Mark Butler and his wife had to face a lot of hardships while caring for their son suffering from severe autism. But they received the biggest blow when they had to surrender their parental rights as they could not financially support their child’s medical requirements.
So, the new biennial budget of Ohio came as a breather to devastated families like the Butlers when it announced a fund for parents who stand a risk of losing custody of their young ones. This crisis stabilisation fund is a first of its type in Ohio. This fund is specially earmarked to aid multi-system youths who are lingering in the danger zone of being put under juvenile justice and child protective systems because of their mental illness, disabilities and vulnerable behavioural problems.
State legislators have created a fund comprising $5 million under federal welfare money for each of the coming two years. Children First councils and County Family were assigned the task of framing out the local plan design before administering the same. Supporters who had hoped for a $30 million fund are happy with the present shell out given the tight budget cycle.
Parents and guardians of such children with special needs had to work two jobs, sell out their car and take a second home mortgage to suffice for their children’s need. Gayle Channing Tenenbaum, a senior children’s advocate feels that this new fund will be of much help to such parents toiling hard to make ends meet. This Messiah fund increases the probabilities of multi need children staying with their parents.
Andrew, the teenaged son of Butlers, cannot communicate verbally. He has been taken to a residential care centre near southern Ohio. Mr Butler feels this new law will finally pull out the hard hitting dagger which soared through his heart when he had to sign his son’s custody.
This new fund provision has also opened up requirements for a data collection system to monitor trends and look after the number of multisystem children who have got served in the past. Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities had set up a pilot program operational in central Ohio to help families having children with volatile behaviours or disabilities and awaiting expensive treatment. The Franklin County Board had worked in collaboration with a non-profit organisation and local government agencies to designate a residential centre consisting of four bedrooms in Eastern Ohio to take care of youths who wish to stay with their family.