E-News February 2015                                   View this email in your browser

The Director's Corner

Families in Ohio have proven time and time again that when given the opportunity and resources they are up to task of providing some of our most vulnerable children the love and support of a permanent caring and supportive family.  OFCA’s goal is to ensure the parent voice is heard.  OFCA is achieving that goal by educating and connecting family support groups to each other and through advocacy efforts to ensure policy, rules and legislation are fair and consistent.


As a native Ohioan, I am proud of the fact that Ohio families have consistently risen to the challenge. Help get the word out.  If you are a parent group that advocates for change contact me at 614-222-2712 or and let us see how we can help each other help families and children’s in Ohio.  Together we can make a difference.

Wendi Turner

Congratulations Pat McCollum!  

Patricia Ann McCollum receipient of the 2015 NAACP Hometown Hero Award.  


Patricia Ann McCollum, has had more than 70-plus foster care children over the past 21 years and is a long-time advocate for foster care children in the United States. Ms. McCollum also adopted six of her foster children. All of them special, but none more in need than DJ McCollum, now her adopted son. DJ was a burn victim as a baby when his sibling threw a match in his crib and set him ablaze on his first birthday. He was a severely disabled child when Ms. Pat took him at 7 years old. She made sure DJ had over 12 operations, prosthetic limbs, and an education that any other child would have. Although DJ could not speak or hear very well, Ms. McCollum found a way to communicate with him.

OFCA Executive Director Wendi Turner and Ohio Primary Parent Advisory Council (OPPAC) Chair Karen Ezirim traveled to Cincinnati to support OFCA board member Pat McCollum as she was honored by Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and Governor Kasich representative Director of Minority Affairs, Lynn Stevens for her dedication and service to children.  Pat traveled to Los Angeles February 6th to accept the Hometown Hero  award live at the 46th NAACP Image Awards. 

Ohio Grandparent/Kinship Coalition (OGKC)
Where your voice is heard...

Interview with kinship coordinator, Patrick Donavan 

Ezirim family

February’s support group spotlight is on the Ohio Grandparent/Kinship Coalition (OGKC).

OGKC was started by grandparent and parent activist Sandy Powers over 20 years ago in response to the growing number of grandparents raising their grandchildren.  Sandy brought Ohio caregivers together to talk about kinship provider issues and advocate for change.  Over the years the group has evolved into what it is today. 

Wendi Turner:  Patrick thank you for meeting.  Let me ask... What is the purpose of OGKC?  

Patrick Donavan:  Thank you for opportunity to talk about Ohio Grandparent/Kinship Coalition. OGKC provides kinship caregivers and agency kinship care providers support in dealing with issues surrounding kinship care as well as a voice to impact political changes for the welfare of children.

Wendi:  If I were to attend an OGKC meeting who would I see?

Patrick:  OGKC brings together caregivers and representatives from various support agencies throughout Ohio. Caregivers include… grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, godparents, ex-step parents and family friends.  Support agencies include Area Office on Aging, Children Service agencies, Kinship Navigators, ODJFS, PCSAO, Kinship Advisory Board members, and any other programs that offers support to kinship caregivers. 

Wendi: What are the benefits of a caregiver or agency joining OGKC?
Patrick:  By joining OGKC, you can help legislatures and policy makers understand what issues you face as a kinship caregiver or as an agency.  In the process you will develop a network across the state and stay aware of what sorts of things are being talked about or potentially going to be implemented. Programs and grants come and go, and it is not uncommon to find out about a new resource that could help you or families you support.

Wendi: What are some of the successes OGKC has had in past years?

Patrick:  In recent years OGKC helped establish language and recommendations regarding Kinship Permanency Incentive program (KPI) a program designed to offset cost of taking children into your home and HB130/297, which established caretaker authorization and power attorney to handle privacy issues such as medical records and schooling. 

