Shared from the 10/29/2019 The Columbus Dispatch eEdition


One good use for opioid settlement: supporting kinship care

Settlements are beginning to take shape in massive lawsuits aimed at holding drugmakers and distributors accountable for the widespread wreckage wrought by the opioid crisis. States, counties and municipalities face bottomless need for funds to help those still addicted, prevent future addiction and help people rebuild shattered lives.

It’s good to see that Ohio is becoming better equipped to deal with one aspect of the crisis: grandparents and other relatives struggling to raise the children of loved ones incapacitated by addiction.

Traditionally, people providing so-called kinship care have been eligible for some help from county and state agencies but much less than the subsidies given to licensed foster parents. That might have been justifiable when kinship care was less common, but the numbers have soared.

Of about 16,000 children in the custody of county-based children services agencies, about 4,000 are placed with relatives. Many more are living with non-parent relatives in less formal placements.

And the deadly persistence of addiction means these children are likely to be in kinship care for a long time.

The state has announced two welcome initiatives lately — a website detailing resources for caregivers and a plan to increase payments to related caregivers.

The website,, includes an interactive map to help find local services. The state also is working on a program, expected to start next year, through which employees will give personalized assistance to kinship caregivers and adoptive parents.

As for the higher payments, they may be coming only because a 6th Circuit federal appeals judge, in a case out of Kentucky, ordered that kinship payments should be equal to foster payments.

We’re for the increased support, and we urge the Job and Family Services department to get it flowing as soon as possible.

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