care. We offer 24 hour agency access for emergencies.
Children placed with our foster families attend public school and receive services in the community where the foster family resides. We encourage the foster children to participate in community, school, recreational, and cultural activities.
Foster parents are expected to demonstrate consideration for, and sensitivity to, the racial, cultural, ethnic, religious, gender, gender identity, gender orientation, and gender expression backgrounds of foster children.
We emphasize behavior management methods that stress praise and encouragement for desired behavior rather than punishment. It is expected that each foster child will be treated with kindness, consistency, and respect. Discipline is defined more in depth in the Foster Care Policy Statement.
Our foster families live within a 90-minute driving distance from our Warren office.
The NOAS “Foster Care Policy Statement,” “Statement of Philosophy and Adoption Policy,” and “Ohio Adoption Guide” will be given to parents during the education classes.