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Cutrona Supports Bipartisan Bills on House Floor

The bills prevent discrimination against blind parents, help military children
December 2, 2020
Al Cutrona News

Today, State Rep. Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) supported two significant pieces of legislation that unanimously passed out of the Ohio House, House Bills 188 and 558. Cutrona is a cosponsor of each bipartisan bill.

House Bill 188 prohibits denying or limiting care of a minor from an individual suffering from blindness. Under the bill, a court, public children services agency (PCSA), private child placing agency (PCPA), or private noncustodial agency (PNA) are prohibited from using a person’s disability as a reason to deny or limit that person’s care of the child, except when necessary to serve the best interests of the minor. Additionally, the legislation allows a court, PCSA, PCPA, or PNA to determine if a person’s blindness or disability would have a detrimental impact on the health, safety, and welfare of the child by following certain requirements established by the bill.

“Parents suffering from blindness should not be denied their rights to have custody of their children, except only in necessary circumstances – this legislation aims to fix discrimination those individuals have faced,” said Cutrona.

Under House Bill 558, it requires public children services agencies to report child abuse or neglect in military families to the appropriate military authorities. Specifically, it requires military services to establish Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with state and local child welfare services to collaborate on the oversight of cases involving military families. However, county welfare agencies may not have the authority or direction to collect this information or share it with the appropriate Department of Defense authorities.

“We must always stand with our military families and I was proud to support this bill today,” said Cutrona. “This bill enhances the process for child welfare case workers to ask clients if they’re associated with the military, ultimately, this will help with coordination between these agencies and military services for these children.”

Both bills now head to the Senate for further action.

“It’s great to see bipartisanship on these two problems troubling certain Ohioans,” said Cutrona. “We’ve seen successes so far during our lame-duck session, and I look forward to continue supporting solutions helping our citizens through the remainder of this year.”