Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Coalition of Opposition to HB 86 Foster Child Community Notification Provisions

To: Chairman Tim Grendell, Senate Judiciary Committee - Criminal Justice
Senator Larry Obhof, Vice Chair Senator Nina Turner, Ranking Minority Member
Senator Frank LaRose Senator Eric Kearney
Senator Peggy Lehner Senator Joe Schiavoni
Senator Scott Oelslager
Senator Mark Wagoner

RE: Opposition to HB 86 Foster Child Community Notification Provisions

We strongly urge members of the Senate Judiciary-Criminal Justice Committee and all members of the Senate to remove provisions slipped into HB 86 that mix Sex Offender Registration and Notification policy with the placement of abused and neglected children into treatment and therapeutic foster homes. The amendment language, added into the substitute bill can be found in Sections 2151.55 THROUGH 2151.555.

Currently, about half of all foster children are placed in some level of therapeutic care due to their history of being abused or neglected. The notification requirements added to HB 86 target many children who pose no community safety threat and will have the unintended effect of stigmatizing and further traumatizing children for being foster children and needing specific treatment to address multiple and sometimes severe psychiatric, emotional and behavioral management issues.

The notification provisions cross the line and will not increase community safety, but rather add to the vulnerability of the children our state is obligated to protect from additional trauma and abuse. We are talking about children who, at no fault of their own, have been removed from their homes and traumatized by abuse and neglect.

We oppose this amendment as it would violate privacy and penalize children and families, with no improvement of public safety. These community notification requirements perpetuate the myth that people with mental illnesses or emotional disorders are violent. These provisions promote the criminalization of individuals with mental illness. Furthermore, these notification provisions contribute to the challenge of finding, preparing and supporting the foster homes that are desperately needed to care for Ohio’s abused and neglected children.

As a coalition, we strongly request you delete this language.


OHIO YAB (Overcoming Hurdles In Ohio Youth Advisory Board), Cieria Rodriguez-Toney, President
Adopt America Network (based in Lucas County), Wendy Sproerl, President
Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, Renuka Mayadev, Director
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Rita L. Soronen, President and CEO
National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio, Terry Russell, Executive Director
National Center for Adoption and Law Policy, Capital University Law School, Denise St. Claire, Director
Ohio Adoption Planning Group (OAPG), Kathy Franz of NOAS, Chair
Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies, Penny Wyman, Executive Director
Ohio CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Jackie Wilson, Executive Director
Ohio Foster Care Association (OFCA), Betsy Johnson, Board President
Ohio Grandparent Kinship Coalition, Dionne Simmons, Wright State University & Jamie Richardson, Lucas Co
Area Agency on Aging, OGKC Co-Presidents
Ohio Independent Living Association (OHILA), Darlene Skinner of Daybreak, President
Public Children Services Association of Ohio, Crystal Ward Allen, Executive Director
The Ohio Council, Hubert Wirtz, CEO
Voices for Ohio’s Children, Amy Swanson, Executive Director
Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau, Debbie Cowan, Director
Catholic Charities / Parmadale, Maureen E. Dee, Director
Daybreak, Linda Kramer, CEO
Maryhaven, Paul H. Coleman, President and CEO
Northeast Ohio Adoption Services (NOAS), Cindy Deal, Executive Director
Pathway Caring for Children, Eric Belden, Executive Director
The Village Network, Jim Miller, Executive Director

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