Virginia’s Office of the Children’s Ombudsman Opens to Oversee Social Services

Virginia’s Office of the Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) officially launched Tuesday, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced. The office provides oversight of Virginia’s child welfare system and can receive complaints about the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS).

“I am excited that, after several months of preparation and with the support of the Administration and our partner agencies, information about the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman and the services we provide will finally be made publicly available to Virginians across the Commonwealth. My staff and I are looking forward to helping families navigate the child welfare system and ensuring that child safety and family preservation remain top priorities for our local and state agencies that serve Virginia’s children and families,” OCO Director Eric Reynolds said in an administration press release.

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Gov. Ducey Signs 12 Bills, Including Banning Unions from Politicking on the Taxpayers’ Dime, and Stopping Religious Discrimination in Adoptions

As the 2022 Arizona Legislative season winds down, Gov. Doug Ducey is signing a slew of bills. On Wednesday, he signed 12, including the Goldwater Institute’s Release Time Reform Act and a bill protecting religious freedom in adoptions and foster care.

The Goldwater Institute (GI) drafted SB 1166, which was sponsored by State Sen. Vincent Leach (R-Tucson), to address the problem where public employees at the local, state, and federal level are “released” from their government responsibilities and instead are assigned to work for a private union — all while receiving full government pay, benefits, and retirement. 

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Virginia Gov. Youngkin Launches Task Force to Address Lack of Safe Placements for Foster Care Children

Glenn Youngkin

Governor Glenn Youngkin launched the Safe and Sound Task force to create safe placements for children in foster care, and said that from February 1 through July 30 2021, 163 children spent at least one night in unsuitable arrangements such as local social services departments, hotels, and emergency rooms.

“It is unacceptable that last year over 150 children in foster care spent the night in places that just simply are not meant for kids. When this challenge came to our attention, my administration knew we had to act swiftly to ensure that every child has a safe place to belong,” Youngkin said in a Friday press release.

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Ohio Lawmakers Introduce ‘Bill of Rights’ for Foster Children

Tina Maharath and Teresa Fedor

Two Ohio state lawmakers, Senators Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Tina Maharath (D-Canal Winchester), introduced a bill on Friday to create the Foster Youth Bill of Rights.

The potential law, if enacted, would inform individuals in the foster care system of their rights when they are placed in custody of the state.

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Virginia House Passes Repeal of Adoption Conscience Clause

The House of Delegates approved Delegate Mark Levine’s (D-Arlington) HB 1932 on Wednesday in a 53 to 43 vote. The bill would remove the child-placement conscience clause which protects child-placement agencies from being forced to place children where it would violate the agency’s moral or religious convictions. Supporters of the bill say it ends discrimination currently protected by the Commonwealth, but Catholic adoption agencies and Republican legislators warn that removing the protection could effectively eliminate thousands of potential homes for children in foster care and adoption programs. The bill is now in committee in the Senate.

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Tennessee Republicans Fight To Protect Faith-Based Adoption Agencies From Discrimination

Republicans continue to shepherd legislation through the Tennessee General Assembly to protect faith-based child placement agencies against discrimination for exercising their religious liberties provided by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. State Rep. Tim Rudd (R-TN-34) and Sen. Mark Pody (R-TN-17) are the sponsors. The bills are HB 836 and SB…

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Report: One in Three Children Enter Foster Care Due to Parental Drug Abuse, Ohio Rate Jumped 29 Percent

A report released Tuesday by the nonprofit Child Trends revealed that for the sixth consecutive year, 2017 saw a significant rise in the number of children entering foster care due to parental drug abuse or drug seeking behavior. According to the report, 131 out of every 100,000 children in America ends up…

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Opioid Abuse Estimated to Leave Over 20,000 Children in Foster Care by 2020

While the rampant opioid epidemic that has overtaken much of the country is finally getting the attention it deserves, some of the most vulnerable to its effects have been tragically overlooked. A startling report from the Public Children’s Services Association of Ohio estimates that, should current trends continue, over 20,000…

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