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Ohio’s Opioid Epidemic and Need For Foster Parents

“There is a growing chasm between the number of available foster families and the increasing number of children who enter the child welfare system because one or both of their parents are drug addicts…Today I want to issue a call to Ohioans who may be interested in being a foster parent. I ask them to make that leap and open their home to a kid or kids who could use a stable, loving home.”

–Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

On August 24th 2017, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine held a press conference to talk about the growing need for foster families in Ohio and new initiatives aimed at attracting individuals to become licensed foster parents.  Ohio has been one of the hardest hit by the recent Opioid epidemic; having the nation’s highest rate of deadly heroin overdoses and the child welfare system is feeling it. According to Franklin County Children Services, there are 3,000 more children in the child welfare system than there were seven years ago when the opioid crisis began. Currently in Ohio there are more than 15,000 kids in the child welfare system, but only 7,200 foster families taking them in.  Families are needed for all age children and they are needed now!

New initiatives have been put into place in hopes more Ohioans will open their homes. These include:

1.)A new foster home recruitment website . This website includes information on the requirements for becoming foster parents and a directory of private foster care agencies in Ohio where individuals can become licensed.

2.)A 1 million dollar grant that was awarded to the Waiting Children Fund to implement kinship family and foster family recruitment in ten Ohio counties.

3.)Required BCII background checks being expedited to a 24 hour turnaround time for foster parent applicants.

 

Are you able to meet Ohio’s growing need and take a child or children into your home? If you are interested in becoming a foster parent you can contact us at: kbanks@umchohio.org or 614-559-2800.

Want to learn more? Listen to the press conference in full here.

 

Our New Treatment Facility

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We have some exciting news to share with you! UMCH Family Services has officially moved into our new location on East Broad Street in downtown Columbus. Here, our Outpatient Mental Health, Psychiatric, Treatment Foster Care and Adoption programs have come under one roof and into one cutting-edge facility. We designed this facility to be conducive to the treatment needs of children who have experienced significant trauma. Often these children do not respond, or do not respond as well to traditional treatment methods because trauma changes the brain in a way that makes it important to respect the sensory impact of the environment. That’s why multiple spaces throughout our building offer activities for gross motor skills, therapeutic art and sensory calming. These spaces help to regulate the arousal system and calm the heightened state of fear many traumatized children experience.

Therapy rooms:

Our therapy rooms are painted in soft, soothing colors, are clutter free and have large home-like chairs and sofas creating a comfortable environment for both parents and children. Each room gives our clients a sense of safety, confidentiality, creativity, and opportunity and is outfitted with many therapeutic tools such as games, art supplies, puppets, toys and books.

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Play Therapy rooms:

Children dealing with trauma or who have other special needs may have trouble processing or filtering many sensations at once or may not process sensory messages quickly or efficiently. Often, a traditional office environment is overwhelming for a child and they may not be able to participate in traditional talk therapy. We don’t want anything to get in the way of helping the children we treat; therefore, the design of our therapy rooms has kept these factors in mind. We have specific rooms designated for sensory items such as sand and water tables where children can work along with their therapist on regulation and sensory skills. Sand and water tables may also assist children in verbalizing their emotional states, particularly in the face of trauma, neglect, or abuse.

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Gross Motor Room:

Children affected by trauma may be affected in multiple ways; cognitively, socially, emotionally and even physically. We offer a large gross-motor room full of tools to assist children in working through their challenges along with their therapist. This room helps children to make a connection between their mind and their body and houses items such a sensory swing which provides the sensory input kids need to calm and organize allowing them to better process and focus on their treatment. It also encourages movement and exercise. As kids climb in, stretch out and move around inside the swing, they learn body awareness, balance, motor planning and spatial skills. This room is also full of soft mats, inflatables, balls and more inviting children to touch and play in a socially appropriate manner.

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Training Room:

The advances our industry has made over the past decade in treating children who have experienced trauma are astounding. Our staff continually seeks to stay abreast and to pass along valuable training to our foster parents. We’ve developed a large training facility located on our lower level that can host trainings for up to 50 individuals. This spacious learning environment with large television screens, a top of the line sound system and comfortable seating provides an area to host our ongoing foster parent and staff trainings covering topics such as trauma, abuse and neglect and the Neurosequential Model of Therapy.

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Staff Rooms:

Working with traumatized children can be demanding and we want to do it to the best of our ability. Therefore, UMCH made certain to create a healthy and inviting atmosphere for staff to work in. We know that healthy adults create healthy kids. Clinicians have “touch down” locations where they can complete documentation comfortably after serving out in the community. There are also several meeting rooms located throughout the office where staff can gather to complete work and meet with one another. Kitchenette areas are located on the third floor and lower level where staff can prepare meals and eat with one another during a busy work day.

UMCH also included a bicycle and treadmill desk available for staff to work from and get some exercise at the same time. Not only can staff burn some calories, but treadmill and bicycle desks have been proven to reduce stress, increase creativity, increase productivity, lower blood pressure and help maintain strong bones.

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