Job & Family Services Office of Families and Children
Placement Services

Placement Policy related to Preferences

When a child is not able to live with his or her parents, Ohio values keeping that child with family and those with whom he or she has a connection.  Every child deserves to have love and stability in his or her life.   Ohio's public children services agencies strive to work with relatives who are willing and able to assume custody of a child and any siblings to explore this option first in order to prevent a child from coming into an agency's care.  Ohio agencies must work with the family to explore relative options and conduct the assessments to determine their willingness and ability to care for the child. 

Consideration of relative resources begins with the agency's first involvement with the family to facilitate the family working together to support one another and assure the safety of the child.   If a child is not able to remain with his or her parents, agencies are required to conduct a diligent search for identified relatives and notify them within thirty days of the child's removal so that they have the ability to be considered as a placement resource.  The preference is for the child to have stability through a permanent arrangement such as a relative assuming legal custody. 

When a relative is not able to assume legal custody, a non-relative kin may also be considered.  When there are no relatives or kin available to assume legal custody, the PCSA petitions the court for temporary custody so that it can oversee the placement of the child with either relatives, kin, or a licensed foster family until that child may be safely returned home, or another more permanent living arrangement can be made.

Ohio values placing siblings together unless there is some reason it may not be in the children's best interest to do so.  It also values maintaining continuity for the child with relationships he or she has in the school and community.

Ohio Administrative Code rule 5101:2-42-05, the rule outlines agency requirements for making placements.

Family Search and Engagement

Some youth have experienced multiple placements with non-relatives and have lost contact with their extended family members. Connection to family is a basic element to life, simply put children need their families and families need their children. Family provides children with their cultural, social and emotional security. In a family there is a sense of identity and belonging. Family engagement is a progressive concept moving in the child welfare system from child focused to a more family focused involvement. It is a process of locating, engaging, connecting and supporting family resources for youth.  Family engagement can benefit children who:

  • Are at the front-end (Intake) and may be prevented from coming into the child welfare system
  • Are in the process of emancipating from foster care and who were thought to have no family or kinship connections
  • Have experienced multiple placement with non-relatives and have lost contact with extended family or kin

Permanence is about locating and supporting a lifetime family. For young people in out-of-home placement, planning for permanence should begin at entry into care, and be youth-driven, family-focused, culturally competent, continuous, and approached with the highest degree of urgency. Permanence should bring physical, legal and emotional safety and security within the context of a family relationship and allow multiple relationships with a variety of caring adults. At the same time, young people in out-of-home care must be given  opportunities, within the family and community environment, to learn the array of life skills necessary to become independent and interdependent adults.