COLUMBUS—State Senator Bob Peterson
(R-Washington Court House), co-sponsor of Senate Bill 6, yesterday joined his Senate colleagues in passing this important legislation that will set guidelines for charitable organizations such as Safe Families for Children
to continue to provide their services in Ohio.
The Safe Families program allows a parent in a crisis situation to temporarily request that their children be hosted by a fully screened and vetted "host family" for an agreed-to period of time. Under current law, some states have questioned its legality and have blurred the lines between foster care and the Safe Families program.
"It was an honor to vote on this important piece of legislation that will ensure these types of programs continue to help keep Ohio families together," said Peterson. "When families fall on tough times, that does not always mean they intend to abandon their children. This legislation allows for a temporary solution that can act as an alternative to foster care, giving children a better chance of being reunited with their parents."
Circumstances that may qualify a family to become a part of the program are military service, temporary incapacitation, incarceration, medical and mental health treatment or other similar temporary circumstances that may prevent a family from taking adequate care of a child for a period of time.
During the committee process, the Health and Human Services Committee agreed to adopt a number of clarifying and technical changes prior to the full Senate passage. For example, the substitute bill clarifies that a child's parent, guardian, legal custodian, host family or the qualified organization that arranged the host family agreement is responsible for requesting any extension to the original agreement.
Additionally, provisions were added that give additional guidance for the requirement for in-home supervision of a child who is staying with a host family.
For more information on Senate Bill 6, visit the Ohio Legislature's website by clicking here