COLUMBUS – Legislation enacting key foster care reforms has been introduced by State Representative Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville). HB 533 makes various changes to Ohio’s preplacement and continuing training requirements, as well as expanding individuals permitted to perform the duties of a foster care assessor.

“House Bill 533 marks an important step in the right direction in creating a foster caregiver friendly environment in Ohio,” Pelanda stated. “As the opioid crisis continues, we have seen its effect on families and this include the foster population and the constant need for caregivers. The state of Ohio is among the highest in the nation when it comes to number of training hours required for foster caregivers.”

HB 533 will specifically lessen required training time for preplacement training from 36 hours to 21 hours in family foster homes and specialized foster homes, while also allowing for certain training to be provided online. Additionally, the bill lessens continued training time requirements from 40 hours every two years to 20 hours for family foster homes and from 60 hours every two years to 30 hours for specialized foster homes.

“It is vital that our foster caregivers are properly trained and I have every confidence that our agencies throughout the state are equipped to do so,” Pelanda continued. “However, it is imperative that we create an environment that does not serve as a hindrance for prospective foster caregivers or those wishing to continue that service.”

The legislation also covers the issue of foster care assessors and specifies that a county sheriff or sheriff’s designee may perform the duties of an assessor, pursuant to completing training requirements as adopted by rule.

“Recent studies have shown have shown the average wait time for individuals wishing to foster is ten months,” Pelanda said. “HB 533 will take necessary steps in expanding the list of assessors to alleviate the wait time.”

HB 533 will be assigned to a House committee for consideration in the near future.

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