OFCA – OUR HISTORY

SINCE 1975…CONNECTING, EDUCATING, SUPPORTING, AND ADVOCATING FOR OHIO FAMILIES

There is no greater feeling, no greater satisfaction, than knowing you are making a difference. 

The 1970’s

In 1975, the Ohio Family Care Association was established, in response to several issues:

 The public agency was the only agency that recruited foster parents in child welfare

 Foster parents were asked to make a commitment never to adopt one of their foster children

 Mandatory reporting laws for child abuse had just been passed and the federal law (92-247) required Ohio to take what was happening to children more seriously

 Few educational requirements existed for foster parents

 Foster parents were not encouraged to meet together to garner support.

In June 1974, a group of foster parents met for a picnic in Columbus and initiated a plan to establish a statewide association. The goals were to education and empower foster parents to advocate for change. An active group of volunteers worked hard to “get out the word” and make their voice heard.

In the 1970’s, volunteer members focused on the following issues, and achieved success by collaborating with other groups.

Training for foster families

 The establishment of annual reviews and court involvement

 Redefining permanent custody

 Allowing insurance for foster parents

 Subsidized adoptions

The 1980’s

In the 1980’s, the Ohio Family Care Association focused on:

 The Federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act

 Definition of Difficulty of Care Payments

 Immigration of Amerasian children

 Integrating former juvenile justice foster homes for adolescents into child welfare

In June 1989, the organization changed its name to the Ohio Family Care Association in order to reflect the inclusiveness of adoption, and open the door for other resource family homes. From its inception until 1996, OFCA operated as a volunteer organization.

The 1990’s to the Present

In 1996, part-time staff was hired to focus on developing a family leadership program and organization capacity building. It currently operates with one full-time staff member, a full representative Board, and volunteer committee members.

In the 1990’s, OFCA expanded to include kinship and respite families.

In 2010, OFCA added a birth/primary family representative to the Board to help ensure that the Board looked at issues from all perspectives. OFCA incorporated primary families into their mission in 2014.

Between 1998 and the present OFCA has:

 Maintained a central point of information, support, and referral for out-of-home care families throughout the state

 Produced a Case Advocacy Manual for use of adoptive, foster, & kinship families

 Assisted local leadership in the development of cross-agency county associations

 Produced an Association Development Guide for use with local groups

 Trained individuals to work as Parent Advocates in their counties

 Participated as active members of the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services Child Welfare Reform committees

 Assisted in the review of state rules, regulations, & proposed laws related to adoption & foster care

 Published a quarterly newsletter or a monthly enews

 Assisted in the establishment of a state-wide cross-system Respite Coalition

 Executed a state-wide annual conference and regional education meetings

 Served as the Response Team for Ohio with the AdoptUSKids program

 Established Primary Parent Support Groups throughout Ohio

 Continued its uninterrupted witness to the needs of children and the value of raising them in families

Who OFCA Serves

OFCA’s Primary service groups include Ohio resource families (foster, kinship, respite), primary families (adoptive, birth), and child-caring agency personnel within the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.