The Children Services Division of Job and Family Services investigates allegations of child abuse, neglect, and dependency. Our goal is to bridge the gap between parents and their children while maintaining the safety and well-being of the children involved.
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SHOULD I GET INVOLVED?
Understanding your role in protecting children is important. Be a voice for vulnerable children. Children who are mistreated can be physically abused, sexually abused, emotionally abused, neglected or abandoned.
Physical Abuse: One of the most common forms of child maltreatment. This is when a parent or caregiver commits an act that results in the physical injury to a child which may include, red marks, cuts, welts, bruises, muscle sprains or broken bones, even if the injury was unintentional.
Sexual Abuse: This is the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent.
Emotional Abuse: This is the maltreatment of a child and can seriously damage a child’s emotional health and development. This is when someone is deliberately attempting to scare or humiliate a child, isolating them or ignoring them.
Neglect: This is the continued failure to meet a child’s basic needs. Failure to provide adequate food, shelter, supervision, medical needs and a failure to protect the child.
Abandonment: When a parent or caretaker responsible for the child deserts the child without regard for their basic needs, safety
WHAT DO I DO IF I SUSPECT CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT?
Call 740-622-1020 between the hours of 7:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m. (M-F)
Call 740-622-2411– during non-business hours. The Sheriff’s Department will make contact
When reporting an allegation of abuse/neglect, you will be asked to provide as much information as you can which will include;
- Your name and phone number
- Family’s name and address
- Names and ages of the children involved
- The name of the school/daycare they attend (if applicable)
- Description of the abuse/neglect that you have observed or suspect
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A REPORT OF CHILD ABUSE/NEGLECT IS MADE?
When a report is made, an intake worker will gather all the relevant information and may ask additional questions. Please be prepared to answer as many as you can. This will help the agency decide how to best respond to your concerns. The agency will then determine if the report meets
CAN I MAKE AN ANONYMOUS REPORT OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT?
Yes, however, a family is never informed of WHO the reporter is. The reporting sources/individuals are kept confidential. If you are prompted to leave a message when reporting abuse or neglect, it is best to leave a name and number in the event the agency needs to contact you for more information.
What is kindship care?
When a child must be removed from his or her home, caseworkers first try to place the child with a family member or close family friend. This is known as kinship care, and it represents the most desirable out-of-home placement option for children who cannot live with their parents. Kinship care offers family preservation and the greatest level of stability by allowing a child to maintain his or her sense of belonging and by enhancing the child’s ability to identify with his or her family’s culture and traditions.
Kinship care can be a temporary or permanent arrangement in which a relative or nonrelative adult who has a long-standing relationship with the child and/or family takes over the full-time substitute care of that child when the parents are unable or unwilling to do so. In many cases, kinship caregivers are grandparents.
It has been estimated that almost 200,000 children in Ohio are being raised by their grandparents or other kinship caregivers, which is at least 7 percent of all children in the state.
Kinship care includes relationships established through an informal arrangement, legal custody or guardianship order, foster care placement, or adoption. Regardless of the type of arrangement, the kinship caregivers’ voluntary commitment to devote their lives to the children in their care is a courageous, life-changing decision.
Kinship Permanency Incentive Program
The Kinship Permanency Incentive Program (KPIP) is designed to encourage kinship caregivers to make permanent commitments by helping defray some of the costs of caring for children. Eligible caregivers receive a one-time payment to reduce
To be eligible for KPIP, a kinship caregiver must have:
• Legal custody or guardianship of the child on or after July 1, 2005, and
• A gross family income of less than 300 percent of the federal poverty guideline.
Kinship caregivers may apply for the program at Coshocton Job and Family Services at 740-622-1020. They must submit to both a family home assessment and a criminal background check.
The Ohio Resource Guide
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services publishes an extensive guidebook for kinship families called “Ohio Resource Guide for Relatives Caring for Children.” To obtain a copy, call 1-866-886-3537 (option 4) or go to http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/inter.asp, click on “Form Name” and search for “Ohio Resource Guide.”
What is foster care?
When children cannot safely remain in their own homes, they are placed in a temporary living situation called foster care. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) develops rules and guidelines to help county agencies implement foster care programs. When a child must be removed from
How do you determine the best placements for children?
Caseworkers first try to place children with a suitable relative, to help maintain family bonds. This is known as kinship care. When kinship care is not an option, the caseworker will attempt to find a suitable non-relative with whom the child or family has a relationship. If the caseworker is unable to place the child with a relative or a non-relative who has a relationship with the family, the child is placed into a licensed foster care setting. This might be a foster home, a residential group home or treatment facility, or an independent living program for youths ages 16 to 18.
