State Representative Sarah LaTourette (R-Chesterland) today joined State Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) and others at a press conference to announce recommendations made by the Joint Legislative Committee on Multi-System Youth—a committee tasked with looking at the challenges facing Ohio’s children who are involved in multiple state services and specifically how to best eliminate the need for custody relinquishment.

As vice chair, Rep. LaTourette spoke about the work achieved by the committee.

“It has been an honor to be vice chair of the Joint Committee on Multi-System Youth and I am incredibly proud to work alongside such thoughtful and knowledgeable colleagues as we seek to address the challenges facing youth that receive services from multiple state agencies,” Rep. LaTourette said. “Through our work on the committee, our efforts are aimed at streamlining the process to ensure we are providing cost-effective, meaningful services to these youth. We hope our work leads to positive change and additional support for youth across the state.”

As outlined in the state operating budget passed last year, the committee is charged with addressing issues facing youth who are in need of services from two or more of the following:
• The child welfare system
• The mental health and addiction services system
• The developmental disabilities services system
• The juvenile court system

Recommendations made by the committee include:
• Improving data collection and sharing related to multi-system youth to inform state and local decision-making capabilities
• Ensuring that youth and families have access to peer support and peer mentor programs with a consistent funding source
• Establishing a safety net of state level funding for multi-system youth
• Ensuring that youth with moderate to severe needs have access to a High Fidelity Wraparound service
• Modernizing Family and Children First Councils
• Creating a Children’s Congregate Care Study Committee

The committee held seven public hearings and included testimony from various experts on this issue. Youth and parents who have first-hand experience in these systems also provided insight during the committee process. According to committee members, the youth input was invaluable to the committee findings and was relied upon heavily when drafting the recommendations contained in the report.

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