The Public Policy Working Group has discussed policies related to the Children’s Services Levy, healthcare, 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.
The Child Poverty Collaborative (CPC) is comprised of diverse organizations and individuals who share the goal of making our community a place where all children and families can thrive and reach their goals. The CPC is a community-driven initiative designed to address the unacceptably high rates of child poverty in our region--which are among the highest in the United States for urban areas. The provisions of the U.S. Farm Bill relating to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reflect the primary federal investment in reducing hunger among our low-income children and working families. The reauthorization of the current Farm Bill (otherwise set to expire on September 30, 2018) provides a chance to reaffirm our nation’s bipartisan commitment to ending hunger. The Farm Bill can best achieve that goal by strengthening, our investments in SNAP and other vital anti-hunger measures. With that in mind, the CPC strongly urges the U.S. Congress to support the version of the Farm Bill passed by the U.S. Senate in June 2018, particularly as to the provisions for SNAP. The CPC believes it can help to significantly reduce child poverty in our region but our goals, and the goals of so many others in the fight against poverty, will be severely hampered if the reauthorization of the Farm Bill and SNAP provisions are allowed to lapse.