NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (May 12, 2022) – Tuscarawas County’s Job and Family Services office is preparing to launch a new program to assist with foster care placements.
Director David Haverfield says they’ve received state funding to have a full-time staff member dedicated to identifying relatives of children in their care who can provide support, resources, or serve temporary guardians.
“If we can identify an aunt who can take custody of the kids, maybe there’s a cousin who can take them for a weekend or a grandparent who can transport them to sports practice, so it’s really about exhaustively exploring family options for our kids.”
The program called Kinnect to Family aims to identify a minimum of 80 relatives per child and increase the kinship placement rate to at least 70 percent for the two years the program is being funded.
“Time and time again, even when cases are over, we from someone who said, ‘Gosh, I would have loved to have helped but nobody ever found me. I didnt’ know anything about it.”
He says the program should help alleviate some of the strain on the foster care system.
“Really the idea with Kinnect to Family is that the best people to raise children are in the families that they come from. What we’re seeing right now, and it’s sort of a separate problem, is that we’re struggling with foster placements… We are in a crisis to find foster placements for some of our kids so this is anothe way we can hopefully help keep kids connected with family.”
The agency has already filled the new position from within. Haverfield says the person stepping into the role just wrapped up a week of training in Cleveland and is getting ready to start on their first case.