Governor announces recommendations for children services changes

Children Services
Children Services

Ohio’s governor announced that he received 37 recommendations from his children’s services transformation council and said that he hopes to implement many of them quickly.

“We must give our most vulnerable children the opportunities they deserve to live fulfilling lives, and these recommendations are a crucial step toward accomplishing that,” Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday. “I am grateful for the advisory council’s hard work and commitment, along with the hundreds of Ohioans who provided their personal testimonies. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of Ohio’s children and families.”

The recommendations cover topics in the topics of prevention, workforce, practice, kinship, foster care, adoption and juvenile justice. They include strengthening relationships between birth families and foster parents to establishing a statewide, multisystem data exchange system and instituting a statewide children services ombudsman who can independently investigate and resolve complaints made by or on the behalf of children and families.

Changes in children’s services in Ohio have been of special interest to those in Montgomery County after the death of 10-year-old Takoda Collins. The Dayton Daily News reported that the local agency was contacted numerous times before authorities say Collins was killed. His father and two other adults who lived in his home face criminal charges in the case.

ExploreTimeline of Dayton Daily News coverage of children services controversy

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office called for reforms to how local authorities investigate child abuse cases after the Dayton Daily News’ coverage of the tragedy.

DeWine said the council was formed to address broader issues with children’s services in Ohio, but the local case has made an impact.

-“Anytime there have been high-profile cases, great tragedies, it’s impacted me. What happened, whether it was in Cincinnati, in Dayton, Cleveland or wherever it is, these tragedies, I always look at them and say ‘That’s our child, we have a responsibility to that child, and something went wrong. Something went tragically wrong.’ So yes, what is going on in Dayton certainly has had an impact on me. We just have to do better for these kids,” the governor said.

“We have children services workers who are working very very hard, we have to make very difficult decisions. We have juvenile judges who have to make horrible difficult decisions as well. So what we want to do is provide all of them the best help we can,” DeWine said.

In Other News