Our Mission

Mission, Vision & Core Values

Mission

The Ohio Family Care Association serves and strengthens families caring for Ohio’s most vulnerable children

Families with children who have been in the custody of child welfare or juvenile justice systems too often feel disconnected from each other and from the agencies with which they are affiliated.  These disconnects can result in caring people who may feel alone as they negotiate challenges to successful care-giving. OFCA serves both as a voice for and as a partner to these Ohio families.

OFCA seeks to bring together Ohio resource families (adoptive, foster, kinship, and respite), primary families, child-caring agency personnel, and interested others to promote the best interests of children, youth, and families who have been in touch with Ohio’s child placement systems that utilize resource families. 

OFCA’s intent is to be a voice for resource and primary families in order to: 

  • strengthen the public image, status and rights of families; 
  • encourage recruitment and retention of resource families;
  • conduct educational and informational activities for families;
  • assist local family associations; 
  • advance communication, coordination, and collaboration among resource families, primary families, and public and private child-caring agencies;
  • increase supports to families including sufficient reimbursements or subsidies for the care of children and youth placed in resource families; and
  • advocate on behalf of families and the children, youth and the families they care for.

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

  • Children belong in families
  • Child-caring agencies need partnerships with resource families to achieve strong outcomes for the children and the families served
  • Cultural competence is paramount to successfully helping children and families
  • Family care is best for the safety, stability, permanence and well-being of children

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.

Our History

SINCE 1975

EDUCATE SUPPORT AND ADVOCATE 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

The 1980’s

In the 1980’s, the 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.

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.

1990’s to Present

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