OHIO PERMANENCY ROUNDTABLES
Permanency Roundtables (PRT) are professional case consultations that provide support to the caseworkers while taking a comprehensive look at the child’s situation and seeking to bust barriers in order to attain legal permanency and increase permanent connections for the child. The 3 goals of each PRT are to: (1) expedite legal permanency for the child, (2) stimulate thinking and learning about ways to accelerate permanency, and (3) identify and address systemic barriers to timely permanency.
During each PRT the following questions are asked: (1) What will it take for this child to achieve permanency? (2) What can we do that has been tried successfully before? (3) What can we do that has never been tried? (4) What can we do concurrently to help this child achieve permanency? and (5) How can we engage the child in permanency planning?
Through implementing the PRT model in Ohio, we expect to see improvements: in the short term, less restrictive living environments for the children, and in the long term, more children moving to permanency before they age out of the system. The project also seeks to address racial disproportionality in child welfare. Just as important, the project supports the ongoing philosophical shift in Ohio to ensure that every child attains permanent connections – whether it be successful reunification with a birth family, permanent placement with kin, or adoption – before having to emancipate. The emphasis on instilling the values of permanency not just in agency staff but also in judicial partners, providers, and foster caregivers is designed to bring together multiple systems in support of permanency for Ohio youth.
In 2014, six counties volunteered to participate in an exciting pilot project known as Youth-Centered Permanency Roundtables (PRTs), led by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO) with funding from Casey Family Programs. For the pilot, the target population is youth 12 and older who have been in care 17 months or longer.
Athens County Children Services, Fairfield County Job and Family Services, Guernsey County Children Services, Montgomery County Job and Family Services, Summit County Children Services, and Hamilton County Job and Family Services participated in Round 1 of the Youth Centered PRT model: a focused effort to find permanency for long staying youth. The model has demonstrated early success in Colorado. These counties are green on the above map. In 2015, 5 more counties volunteered to join the pilot during Round 2. These agencies are: Butler County Children Services, Clark County Department of Job and Family Services, Mahoning County Children Services, Stark County Division of Children Services and Trumbull County Children Services. These counties are blue on the above map.
Business analysts at SACWIS have made changes in that system so that tracking success and evaluating the pilot will be easier. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption - with its own permanency project, Wendy's Wonderful Kids - assisted with the rollout. The Ohio Child Welfare Training Program (OCWTP) prepared a pool of trainers (including foster alums) to train agency staff and community stakeholders on the permanency values that are so central to the project as well as on the specific skills for facilitating successful PRTs. ODJFS has contracted with the Family and Youth Law Center (FYLaw) to administer the pilot and its advisory council. Because many of the identified children are currently placed outside public foster care, the Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies (OACCA) has agreed to join the effort.
CASEY FAMILY PROGRAMS AND PERMANENCY ROUNDTABLES
As part of Casey Family Programs’ mission to safely reduce the number of children in foster care by 50 percent by the year 2020, Casey began working with jurisdictions in 2008 to expedite permanency for youth in care through permanency roundtables. Casey’s ultimate goal is to share its knowledge of what works best to help child welfare systems provide the best service possible, so that more children and families stay together and thrive. Casey strategic consultants work with jurisdictions to meet the needs identified by the jurisdiction to create a partnership that will safely reduce the number of children and youth in out-of-home care.
Casey’s purpose of permanency roundtables is to provide a jurisdiction with the opportunity to examine its child welfare system and determine where the greatest need for expediting permanency lies. Other states that are utilizing this model include: Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, New Hampshire and Oklahoma.
For more information on Casey Family Program’s involvement in PRTs, please visit: http://www.casey.org/permanency-roundtables/
To review the evaluation of Georgia’s PRT project, please visit: http://www.casey.org/georgia-permanency-roundtables/
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OHIO’S PRT PILOT, PLEASE CONTACT:
Family and Youth Law Center
Ohio PRT Pilot Coordinator
Public Children Services Association of Ohio
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services