The Public Policy Working Group meets monthly to determine the course of the CPC’s policy agenda. This group is chaired by Ellen Katz, CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and Tom Williams, owner of North American Properties.
Topics the group has discussed include the Children’s Services Levy, health care, bail reform, child support, payday lending, public benefits cliffs, and work requirements.
Children's Services Levy Key Messages:
- The Hamilton County Children’s Services levy is used to help the county’s abused and neglected children, whether it be services that help keep them safe in their home or to pay for kinship care, foster care and adoption so they are safe outside the home.
- The levy helps the county deliver services to children and families. Those services include mental health services, substance abuse treatment, domestic violence programs, parenting classes and more.
- Services to abused and neglected children are mandated by the federal government and must be provided. If the levy did not exist, the money would come from the county’s general fund.
- The current 2.77-mill levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $56 a year, or slightly more than $1 a week.
- In 2017, the levy helped more than 20,000 local abused and neglected children. That is 1 in 9 children in our community! The opioid epidemic is having an impact: the number of children served is nearly 3,000 more than last year and nearly 5,000 more than two years ago.
- The levy is projected to generate about $38 million this year to help abused and neglected children. The county leverages that money to draw down another $30 million in federal and state funds. For a very small investment by each homeowner, nearly $70 million is generated to help abused and neglected children.
- The levy, started in 1981, has not increased since 1996. In fact, the levy now brings in $9 million less than it did at its high point in 2007.
- According to an independent review of Hamilton County Children’s Services, Hamilton County regularly spends less than half of what Franklin County spends protecting and serving abused and neglected children and about two thirds of what Cuyahoga County spends. Still, Hamilton County’s performance, as measured by key child welfare indicators, is on par with its peer counties.