CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cuyahoga County Division of Kids and Household Providers is contemplating choices to beat a scarcity of locations to deal with foster kids, together with elevating the speed it pays foster households and residential services.
Well being and Human Providers Director David Merriman mentioned the choices Wednesday throughout a County Council committee listening to referred to as to handle a WEWS Channel 5 report of a teen being housed in a county workplace constructing for greater than a month whereas awaiting a foster-care placement.
Merriman informed Council’s Well being and Human Providers Committee that the county doesn’t wish to home kids at its Kids and Household Providers workplace constructing, however a scarcity of locations keen to just accept the county’s foster kids left no different choices.
Requested by the committee what number of kids have stayed on the constructing for greater than a “day or two” over the previous yr, Merriman was unable to say, however stated he would receive a solution for council members.
A part of the issue is that what the county pays to put kids isn’t at all times aggressive with what different Ohio counties and out-of-state companies provide, stated Merriman, who didn’t disclose the county’s per-diem price to committee members.
Youngsters with behavioral points or different boundaries are also harder to put, notably as a result of many residential services serving troubled youth — reminiscent of Parma’s Parmadale Institute — have gone out of enterprise, Merriman stated.
And the coronavirus pandemic is also hampering the county’s efforts to search out foster households, as many dad and mom have stated they’re involved about bringing a brand new particular person into their houses as a result of well being causes, Merriman stated.
The county is now contemplating a number of choices to search out houses for foster kids. They embody:
•Making an attempt to steer services within the county to deal with native foster kids moderately than out-of-county kids. Merriman stated that is the county’s most popular choice, however didn’t provide specifics about how the county will persuade suppliers to take part.
Mentioned Merriman: “If Franklin County pays greater than us and we want the mattress simply as a lot as them…then we’re going to have to speak to them about how they’ll acknowledge the distinctive wants of a [county] resident that must be positioned on this county.”
•Upping the per diem price the county pays suppliers. The county continues to be contemplating how a lot it would want to boost charges to stay aggressive. However Merriman referred to as it a “funds matter” and Cuyahoga County, like different native governments, is chopping again on spending to offset revenues misplaced to the coronavirus pandemic.
•Ramping up its “30 Days to Household” pilot program, or kinship care program which each search to put kids with members of the family or different adults near the household. Merriman stated the county might be extra “aggressive” with such time-consuming efforts.
•Reconstructing or modifying a portion of the Kids and Household Providers constructing to raised accommodate kids who want to remain there for a protracted interval. Such modifications may embody extra room to permit for social-distancing.