The Ohio Child Protection Law Reform Initiative is the name given to the ground-breaking work of the Subcommittee on Responding to Child Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency of the Supreme Court of Ohio's Advisory Committee on Children and Families.
The Subcommittee's charge is to: identify ways in which Ohio's child protection law, policy and practice can be improved; formulate strategies and suggestions for improvement; and assist in implementing legislative and policy changes.
Click here for more information on the Subcommittee and its work.
Children and youth who are involved with child welfare and foster care systems have life-changing decisions made about them by caseworkers, attorneys and judges. Often the voice of the child in these proceedings is not heard directly. The Subcommittee on Responding to Child Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency has developed a toolkit aimed at assisting judges in including children and youth in a decision-making process leads to better outcomes for kids.
Ohio courts are required to give notice of proceedings and the opportunity to present evidence to caregivers of children involved in child protection cases. The Subcommittee on Responding to Child Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency has recommended strategies to ensure courts comply with statutory requirements for notice and that caregivers have a meaningful opportunity to participate in proceedings related to the children in their care.
Under federal law, human trafficking is considered a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. According an Ohio Attorney General report, studies indicate that 1,078 Ohio children are victims of human sex trafficking every year, and thousands more are at risk of becoming victims each year. The Subcommittee on Responding to Child Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency monitors Ohio's efforts to address this growing concern.
A guardian ad litem (GAL) may be appointed by the court to represent a child in a number of different proceedings related to children; in all of these proceedings, the GAL is appointed to assist the court in determining the child’s best interest. A GAL can make a huge impact on a child’s life and future. The Subcommittee on Responding to Child Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency is exploring strategies to support and enhance GAL practice in Ohio.