Limit Kinship Preference in Foster Care in Ohio

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Camille Myers-Kouris
Camille Myers-Kouris signed this petition

Placed in our care days after his first birthday, we have had our foster son for 11 months, and in that time he has overcome many of the delays and symptoms from the neglect and abuse that caused him to be taken into care. He has bonded to us and is thriving in our home and care.

There is now a blood relative that has never met the child, and has known he was in care since the very first day, who has just now stepped forward declaring interest in taking him into her care. 

In Georgia, Senate Bill 167 went into effect on July 1, 2019 to limit kinship preference.The bill can be found here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20192020/SB/167 . When children are placed in a home, their goal should always be permanency because every move has been proven to inflict trauma. In cases where children have been in a foster home for months, and sometimes years, they form healthy bonds and attachments to their foster families that to sever would cause additional trauma to a child who has already been abused or neglected. 

In Ohio, a blood relative is always given preference, and there is no statue limiting the time they can come forward, meaning no matter what bonds the child has established in their foster family, extended foster family, school/church/community, they can be completely uprooted if a relative that shares their DNA says they want the child.

We want the lawmakers of Ohio to introduce legislation to put a 6 month time limit for kin to come forward to reduce the trauma of moving placement to the vulnerable children that have entered the Child Protective Services system.