Criminal Justice Update
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Criminal Justice Update

A letter from the Attorney General:

When parents suffer from addiction, they don’t suffer alone. Their children become innocent victims traumatized by living in chaos. As the opioid epidemic has taken hold in Ohio, more children have been put at risk by parental addiction. Increasingly, those children have been entering the child welfare system, including foster care.
Unfortunately, the number of children in need of foster care has outpaced the number of foster families. There are about 3,000 more children in the child welfare system today than when the opioid crisis began seven years ago. About half of all children in foster care are there because one or both of their parents are addicted to drugs. In August, more than 15,000 children were in foster care in Ohio, where there are only 7,200 foster families to fill this need.
To help bridge the gap, my office is offering $1 million from the Victims of Crime Act Fund to child welfare agencies in hard-hit counties to help pay for staff and recruiting efforts to bring in new foster families. We also created a page on our website that features important information about becoming a foster family. To expedite potential foster parents’ background checks, we set up a dedicated email address,, for requests to the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).
I hope that our actions make a difference for these children. Delaware County mom Kate Yonkura, who, with her husband, has tended to six foster children, an adopted daughter with special needs, and their three biological children, said she feels strongly about providing the best childhood possible for kids. She encourages others to sign up and make a difference. “We need two-parent homes, we need one-parent homes, we need retirees, empty-nesters, we need families who are raising their kids now, we need nurses, we need everybody… we really need everybody,” she said.
My office continues to fight the opioid crisis on many fronts. In this issue of Criminal Justice Update, several stories cover various aspects of our efforts. A cover story provides the latest information on the $3 million in grants my office is distributing to local law enforcement agencies to replicate or expand Drug Abuse Response teams (DARTs) and Quick Response Teams (QRTs). A sidebar, which looks at the toxicity of substances such as heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil, points out the dangers posed by the drugs to first responders and the public, especially children. Another story details my office’s $2.7 million in awards to support drug-abuse prevention education.
Because the child custody system statewide is strained by the opioid crisis, we will continue to do our part and hope that any Ohioans who have ever been interested in being foster parents seriously consider it now. Many children could benefit from stable, loving homes. For more information about becoming a foster family, visit
Very respectfully yours,
Mike DeWine
Ohio Attorney General