By: Tara Britton, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy | Edward D. and Dorothy E. Lynde Fellow
Gayle Channing-Tenenbaum, Consultant
The state’s current operating budget, approved in July 2019, included dedicated funding of $18 million, across two years, to address the needs of multi-system youth (MSY). MSY are children and teenagers with complex developmental and behavioral health needs that cannot be met by a single state or local agency. The primary goal of this funding was to eliminate the practice of voluntary custody relinquishment, meaning that while no abuse or neglect is occurring, the only way families can access the services their children need is to give up custody of their children.
The primary goal of this funding was to eliminate the practice of voluntary custody relinquishment.
There are many real-world examples of families in Ohio who need this type of help. One family, for example, was extremely concerned about the serious destructive behaviors their son was exhibiting. Officials with the developmental disabilities agency and other public systems saw that this child was putting other family members, and himself, at risk. Before this state level funding existed, this child would have been at serious risk of voluntary custody relinquishment. The creation of the state fund allowed the child’s parents to apply for help through their local Family & Children First Council and he is now living in the least restrictive setting possible and receiving the treatment he so badly needs. His family has also been able to decorate his room with special things for the first time. And most importantly he is safe and receiving treatment for his multi needs, and his family is safe at home.
As described in the example above, in order to distribute funds from the MSY Technical Assistance and Funding Program, the state developed an application process that flows through county Family and Children First Councils. Applications are reviewed on a weekly basis at the state level by a core team of individuals from across relevant state agencies. This team makes decisions about whether to fund the services requested. Applications can be submitted on behalf of children and families for direct services ranging from out-of-home residential care to respite care. Applications can also be submitted by counties that are in need of technical assistance to provide care for a child.
As of June 30, the state received 308 applications to utilize this funding source.
As of June 30, the state received 308 applications to utilize this funding source. To date, 212 young people and their families have been funded and 42 technical assistance cases have been funded. These funded cases span 66 counties and amount to over $5 million. The state recently revised the application for these funds, and the data collected through the applications will help us better understand the range of services funded.
|Number of Applications Submitted||Applications for Child/Family Funded||Applications for County Technical Assistance Funded||Total Applications (Children/ Family and Tech. Assistance)||Total Amount Distributed||Counties w/ at Least One Funded Application|
These funded cases span 66 counties and amount to over $5 million.
We are getting near weekly updates on the use of these funds and are routinely learning more and more about how they are used. We will continue to work to share this information, as well as help to ensure families know that these funds are available.