Protecting Children From Drug Addicts

Like their counterparts in most states, Ohio legislators have had to set spending priorities during the past few years. Some very worthwhile programs have had funding cut or eliminated.

But when it comes to the welfare of Buckeye State children, there should be no compromises.

Lawmakers are considering Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal. Already, some changes have been proposed. Perhaps the most important is adding $10 million to family and children’s services programs.

More money is needed in part because of children abandoned, neglected or actively abused by parents who have become drug addicts. Some counties have experienced dramatic increases in the numbers of children who have to be removed from homes for that reason.

Adding the $10 million would mean that in some counties where funding for the purpose is running short “and the police bring (agencies) six children from one family after they have arrested the mother for heroin abuse and dealing, we will begin to have the resources to provide safety and stability for those children,” explained Gayle Tenebaum, director of policy for the Public Children Services Association of Ohio.

Drug abuse has become an epidemic in some regions of the state. We have reported situations in East Ohio in which children had to be taken from their parents.

Lawmakers and Kasich should agree that while spending priorities have to be set and maintained, local and state agencies must be given ample resources to deal with such situations. Again, when the safety of children is the question, the answer is obvious.