OGKC has a Bi-annual kinship provider conference, geared towards providing education and support to kinship caregivers and anyone that has an interest in helping and supporting kinship providers.  OGKC also achieved 501 (c) 3 status and is continually gaining statewide support for issues confronting kinship providers.

Wendi: What are some of the key issues confronting kinship care?

Patrick:  One of the biggest issues confronting kinship care is the cost of child care. Due to the excessive cost of childcare, children that could go to a relative’s home often end up in foster care.  Increases in the cost of utilities, food, clothing and transportation also create an unexpected financial strain on families willing to care for relatives. 
OGKC seeks to resolve those and other issues by advocating for improved financial support and services for kinship caregivers, by increasing caregiver access to kinship navigators/coordinators through development of a statewide navigator program, by increasing kinship caregivers awareness of educational and support services available through our bi-annual conference, and by building a relationship with Jobs and Family Services (JFS) and others who have a stake in supporting kinship caregivers and the children they serve. 

How do caregivers and agencies get involved?

The Ohio Grandparent/Kinship Coalition meets six (6) times per year. The next meeting is Wednesday, March 25, 2015 10-12:30pm  

Meeting:    Bi-Monthly, every 4th Wednesday

Location:   Overbrook Presbyterian Church
                 4131 North High Street, Columbus OH 43214
Contact :   
Co-President, Tim Harless - (419) 774-6909  
Co-President, Melissa Ruffner -  (513) 785-6881
Or email:

OGKC Statewide Kinship Conference

Partnering with Franklin County Children Services 
September 19, 2015 Columbus OH

Ohio Fostering Connections Act Introduced!

We are very excited to announce that the Ohio Fostering Connections Act was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives as HB 50.  The bipartisan legislation creates a new Title IV-E funded program to serve youth who aged out of foster care, and those adopted after age 16, through their 21st birthdays.  If passed into law, the program would likely be implemented in 2016.

Press Conference on Feb 18
Ohio Fostering Connections is holding a press conference with the bill sponsors February 18 at 10:00am at the Ohio Statehouse Ladies Gallery.  The event is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend.  

Foster parents - Enjoy a night out  
More4Orphans, a ministry of Vineyard Columbus is offering a parents night out to foster parents in Central Ohio Friday February 20, 2015 from 6:30-9:30pm.

Contact for more information.  Foster parent registration extended to Monday February 16, 2015.
Ideas in Shared Parenting
              By Dot Erickson-Anderson
The parenting provided by the primary parent, foster parent, and the agency caseworker or court personnel determines the success of the time when children are in out-of-home care.  The partnership results in consistent and “shared parenting.” Shared parenting is simply two or more adults having joint responsibility for care, nurturing, and decision making for a child.
Most of us in our own childhood and now with our permanent children have experienced shared parenting.  For example, spouses, stepparents, grandparents, day care providers, or babysitters may share parenting tasks. What makes the shared parenting relationships work is good communication, cooperation, support of one another, good planning, joint decision-making, and role clarity.
Shared parenting requires an effort on everyone’s part. If you thought that parenting was the hardest thing you had ever done, you will know that shared parenting is indeed the most complicated and truly the hardest thing you will ever do.  At times the rush to move the child into a permanent solution, is truly the desire to not have to deal with the complexity of shared parenting.
For foster parents the efforts may involve moving to a consciousness of the primary parent’s life.  What are the needs and the feelings the primary parent may have at this moment in their life?  Where do those needs and feelings interact with the needs and feelings of the foster parent or the needs and the feeling of the caseworker or court representatives? 
For children who are in out-of-home care, shared parenting is a day-to-day reality. Their needs and feelings are often presented as the only ones that count. Or they may be completely overruled by the adults in the situation.  However, life is complicated and so is shared parenting. In our decision-making all the needs and feelings of those involved in the shared parenting must be considered.  There must be planning, good communication and cooperation among all parties for shared parenting to work and to meet the child’s needs while addressing their feelings.
Thank you for your willingness to participate in this most difficult role. 

