COLUMBUS — State Representatives Sharon Ray (R-Wadsworth) and Jason Stephens (R- Kitts Hill) will soon be releasing new legislation that would address the workforce shortages facing Ohio’s foster care agencies, according to a news release sent on behalf of the two legislators.
“The new bill looks to make two critical changes in the foster care system by adding to the list of individuals that are qualified to perform home assessor duties and create parity between private and public agencies professional treatment staff,” stated the release.
“I am excited to work with my colleagues on this legislation,” said Stephens. “This bill creates fairness and better access for home assessors throughout Ohio.”
The addition to home assessors would allow individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in human services fields of sociology, psychology, guidance and counseling, education, religious education, business administration, criminal justice, public administration, child-care administration, nursing, and family studies to perform home assessments.
“Such individuals are more than qualified to perform the duties provided by a home assessor and this change will allow the licensed professionals to focus on providing necessary treatment and counseling as permitted by their license,” Ray said.
The new legislation would also close the education and licensure gap between private and public professional treatment staff.
“Both private and public agencies hire professional treatment staff to provide rehabilitative services, home studies, clinical directions and supervise treatment of children in specialized foster homes, yet under current law their education and licensure is different,” said Ray.
The changes in legislation would bring Ohio in line with the requirements of surrounding states including Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and Michigan.