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Protect foster children

We know Ohio is struggling with the increased demand on its public children’s services agencies and foster care system. But an investigation by WBNS in Columbus shows the problem is more horrifying than most could imagine.

According to a report, 128 children have died in the custody of those agencies since 2015.

Not quite half of those deaths occurred while kids were in the care of agencies in Cuyahoga, Hamilton and Franklin counties, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. WBNS took a look at the numbers for Franklin County Children Services, where 20 of those deaths occurred.

As part of its investigation, WBNS tried to talk to Lara LaRoche, intake director for FCCS. She evaded the question as to whether her agency was keeping up with the increased demand on the foster care system, but eventually said “I think it’s fair to say we don’t have access to many resources that families need.”

She lamented high turnover rate for children’s services workers, the lack of foster families, challenges in accessing mental health services for young people … it’s a tale that could be told in any county.

Public officials should certainly be working to resolve the many challenges faced by our state’s children’s services agencies. But the bureaucrats running the show had better be willing to take on accountability for the safety of the kids in their care.

To think of the death of a child as simply part of the job is inexcusable. The system is broken.

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