In 2014, six counties volunteered to participate in an exciting pilot project known as Youth-Centered Permanency Roundtables (PRTs), led by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO) with funding from Casey Family Programs. For the pilot, the target population is youth 12 and older who have been in care 17 months or longer.
Athens County Children Services, Fairfield County Job and Family Services, Guernsey County Children Services, Montgomery County Job and Family Services, Summit County Children Services, and Hamilton County Job and Family Services participated in Round 1 of the Youth Centered PRT model: a focused effort to find permanency for long staying youth. The model has demonstrated early success in Colorado. These counties are green on the above map. In 2015, 5 more counties volunteered to join the pilot during Round 2. These agencies are: Butler County Children Services, Clark County Department of Job and Family Services, Mahoning County Children Services, Stark County Division of Children Services and Trumbull County Children Services. These counties are blue on the above map.
Business analysts at SACWIS have made changes in that system so that tracking success and evaluating the pilot will be easier. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption - with its own permanency project, Wendy's Wonderful Kids - assisted with the rollout. The Ohio Child Welfare Training Program (OCWTP) prepared a pool of trainers (including foster alums) to train agency staff and community stakeholders on the permanency values that are so central to the project as well as on the specific skills for facilitating successful PRTs. ODJFS has contracted with the Family and Youth Law Center (FYLaw) to administer the pilot and its advisory council. Because many of the identified children are currently placed outside public foster care, the Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies (OACCA) has agreed to join the effort.
CASEY FAMILY PROGRAMS AND PERMANENCY ROUNDTABLES
As part of Casey Family Programs’ mission to safely reduce the number of children in foster care by 50 percent by the year 2020, Casey began working with jurisdictions in 2008 to expedite permanency for youth in care through permanency roundtables. Casey’s ultimate goal is to share its knowledge of what works best to help child welfare systems provide the best service possible, so that more children and families stay together and thrive. Casey strategic consultants work with jurisdictions to meet the needs identified by the jurisdiction to create a partnership that will safely reduce the number of children and youth in out-of-home care.
Casey’s purpose of permanency roundtables is to provide a jurisdiction with the opportunity to examine its child welfare system and determine where the greatest need for expediting permanency lies. Other states that are utilizing this model include: Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, New Hampshire and Oklahoma.