State Reps. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) and Susan Manchester (R-Lakeview) today announced the unanimous passage of House Bill (HB) 8, their bipartisan bill to simplify Ohio’s foster caregiver training laws. With the number of displaced children increasing—in part because of opioid related deaths and offenses—Ohio’s foster care system is struggling with the volume and cost of placing children in foster care.
“This legislation will cut back the red tape so that those who are on the frontlines of Ohio’s foster care crisis can act swiftly and effectively,” said Rep. Galonski. “It is our job as legislators to protect our most vulnerable population: our children. HB 8 alleviates a heavy burden on Ohio’s foster care system while also prioritizing the well-being of our children. I am proud to spearhead this bipartisan effort and delighted that we were able to move it through the House quickly.”
HB 8 allows for twenty percent of pre-placement training for foster caregivers to be offered online and remove the current statutory requirements. The bill also allows Ohio Jobs and Family Services to determine training requirements for caregivers, so long as they are compliant with national standards.
“I am thrilled to see House Bill 8 pass out of the House with overwhelming support,” Rep. Manchester shared. “As a result of the opioid epidemic, our foster care needs have increased by 25 percent in recent years. This bill will ensure more qualified parents are equipped to lend helping hands to our kids in the foster care system. Addressing the shortage of foster caregivers in Ohio is long overdue and I am deeply humbled to sponsor this legislation with Rep. Galonski.”
Proponents from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Public Children Services Association of Ohio, Ohio Children’s Alliance and Summit County Children’s Services all offered testimony during the bill’s hearings in the House Health Committee. There was no opponent testimony in committee, and the legislation passed the full House Thursday with strong support.
The bill was given priority status for the 133rd General Assembly by House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) and Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) last month. Following its passage in the House, HB8 will move to the Senate for consideration.