SB Family First Transition and Support Act

TOLEDO, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited Lucas County Children’s Services following his introduction of the Family First Transition and Support Act, which would to increase investment and support for child welfare as Ohio counties struggle to make sure children are cared for, especially in light of the addiction crisis. Brown’s bill builds on legislation passed by Congress last year that transforms the way government funds child welfare services.     

“As a society, we simply leave too many children behind. Child welfare agencies are overwhelmed by the number of kids entering the system, and the addiction crisis is only making it worse. For one third of all the children entering the system in Ohio, parents’ substance abuse is listed as one of the causes. We have to do better,” said Brown. 

Brown was joined today by Robin Reese, Director of Lucas County Children Services to talk about the increased strain on Ohio counties to care for children because of the addiction epidemic and Mindy Delvaux, who is raising two family members due to the addiction epidemic in Ohio.  

“Children who can’t live with their parents need to know that they have family that cares for them. Laws like the Family First Transition and Support Act will make it easier for relative caregivers to step up and provide the care these children need. It’s not that we don’t want to do it; it’s a matter of being able to afford to do it,” said Ms. Delvaux. 

“It’s become evident over the past couple of years that the current model of caring for kids in foster care is unsustainable. The cost and number of foster homes needed just can’t keep pace with the need. With the Family First Transition and Support Act, foster care can continue to play an important role in child protection, but we will be able to give relatives the resources they need to keep their relative children from entering foster care to begin with,” said Ms. Reese. 

Brown’s Family First Transition and Support Act would:     

  • Create a new kinship placement program fund to expand funding for kinship support services, which help family members raising children pay for essential needs and services, such as childcare, and transportation. This is especially important with the rise of family members raising children due to the addiction crisis. 
  • Invest in child welfare caseworker training and development. 
  • Work to enhance the child welfare Court Improvement Program and provide new resources to help recruit and retain foster parents. 

Brown’s bill has the support of more than 180 organizations. More information about the bill can be found HERE. 

Last year, President Trump signed Brown’s bipartisan  Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act into law. The bill established a Federal Task Force to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren to identify, coordinate and share information and resources to help grandparents and other relatives who are stepping up to raise children meet the needs of kids in their care while maintaining their own health and well-being. Ohio has seen a large increase in grandparents raising grandchildren because of the addiction epidemic. 

Last week, Brown also helped introduce the Grandfamilies Act, which would provide important resources for family members caring for relative children. The bill would help family members have better access to Social Security benefits and housing, as well as encourage states to update guardianship laws.