The following bills introduced in Ohio's 131st General Assembly impact child welfare directly or indirectly.  Follow the link for other bills introduced or passed during this session .  Be informed. Be involved.  

Bill Summary/Title Last Action
SB42 To amend sections 3109.051, 3109.11, 3109.12, and 5122.04 and to enact section 5122.041 of the Revised Code regarding minors and outpatient mental health treatment.
Introduce Legislation
HB63 To amend sections 2151.421, 2151.99, and 3109.51 and to enact section 3109.81 of the Revised Code to require mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect to notify the county public children services agency when an attorney in fact under a document ...[Detail][Text][Discuss] 2015-02-11
Introduce Legislation
HB64 To amend sections 9.312, 9.333, 9.83, 9.833, 9.90, 9.901, 109.57, 109.572, 113.07, 118.04, 119.12, 121.03, 121.08, 121.22, 121.372, 122.17, 122.171, 122.174, 122.175, 122.177, 122.64, 122.85, 122.87, 122.95, 122.951, 123.10, 123.28, 123.281, 124.14, ...[Detail][Text][Discuss] 2015-02-11
Introduce Legislation
HB50 To amend section 5101.141 and to enact sections 2111.011, 5101.1411, 5101.1412, and 5101.1413 of the Revised Code to extend the age for which a person is eligible for federal foster care and adoption assistance payments under Title IV-E to age twenty... [Detail][Text][Discuss] 2015-02-10
Introduce Legislation
SB30 To enact section 5101.345 of the Revised Code to create the Ohio Family Stability Commission and to repeal section 5101.345 of the Revised Code four years after the effective date of that section. [Detail][Text][Discuss] 2015-02-09
Introduce Legislation

Your Voice Matters!

Take time to review Ohio Administrative Code Rules currently posted for pre-clearance.  Review and comment on all pending changes at

Rule Comments Open Until
Chapter 5101:2-5 Child Services Agency Licensing Rules.
Application for an agency to perform specific functions; amended applications.5101:2-5-02 03/06/2015 
Certification of an agency to perform specific functions.5101:2-5-03 03/06/2015
Agency appeal of findings of noncompliance.5101:2-5-05 03/06/2015 
Corrective action plans.5101:2-5-06 03/06/2015
Denial or revocation of an agency's certificate or certification to perform specific functions; temporary certificates.5101:2-5-07 03/06/2015 
PCPA and PNA governance and administration.5101:2-5-08 03/06/2015
Child records.5101:2-5-10 03/06/2015 
Consideration to be given to child's religion.5101:2-5-16 03/06/2015 
Discharge summary.5101:2-5-17 03/06/2015 
Recommendations for initial foster home certification.5101:2-5-22 03/06/2015 
Changing the certification of a foster caregiver from one type of foster home to another.5101:2-5-25 03/06/2015
Chapter 5101:2-33 Administrative Requirements.
Adoption administrative falsification procedures.5101:2-33-13 02/25/2015
Statewide automated child welfare information system (SACWIS) access.5101:2-33-70 02/27/2015
Chapter 5101:2-42 Substitute Care.
Requirements for substitute care placement disruptions.5101:2-42-88 02/27/2015
Resources, Training & Articles

The Root- 3 Black Adoptees on Racial Identiy After Growing up in White Homes
Huffington Post - Adopted Chiild Doe and Amended Birth Certificate
The Marion Star - Bill to focus on foster care and guardianship system

Learn about local & statewide post adoption services available for adoptive families
12:00 to 8:00pm
At the Performing Arts Center
Kent State Tuscarawas
330 University Dr. NE
New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663
Sponsored by
Tuscarawas County Job & Family Services
Call (330) 339-7791 Ext. 170 for more information.
Ohio Resource Families United for Advocacy, Education and Support

Our mailing address is:
1151 Bethel Road, Suite 104B, Columbus, OH 43220

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