Manchester: Foster care reform signed into law


COLUMBUS – State Rep. Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield, 84th District, announced her legislation revising the requirements for foster caregiver training in Ohio has been signed into law.

House Bill 8 will help potential foster parents to be trained, licensed, and approved in a more efficient and effective manner. The goal of the legislation is to increase the number of foster caregivers in Ohio.

“I’ve spoken with those in my district who work hard to support children in our foster care system and ensure that none fall through the cracks,” said Manchester. “I’ve seen firsthand the work they do and the challenges they face, including the need for more foster parents.”

H.B. 8 eliminates the statutory mandate on pre-placement training hours, training hours and continu­ing education hours, as well as the statutory training plans, coursework and needs assessment requirements. Under the bill, up to 20 percent of the pre-placement training can be taken online.

The bill does not lower the standards to become a foster caregiver. Instead, it gives the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) the authority and flexibility to establish these standards.

There are currently more than 16,000 boys and girls in foster care in Ohio, a figure that has grown by 25 percent in recent years, driven by the addiction crisis.

In Cleveland this summer, a local TV station found that some children were temporarily living in Cuyahoga County’s Department of Children and Family Services as a “last resort” awaiting placement.

“These children need our help and deserve our support,” added Manchester. “This bipartisan bill is an important step forward in addressing the needs of children in all of our communities by recruiting and retaining more foster caregivers in Ohio.”

Manchester attended a virtual bill signing ceremony with Gov. Mike DeWine Tuesday afternoon. The bill will go into effect after 90 days.