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By: Dylan Armstrong, Public Policy Fellow and Tara Britton, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy | Edward D. and Dorothy E. Lynde Fellow  

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ (JFS) mission is to improve the well-being of Ohio’s workforce and families by promoting economic self-sufficiency and ensuring the safety of Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens. JFS develops and oversees programs that provide employment, economic assistance, and services to families and children through public assistance programs, child support, workforce development programs, and unemployment compensation.

 The enacted version of H.B. 33 appropriates $2.7 billion for each FY 2024 and FY 2025 for JFS, totaling $5.4 billion over the biennium.

On July 5th, Governor Mike DeWine signed H.B. 33 into law. The enacted version of H.B. 33 appropriates $2.7 billion for each FY 2024 and FY 2025 for JFS, totaling $5.4 billion over the biennium. The largest fund source for the Department is federal funds encompassing 71.7 percent of the enacted total. The General Revenue Fund supports 21.6 percent of the budget, and the remaining funds are from Dedicated Purpose Funds and Fiduciary Funds.


Source FY 2022 Actual FY 2023 Actual FY 2024 Enacted FY 2025 Enacted
General Revenue $906,544,631 $993,401,148 $575,726,000 $583,064,000.00
Dedicated Purpose/ Internal Service $90,779,624 $129,860,037 $65,867,065 $58,972,465
Fiduciary/Holding Account $175,149,249 $114,394,986 $117,500,000 $117,500,000
Federal $2,772,820,324 $3,235,835,054 $1,935,660,001 $1,916,933,306
Total $3,945,293,828 $4,473,491,225 $2,694,753,066 $2,676,469,771

 

Compared to the previous budget for FY 2022 and FY 2023, the budget includes $3.3 billion less for JFS, reflecting two notable changes. The first is federal support to address the COVID-19 pandemic ending and the second is the creation of the new Department of Children and Youth (DCY). DCY consolidates children and youth related programs and works to reduce duplicative programs in state government.  

This results in several children’s services programs transferring from JFS to DCY including adoption, child care, foster care and child welfare. The FY 2024 appropriation is $72.0 million more than FY 2023 spending when excluding expenditures transferring to the new Department.


Source FY 2023 Actual FY 2024 Actual FY 2025 Enacted
General Revenue $517,207,406 $575,726,000 $583,064,000
Dedicated Purpose/ Internal Service $104,171,133 $65,867,065 $58,972,465
Fiduciary/Holding Account $114,394,986 $117,500,000 $117,500,000
Federal $1,886,945,800 $1,935,660,001 $1,916,933,306
Total $2,622,719,325 $2,694,753,066 $2,676,469,771

*FY 2023 spend without expenditures transferring to DCY.

Major Initiatives

Child Support to Nonparent Caretakers H.B. 33 includes two noteworthy changes to the laws concerning nonparent caretakers. First, it allows new child support to be issued and existing child support to be redirected to a nonparent who is the primary caregiver of a child. Second, it allows a nonparent caretaker to file an application for Title IV-D child services with a county child support enforcement agency (CSEA).  

Benefit Bridge Employer Pilot ProgramH.B. 33 creates a new line item for the Benefit Bridge Pilot Employer Program and includes $3.0 million for FY 2024 and $5.0 million for FY 2025. This program is funded from the Department’s Audit Settlements and Contingency Fund, which consists of federal grant revenue and non-general revenue fund cash transfers made by the Director of JFS and approved by the Director of Office of Budget and Management. All unexpended and unencumbered funds from this appropriation for FY 2024 will be reappropriated to FY 2025.


Line Item ALI Name FY2023 Actual Enacted FY2024 Enacted FY2025
490675 Benefit Bridge $0 $3,000,000 $5,000,000.00

This program provides grants to eligible employers to incentivize employees who receive public assistance to complete additional training to receive higher pay to replace the public assistance. To be eligible, an employee must be a recipient of assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Ohio Works First (OWF), Medicaid, or a publicly funded childcare program.

