Protect life and consider helping foster children

Ohio is in the midst of a foster care crisis. There are too many kids in need of a safe place to live and not enough people willing to provide it. According to an investigation by WBNS-Columbus, that means Ohio children sometimes end up sleeping and living in county office buildings when foster placements can’t be found. Sometimes that means a few hours, but sometimes it means days in which a struggling and vulnerable child is living in an office building.

One example reported by WBNS involved a teenage girl who had lashed out after being stuck in the Franklin County Children Services building for nearly a week in July. When Whitehall police arrived, she said she had been sleeping there and had no where to go. A Children Services worker later confirmed to police that the girl had, indeed, been living in the office building for “quite a few days.”

It’s not difficult to understand the girl’s frustration.

“This is where she’s been sleeping and everything?” an officer asks, according to a recording obtained by WBNS.

“Yeah, she’s been here for quite a few days so she’s kinda taken over this room,” an FCCS supervisor replies.

Imagine being a child already in crisis to the degree that officials believed it was best to remove her from the home, and then being stuck in an office for long enough she felt she needed to fend for herself and take over a room to live in.

“Unfortunately, you see that some of these kids are there for an extended period of time,” Brooke Cano, a Whitehall officer who has responded to numerous calls for service involving foster children at the FCCS Whitehall offices, told WBNS.

Perhaps this is a two-fold problem, in that some Children Services agencies don’t have their ducks in a row; and there aren’t enough willing foster families ready to help vulnerable kids.

Ordinary citizens can do something about only one part of that problem — but it is something more individuals and families should consider. Plenty of us talk a good game about wanting to do what is right for children, protecting life, all of that. But when the opportunity presents itself to make a real difference for the life of a child, we shy away.

It is tough to imagine the damage being done, as too many across the state are left feeling as the young lady in Franklin County felt. They have nowhere to go.



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