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Parents To Ohio Lawmakers: Help Prevent Child Custody Relinquishment

Senate Finance Committee holds hearings on state operating budget bill.
Sam Aberle
Senate Finance Committee holds hearings on state operating budget bill.

Parents who have surrendered custody of their children to youth services are telling Senators about their heart-wrenching decisions. Because of limited resources and lack of insurance coverage, these families can no longer afford treatment for a range of mental health and developmental issues. 

Mothers and fathers stood before the Senate Finance Committee to share what they called stories of surrendering custody. They say these are stories of pain, humiliation, and sorrow.

Mark Butler has been outspoken about relinquishing custody of his son, who would have violent outbursts and needed a variety of treatment.

He’s calling on the Senate to approve a proposed amendment in the budget bill, HB166, that would increase funds for multi-system youth.

“Help figure out why this is still happening and fight for us wherever you can. Do not let another family, another family who’s already struggling, suffer the way my family did,” says Butler.

The amendment would pump $18 million into this fund over the next biennium.

The original budget proposal from Gov. Mike DeWine offers $25 million for each fiscal year for Family and Children First Councils in order to coordinate care for multi-system youth. Advocates for these families are concerned the money might only be used for room and board for youth who are already under the care of children services. They say the extra money proposed in an amendment can become additional support for families trying to avoid giving up custody.

The coalition of parents is also calling on more research to find out how many families resort to relinquishing custody.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.