Employer Eligibility and Responsibilities

Registered with the Secretary of State for at least two years.
Provide written intention to engage in the program.
Submit a benefit replacement plan for each participating employee and use a benefit cliff calculator to determine the hourly wage required to replace assistance.
Submit a description of training programs, including financial literacy courses, for each participating employee.
Certify the amount of one-time training incentives that shall be offered, and the wage increase that will be given after the employee completes the training program.
Receive written approval of the employer’s plan and report relevant wage/salary information of participating employees to JFS.

 Participating employers may not receive more than $5,000 per participating employee.

Participating employers may not receive more than $5,000 per participating employee and no more than $100,000 over the course of the pilot program.  

Employment Incentive ProgramAnother new line item included in H.B. 33 is the Employment Incentive Program, which provides County Departments of Jobs and Family Services (CDJFS) funding to operate employment incentive programs. This item is funded from the Department’s Audit Settlements and Contingency Fund, which consists of federal grant revenue and non-general revenue fund cash transfers made by the Director of JFS and approved by the Director of Office of Budget and Management. The budget includes $1.5 million in FY 2024 and FY 2025 for this program.


Line Item ALI Name FY2023 Actual Enacted FY2024 Enacted FY2025
6006B1 Employment Incentive Program $0 $1,500,000 $1,500,000.00

As part of this program, CDJFS are required to create individualized plans and incentives for adults who are consistently increasing their wages and working at least 32 hours a week. Individualized plans for participating individuals must require completion of financial literacy education and submit household budgets to their CDJFS’ caseworker with updates provided at least once every three months. Participants may not participate for a period longer than 18 months and can only participate once.  

SNAP Employment and TrainingOhio’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training (E&T) program provides food benefits to low-income families to supplement their grocery budget. The SNAP E&T Program is designed to provide individuals with an opportunity to develop job skills and experience to assist them in obtaining gainful employment so that Food Assistance Benefits are no longer required.

 Participants may be required to participate in a Work Activities plan for a specific number of hours per month to continue receiving Food Assistance Benefits.

Program participants are assigned to complete an appraisal with an Employment Services Worker who will inquire into employment goals and discuss barriers. Participants may be required to participate in a Work Activities plan for a specific number of hours per month to continue receiving Food Assistance Benefits. These can include Job Search Assignments, OhioMeansJobs registration, and/or a Work Experience Program assignment.  

The Department utilizes the General Revenue Fund supported line-item Family Assistance-Local to provide CDJFS’s the state’s share of county administration costs for public assistance programs, primarily for Food Assistance, including SNAP and Disability Assistance programs. The enacted budget includes $53.2 million in each FY 2024 and FY 2025. This item includes $43.9 million earmarked in each fiscal year for this purpose and includes $2.5 million in each fiscal year to assist county departments with prevention, early detection, and investigation of fraud. A portion of this line item, along with the Program Operations item, are used as a match for the SNAP program.


Line Item ALI Name FY2023 Actual Enacted FY2024 Enacted FY2025
600521 Family Assistance – Local $45,566,310 $53,248,000 $53,248,000.00

 

The federally funded line item, Food Assistance Programs, reimburses the Department and CDJFS’s for the cost of administering Food Assistance Programs. For most activities, the federal government reimburses the State 50% for program management. Food Assistance Programs include SNAP, as well as The Commodity Supplemental Food Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program.


Line Item ALI Name FY2023 Actual Enacted FY2024 Enacted FY2025
600610 Food Assistance Programs $210,601,985 $245,396,656 $236,482,931.00

The federal government fully funds SNAP benefits and these funds are not appropriated in the state’s budget. On August 3, 2023, the United States Department of Agriculture released the FFY 2024 Cost-of-Living Adjustments for the SNAP program and the maximum monthly SNAP allotment for the contiguous United States and Washington D.C. for a household size of one was raised $10 to $291.


