The future of foster care is in danger not just in one county in Ohio, but it exists all over the United States.

Ohio’s Hancock County Children’s Protective Services states that the future of the foster care system is in jeopardy. The number of children placed in the foster care system in that county has risen from 72 in 2015 to 91 in 2017, an increase of 22%, according to a local news article. There are a number of reasons for this, one prominent example being the opioid epidemic that is plaguing our country. Another because the cases are now more complex with children having more issues and the costs to address those issues have increased by 56% since 2015.

Because of the big increase in the demand for their services, there is inadequate funding to provide much-needed services in Hancock County. Also, because of the increase of children placed in care and the lack of foster families, the children are having to be placed farther away, out of their community, which leads to higher transportation costs. Children placed in care are also experiencing a higher number of needs including mental health, counseling, and medical needs which further increases the agency’s expenses. Angie Rader stated that “Just the severity and complexity of these situations and reports and what the situations we are dealing with are so much more than they used to be.”

This issue and concern are not only seen in Hancock County but are all over the state of Ohio and over the United States. So what can be done? Hancock County stated they will use up their 2018 funds by June at the rate they are going. So they are proposing a tax levy for their May ballot. It would generate $2.3 million per year for 10 years. These funds would help alleviate transportation costs and provide assistance for what the children in care need, such as counseling or any medical concerns.

Foster care is essential for our children living in unacceptable conditions. If adequate funding is not available for this program, needed services for these children will be cut.  We need to provide and protect all our children.