Ma’Khia Bryant’s case highlights why Ohio’s relations who tackle kin in state custody want equal fee
Ronald R. Browder and Barbara Turpin
Ma’Khia Bryant was shot dead by a Columbus police officer during an altercation at the foster home where she lived.
While an investigation is ongoing, we know that the system responsible for keeping 16 year olds safe has failed critically.
More:Brown, Beatty: ‘Ma’Khia should still be alive today.’ Her letter calls for a federal investigation into the events leading up to Ma’Khia Bryant’s death
Remembered by family and teachers as a calm, hardworking, and caring child, Ma’Khia and her siblings had spent two years commuting through at least five nursing homes after their mother was found negligent – despite the efforts of her grandmother who Family reunite family.
As officers in the Ohio Grandparent / Kinship Coalition, we know firsthand that children who need to be removed and placed in foster care are best placed with loving relatives. It helps maintain critical family ties, makes children feel more stable, and often leaves government foster families more quickly.
More:Ma’Khia Bryant’s family among those who paid less than the state’s foster parents to take in children
Research tells us that children who stay in government foster care instead have far worse outcomes, hopping from place to place, being placed unnecessarily in group homes or facilities, and often abandoning state custody to even worse outcomes such as homelessness, unemployment, or Imprisonment.
In Ohio, however, compounding the challenges facing children in foster care, only a fraction of the legal support is given to the state’s more than 4,000 foster children across the state, despite a federal appeals court ruling in the Year 2017.
This doesn’t even affect the 100,000 or so grandparents who care for over 200,000 children in informal relatives’ accommodation in Ohio – grandparents who choose to care for their grandchildren outside of the child welfare system and receive little to no assistance.
In most counties, licensed unrelated foster families receive a monthly “foster support” of $ 615 to $ 2,371 per child, with the federal government reimbursing most of the cost.
Ohio has refused to meet state requirements for approved relatives who are paid just $ 302 a month and even less for additional siblings. Ohio’s new “Kinship Support Program” maintains this illegal second-class support system and waives government reimbursements.
If Ma’Khia’s grandmother had received the same care allowances that could have provided adequate accommodation for her extended foster household, Ma’Khia would very well be alive and well today.
It shouldn’t require a lawsuit like the one currently pending against the state for both the governor and caregivers of Ohio to do the right thing. Denying fair financial assistance to relative foster children is illegal, unfair, and harms the Ohio children and families.
This is also a question of racial justice.
In Ohio and across the United States, black children are disproportionately removed from their homes and placed in foster homes. Black children in Ohio make up 12% of the total population under the age of 18, but 30% of foster children.
Black foster children and their loved ones who step in to care for them face an unequal and unfair burden if the state fails to pay the legally required family carers alimony.
Equitable support to Ohio’s relatives is not just the law; it is common sense.
Barbara Turpin is the secretary of the Ohio Grandparent / Kinship Coalition, the statewide advocacy organization focused on kinship care issues.
Ronald R. Browder, President of the Ohio Federation for Health Equity and Social Justice and Chairman of the Ohio Grandparent / Kinship Coalition.
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