Each caseworker strives to achieve a culturally sensitive placement. To preserve relationships and help minimize disruption to the child’s life, caseworkers try to place children in their own neighborhoods or communities whenever possible. When it is believed that the best placement for a child would be in another state, that placement must meet all the requirements of the federal Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). Ohio’s ICPC staff must authorize the placement of all children into Ohio from other states or from Ohio to other states.
How is foster care regulated?
Suitable relatives and non-relatives must either be licensed by ODJFS Foster Care Licensing staff or approved by the local PCSA. Foster Care Licensing staff members conduct inspections of all licensed foster care agencies and facilities, and a sample of each PCSA’s foster homes. The following agencies require licensure:
• Private child-placing agencies, which accept temporary or permanent legal custody of children. These agencies may operate residential facilities (such as group homes, residential centers
• Private noncustodial agencies, which provide many of the same services as private child-placing agencies but do not accept legal custody of children.
• County PCSAs that operate residential programs.
• Local public entities that are not PCSAs but operate residential programs.
The goal of licensing is to determine whether agencies are fit to provide foster care, residential care and/or independent living services. Placement settings — such as foster homes, group homes
How can I become a foster parent?
Anyone who is at least 21 years old is eligible to foster a child. You may be single, married or divorced. You may own or rent your home. Before you are approved to become a foster parent, a caseworker will conduct a home study of your residence and help you determine your parenting strengths. If you are approved, you will receive training, medical coverage and payments to help you meet the daily living needs of the child or children placed in your care. If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, contact Coshocton Job and Family Services at 740-622-1020.
When is adoption considered?
Foster care is intended to be temporary. If a court determines that it is not in a child’s best interest to return home, the agency will take steps to find an alternative, permanent placement for the child. Such placements may include adoption or legal guardianship.
What services are available for children who age-out of foster care?
When a youth turns 18 while in foster care, this is called “aging out.” When
PCSAs also may offer independent living services to help young adults ages 18 to 21, who formerly were in foster care, with rent and other costs.
In addition, the Education and Training Voucher Program
Every child deserves a permanent family — a family where they can be loved, cared for and kept safe. In Ohio, adoption services are provided by public children services agencies, private child placement agencies and private noncustodial agencies, all of which are supervised by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). The mission of ODJFS is to support local agencies in their efforts to decrease the number of children waiting for permanent homes, to prevent discrimination in the placement of children, to identify and recruit permanent families who can meet each child’s needs, and to provide support to families to ensure the stability and well-being of the children in their care.
On any given day in Ohio, more than 3,200 children are waiting for adoptive families. If you would like more information about adoption, contact Coshocton Job and Family Services at 740-622-1020.
Preventing Discrimination in Adoptive Placements
The Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) of 1994 and the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996 prohibit federally funded child placing agencies from denying or delaying placements on the basis of race, color or national origin. They also prohibit agencies from denying or delaying the opportunity for any person to become
Bureau of Civil Rights and the federal Office for Civil Rights when developing policies and training programs and providing guidance to foster care and adoption agencies.
Putative Father Registry
The Putative Father Registry is a computerized database, maintained by ODJFS, which allows anyone who thinks he may have fathered a child to be notified if that child is made available for adoption. If the putative father does not register either before the child’s birth or within 30 days after the child’s birth, the child could be legally adopted without the putative father’s knowledge or consent. If a child is placed for adoption and a putative father is listed in the registry, the father will be notified and can seek legal counsel regarding his rights.
Supporting Families through Adoption Subsidies
Several types of financial subsidies are available to help families meet the special needs of their adopted children:
• Adoption Assistance Program – The Adoption Assistance Program allows states to provide monthly subsidies to eligible families that adopt children with special needs or circumstances. This subsidy is paid for with a combination of federal, state and, in some instances, local funds. Children receiving this benefit may be entitled to additional assistance, including Medicaid coverage.
• State Adoption Subsidy Program – The State Adoption Subsidy Program is a financial assistance program funded entirely by the state of Ohio. It provides monthly subsidies to families that adopt children with special needs who are ineligible for the Adoption Assistance Program. Children who qualify also may beeligible for Medicaid coverage.
• Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy Program – The Post Adoption Special Services Subsidy Program offers eligible families financial assistance to help pay for the treatment of physical, developmental, mental or emotional conditions for children they adopt. Usually, this includes mental health, respite care and counseling services. Ohio has been nationally recognized for this innovative program.
• State Adoption Assistance Loan Fund Program – The State Adoption Assistance Loan Fund Program provides loans to prospective adoptive parents who live in Ohio. The loan money covers adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and other expenses directly related to the legal adoption of a child. A prospective adoptive parent may receive up to $3,000 from the loan program if the child being adopted lives in Ohio and up to $2,000 if the child is from outside Ohio. For additional information on the State Adoption Assistance Loan Fund, contact your local public children services agency, any private adoption agency or any Fifth Third Bank. Visit http://www.53.com or call 1-866-53LOANS to contact a Fifth Third Bank or to find your nearest branch.