With a gracious heart, the Marion County Children Services Board thanks Marion for once again proving to be a community that supports children! On November 6, voters used their power to protect children by approving increased levy funding that will go into effect in 2020. The additional funding is vital, as more children than ever needs the community’s help. Last year alone, one out of every eight children received supportive services from Marion County Children Services.
The community has experienced more child abuse and neglect, more children being displaced from their homes due to imminent safety concerns, and more children being adopted. In 2018, we responded to 931 concerns of child maltreatment and experienced record numbers of children in foster and kinship care. A major contributor to the increased need for our services is Ohio’s substance abuse epidemic and the effects on Marion County’s SILENT VICTIMS – THE CHILDREN.
Statistically, parents who are suffering from the chains of addiction are likely to relapse – some multiple times during their recovery process – thus their children remain in care longer. If parents cannot demonstrate sobriety, or if they fall victim to a fatal overdose, then children come into the permanent custody of our agency. Not surprisingly, the number of children adopted through our agency (10) in 2018 increased 60% since 2014.
Protecting children from abuse and neglect while stabilizing families remains a challenging feat and one that could not be accomplished without our foster parents. In Ohio, more than 16,000 children were in custody on any given day in July 2018. With only 7,200 licensed foster homes available, Ohio’s child protection system is unable to meet the increased need. Marion County is no different. Last year, 134 children were in our agency’s custody with only 33 licensed foster homes as of December 2018. When this occurs, our agency must seek placement through private networks which typically means the child/ren will be displaced from their community – their support network. It takes 100% heart to be a foster parent. If you have the heart to open your home to a child in need, please check out our website at marionkids.com or contact us for more information. We would love to help you get started on your journey.
Again, thank you for your continued commitment to safe children and strong families. Please take a moment to review our 2018 Community Report and do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or presentation requests.
Jacqueline Ringer, MPA/LSW