Stakeholders and legislators continue to advocate to improve service capacity and delivery for youth served by multiple child-serving systems in Ohio. In strong partnership with the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO), a number of legislators created the Joint Legislative Committee on Multi-System Youth through Ohio’s last biennial budget (H.B. 64 of the 131st General Assembly) to study issues affecting multi-system youth, including custody relinquishment. Please see our original post on the charges of this Committee, which was Co-Chaired by Senator Randy Gardner and Representative Sarah LaTourette.
Last summer, after holding seven hearings and receiving testimony from youth and their families, service providers, State Agency officials, and policy experts, the Committee released a list of recommendations to address the needs of multi-system youth and their families. Briefly, the recommendations ask relevant State Agencies to:
- Establish a state-level crisis stabilization fund to address unmet and uninsured needs of Ohio’s multi-system youth and families who are in crisis and/or unable to access appropriate levels of care and services.
- Design a Medicaid-reimbursable service consistent with High-Fidelity Wraparound principles to coordinate the care, services, and supports that youth and their families need.
- Establish a unified strategy for data collection and sharing across child serving systems to identify resource utilization, service utilization patterns and gaps, and monitor outcomes.
- Develop youth and family focused peer support services.
- Modernize Ohio’s Family and Children First Councils.
- Fund an independent evaluation of timely access to children’s and youth’s residential and inpatient mental health treatment in the State of Ohio.
Now, almost a year after the Legislative Committee held its first hearing, Senator Gardner, Representative LaTourette, and a robust group of stakeholders are working to implement the recommendations above through Ohio’s next biennial budget. The list of multi-system budget requests closely follows the recommendations of the Committee, and it includes both funding and policy items that could be included in Ohio’s budget for State Fiscal Years 2018-2019. Stakeholders will continue to work closely with Senator Gardner and Representative LaTourette, state agencies, and the public to make sure these issues and recommendations are priorities throughout the entire budget process.
On January 30, 2017, Maureen Corcoran and Marisa Weisel of Vorys Health Care Advisors and Gayle Channing Tenenbaum of The Center for Community Solutions presented about multi-system youth to the Attorney General’s Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Health. This Task Force, co-chaired by Attorney General Mike DeWine and Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Retired, and Of Counsel at Vorys, met to discuss criminal justice and mental health issues affecting Ohio’s children and youth. The audience was composed of individuals who work in the fields of criminal justice and/or mental health, both inside and outside of state government. This passionate group demonstrated a deep understanding of children who receive services form multiple systems, and many expressed appreciation for the work being done to bring attention and potential solutions to the challenges facing multi-system youth and their families.