Treat Surrogate Parents Equally

It takes a lot of money to properly raise children, keeping them safe and giving them the best opportunities possible. According to a federal lawsuit, however, officials in Ohio believe it costs less for relatives to raise children placed in their care than for licensed foster caregivers to do it.

That’s a load of nonsense, of course. It just doesn’t make sense.

According to the lawsuit, one person involved is caring for a one-year-old boy in Cuyahoga County, and receiving $302 per month in state benefits under the current system. Licensed foster care parents in Cuyahoga County receive from $615 to $2,371 per month per child — and even more if children have special needs, the lawsuit noted.

A ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already ordered equality in payments in Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan and Ohio. Of those four, Ohio is the only state still not in compliance. Kimberly Hall, director of Ohio’s human services agency, told The Associated Press in October 2019 the agency planned to increase such payments. Gov. Mike DeWine said in February he was close to releasing his plan on the issue.

Both Hall and DeWine made their pledges before the COVID-19 pandemic had reached Ohio. Certainly they have had a lot on their minds since then. But making sure all Buckeye State children are treated fairly by the state, and have opportunities for the same resources and support, is essential. It would take a few phone calls, a couple of executive orders, perhaps a little cooperation from state lawmakers.

There is no excuse for that not to happen. Now.


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