State Representatives Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) today announced that House Bill 485 has been passed by the Ohio House. The legislation would establish the Office of Human Services Innovation within the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS). It is a part of the mid-biennium review (MBR) package as suggested by Governor Kasich’s administration.

The new office would examine state government assistance programs that are run by ODJFS, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) boards, and other departments to more effectively and efficiently meet the needs of unemployed Ohioans in order to get them back to work.

It would also centralize and streamline the complexities and defects of the numerous and varied systems of public assistance currently in place in Ohio. With county JFS offices overwhelmed by such processes, the Office of Human Services Innovation seeks to remove the additional workload and ensure a stronger case management system for local offices.

Rep. Smith said, “This bill seeks to lift up Ohioans who are out of work, while updating our current systems of government assistance to make them more efficient and better able to serve the unemployed. Less bureaucracy at the local level will foster better relationships between county JFS offices and their constituent cases.”

Furthermore, the director of ODJFS must establish the new office’s organizational structure, reassign staff and resources to the office, and is responsible for its operations under the bill.

“The creation of this office will make for an easier process for those who are struggling to find employment and have their basic needs met. It will provide citizens with the assistance they need to better themselves and find steady employment,” said Rep. Johnson.

House Bill 485 will now go to the Ohio Senate for deliberation.

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