Blog | May 23, 2019

Ohio Leaders Call for Additional Foster Care Support

Council for a Strong America Ohio members encourage policymakers to provide assistance for children affected by the opioid epidemic

On May 20, members across the organizations of Council for a Strong America Ohio joined forces at the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office to release a new report, “Foster Care Youth: The Innocent Victims of the Opioid Epidemic.”

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Sheriff Wayne Risney, Ashland County Sheriff speaking at press conference to release new report
Photo by Tom E. Puskar,

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members Ashland County Sheriff E. Wayne Risner and Ashland Police Chief David Marcelli spoke to the importance of addressing the opioid crisis in Ohio. They pointed to providing proven resources to the foster care system as absolutely crucial to ensuring we meet this crisis head on.

The simple fact is that, from a law enforcement perspective, Ohio needs to do whatever it takes to end the opioid crisis and provide services for youth who are impacted by this crisis.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Sheriff E. Wayne Risner, Ashland County

During the past decade, the opioid epidemic has had devastating impacts across the country, with an almost 800 percent increase in overdose rates between 2009 and 2018. The state of Ohio has been hit especially hard, resulting in many of our children losing parents to opioid misuse and joining the growing number of youth being placed in kinship care or foster care.

Community leaders in attendance stressed that children who start out behind often stay behind, and those who need foster care, kinship care, or other children’s services have often experienced traumas which can affect learning and skill development later on.

We can mitigate the impact of the epidemic by providing support to foster care youth.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Member Chief David Marcelli, Ashland Police

Ashland Police Chief David Marcelli shared his perspective that, “Law enforcement leaders know the opioid epidemic has brought dire threats to current and future children’s well-being and therefore to Ohio’s public safety.” Though measures are currently in place to help children being raised by relatives or foster parents, more support is still needed.

ReadyNation member Barbie Lange, President/CEO of the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, also attended the event and pointed to the need to address this issue in order to avoid an unstable future business environment in Ohio. Part of building a strong economy includes having a quality current and future workforce that will attract potential employers to the different regions of our state and allow those businesses already in place to hire locally. Without investing in our children, the outcomes of the opioid epidemic will remain an obstacle.

Skills we acquire—or don’t—so early in life can have such an impact as we grow.

ReadyNation member Barbie Lange, Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce President

The members of organizations with Council for a Strong America Ohio know that with greater support and contributions to the children of Ohio, progress can be made to counter these impacts of the opioid epidemic.

Shepherding the Next Generation member Pastor John Bouquet speaks at a report release press conference
Photo by Tom E. Puskar,

Shepherding the Next Generation members John Bouquet, Senior Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, and Sherry Bouquet, who leads the Fostering Families Ministry.


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