STATEHOUSE - 

Senator Kevin Bacon (R–Minerva Park) announced today the Senate has approved an initiative to provide additional information to local law enforcement agencies and fire departments when responding to incidents at children’s residential facilities. The measure was approved as part of the mid-biennium review budget proposal, House Bill 483.
 
This legislation comes in response to the tragic death of Jane Juergens, a resident of Blendon Township, involving a resident of a group home. The legislation will strengthen information requirements by group homes to local law enforcement. The increased transparency serves to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. 
 
"This provision will help keep both the children living in residential facilities and the residents of the surrounding community safe," said Bacon, "By giving law enforcement and fire departments more resources, we can make sure that Ohio citizens are better protected."
 
Facilities impacted by this amendment include group homes for children, children’s crisis care facilities, children’s residential centers, and residential parenting facilities. Upon commencement of operations, these establishments must send the following information to local law enforcement agencies and fire departments:

  • Contact information of the facility, including written notice that the facility is operated in the department’s jurisdiction
  • Emergency disaster plans and procedures
  • Medical emergency plans
  • Community engagement plans

Community engagement plans will serve to provide concrete strategies and protocols for group homes to respond to incidents involving children at the facility. Staff will also be trained on how best to implement the engagement plans should an incident occur. This serves to ensure that group homes have better connections with the surrounding area.
 
The legislation also establishes the “Child Placement Level of Care Tool” pilot program to be implemented for 18 months in no more than 10 Ohio counties. This program will assess a child’s placement needs when a child must be removed from their home. From those needs, the best place for the child to live will be determined.
 
House Bill 483 will next be considered by a conference committee of both chambers of the General Assembly before being delivered to the Governor for his consideration.

 
 
 
  
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