Household Size
48 States and D.C.
1 $291
2 $535
3 $766
4 $973
5 $1,155
6 $1386
7 $1,532
8 $1,751
Each additional person $219

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federal grant program that provides financial support for, including cash assistance and services to families with children who are low-income. The state is required to contribute funding, known as a maintenance of effort, and oversees the program, that is then administered by county JFS agencies. The state’s maintenance of effort is comprised of both state and local funding streams. Ohio’s program is largely spent in three main areas: payments to childcare providers who provide care for kids whose families are low-income, administrative support to county job and family services offices for the case management work they engage in to support low-income families and cash assistance to families enrolled in Ohio Works First.  


Line Item Program FY2022 FY2023 Appropriations FY 2024 Appropriations FY 2025
GRF- 600410 TANF State Maintenance of Effort $144,686,608 $151,880,235 $149,268,000 $149,268,000
3V60- 600689 TANF Federal Block Grant* $768,454,686 $680,628,546 $814,044,607 $818,722,142

 *The federal block grant is static at $725.6 million each year, but this amount varies based on underspending in previous years and shifting of some of these funds to DCY.

As mentioned earlier, significant portions of programming and associated funding are shifting from JFS to DCY. This includes childcare, thus the portion of the federal TANF block grant that supports childcare will move to DCY, along with some other TANF funding that supports programming specifically related to children. There will be more analysis to come about how funds have shifted from JFS (and other agencies) to DCY, as this is difficult to unpack, especially as dollars that had been combined into a single line item are split apart across the agency.  

Earmarks comprise yet another portion of the TANF budget and were an ever-moving conversation during the state budget process. Earmarks are dollars designated for specific programs within the TANF budget and are often a source of dollars when legislators want to support a program or project related to health and human services but cannot identify GRF to fund it. TANF earmarks totaled at least $43 million in the FY 2024 budget. In years’ past, most TANF earmarks were funded for the two-year budget cycle, but this changed for 2024-25. TANF earmarks, except a few, were only funded for FY 2024. This is a result of discussion amongst Ohio Senate leadership that TANF reserve funds are dwindling and should be reserved only for childcare and food assistance.  

The chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) said upon the introduction of the Senate’s budget: “Every TANF organization, with the exception of child care and with the exception of food banks and food assistance programs, is only getting funded in TANF for one year, because we have to recognize that those dollars need to be available for food assistance (and) child care, particularly if there’s in fact a recession looming in the future.”[1]  

The state is projected to have roughly the same amount of reserve TANF funds, otherwise known as underspending of the federal block grant that the state maintains access to, according to budget documents released by JFS at the beginning of the budget process. Given the scrutiny on TANF this budget process, it is critical to understand the TANF budget and how these dynamics may play out in future budget conversations.  

Adult protective servicesProtective services for adults are designed to prevent or rectify actions or situations stemming from abuse, negligence, or exploitation. While any adult age 60 or older can request to receive protective services, only CDJFS or designated agencies can determine the need for these services.

Possible Protection Services


Casework Services Medical care Mental health services Legal services
Fiscal management Home health care Homemaker services Housing-related services
Guardianship services Placement services Necessities such as food, clothing, and shelter

The only specific source of state funding for adult protective services is line-item 600534 and is supported by the General Revenue Fund (GRF). This line item is used to distribute funds for adult protective services to CDJFS.  


Line Item ALI Name FY2023 Actual FY2024 Enacted FY2025 Enacted
600534 Adult Protective Services $5,739,412 $9,720,000 $9,720,000.00

The budget will provide each county with an initial allocation of $80,000 with the remaining funds being distributed to each county using the formula JFS uses when distributing payments for children's services. This is an increase of approximately $15,000 per county as the previous budget provided approximately $65,000 per county. The General Assembly has increased funding for adult protective services in the past five budgets with substantial increases during the past three.

Minimum per County Allocation for Adult Protective Services

State Fiscal Years
2016-2017 2018-2019 2020-2021 2022-2023 2024-2025
Amount $30,000 $31,136 $48,000 $65,000 $80,000

While the responsibilities of JFS will look slightly different moving forward with the creation of DCY, the remaining work of the Department is imperative to the well-being of Ohioans. Community Solutions will continue to provide updates on enacted budgets in various agencies across our budget priorities.  

[1] https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/state/ohio-senate-introduces-85-7-billion-operating-budget  

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