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Our Histoy

Since 1975

Educate Support and Advocate for Ohio Families


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

The Ohio Family Care Association (OFCA) is the statewide organization that serves as the voice for Ohio’s adoptive, foster, kinship, primary, & respite families.  Formed in 1975 by a group of foster parents, Ohio Foster Care Association, as it was initially known, focused on educating foster parents about the important role they could play in improving services to children by speaking with one voice.  Issues that capture their attention at that time included:

  • Training for foster families
  • The establishment of annual reviews and court involvement
  • Redefining permanent custody
  • Allowing insurance for foster parents
  • Subsidized adoptions

In the 1970’s  

  • 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. 

Early Successes were achieved through our collaboration with other groups in

  • The establishment of annual reviews
  • Redefining permanent custody
  • Allowing liability insurance for foster parents in Ohio
  • Subsidized adoptions 

The 1980’s

In the 1980’s, the foster parent organization grew to include adoptive families. OFCA changed its name to the Ohio Family Care Association to reflect the inclusiveness of all families related to children in out of home care. During this period, OFCA focused on:

  • The Federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act
  • The definition of Difficulty of Care Payments
  • Immigration of Ameriasian children
  • The provision of foster homes for adolescents

1990’s to Present

In the 1990’s, the organization was further 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.

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.

OFCA’s Guiding Principles

Family-centered, child-oriented principles guide the work of OFCA.

  1. Children belong in families.
  2. Child-caring agencies need partnerships with resource families to achieve strong outcomes for the children and the families served.
  3. Cultural competence is paramount to successfully helping children and families.
  4. Family care is best for the safety, stability, permanence and well-being of children.
  5. Reliance on institutional and group care must be reduced in Ohio with corresponding resources shifted to kinship care, foster care, adoption and family-centered services.

OFCA’s Core Activities include:

  • Representing resource families in meetings held by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and other community partners to give voice to the needs of families
  • Offering educational opportunities to resource families and agency personnel including our very popular annual conference
  • Plan and support the development of the Ohio Primary Parent Advisory Council to provide parent partners for families currently in the system and facilitate collaboration between parent groups
  • Maintaining regular communication with members through a monthly e-newsletter, our website and face book pages
  • Responding to resource families who are experiencing difficulties related to out-of-home care
  • Educating members of the General Assembly about the needs of abused, neglected and dependent children and the resource families that care for them

Who OFCA Serves

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