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.
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
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.