(Ohio) – The state of Ohio is planning to increase payments to approved relatives taking care of children removed from the custody of their parents.
Even when family members aren’t licensed caregivers, they qualify. The increased payments were ordered by a court and are expected to go into effect in the next few months. According to reports, the purpose is to eliminate a disparity between licensed foster care providers and relatives such as grandparents or aunts and uncles who have been asked to care for kids they are related to.
The move comes after pressure from child advocates citing a 2017 federal appeals court ruling ordering equity in these kinds of payments. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has noted the state is currently working on a program to satisfy the decision.
The need for foster care parents and the frequency of relatives stepping in has increased significantly because of the opioid crisis. Approximately 16,000 children are in custody in Ohio today, an increase of more than 20% compared to five years ago.
Currently, relatives caring for children they are related to, but who aren’t licensed foster care providers – known as kinship providers – receive roughly $290 per month for one child. That’s compared to a licensed foster care provider receiving anywhere from $600 to $6000 per month for a single child. That also does not account for additional payments for children with special needs, which typically go into effect once a court has granted custody.