COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Thursday that Meigs County is now the newest county to join a pilot program created to serve families harmed by parental opioid abuse in southern Ohio.
A total of 19 counties are now participating in the Ohio START (Sobriety, Treatment, and Reducing Trauma) program.
Ohio START is an intervention program that will provide specialized victim services, such as intensive trauma counseling, to children who have suffered victimization due to parental drug use. The program will also provide drug treatment for parents of children referred to the program.
“We welcome Meigs County to the program and look forward to helping them provide important victim services to children impacted by parental opioid addiction,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Children are often the silent victims of this epidemic, and they deserve the best possible support and care.”
Attorney General DeWine announced the creation of Ohio START last month. The program will provide specialized victim services to children who have been abused or neglected due to parental drug use.
“Children with a parent or parents addicted to drugs tend to stay in foster care longer, and they enter foster care having experienced significant trauma. While mom and dad are high, these kids may go days without food or supervision. They may have witnessed a parent inject drugs, overdose, or even die,” said Attorney General DeWine when announcing the initial pilot program last month.
Ohio START will bring together child protective services, peer mentors, the courts, and behavioral health and treatment providers to work closely with families whose children have been abused or neglected due to parental addiction.
Because Meigs County is now participating in Ohio START, Attorney General DeWine allotted an additional $233,750 in Victim of Crime Act grants to the program. The Public Children Services Association of Ohio, which is administering the grants on behalf of each county, will now receive a total of $4,829,000 to launch the southern Ohio pilot program across all 19 counties.
Other counties participating in the program are: Adams, Athens, Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Fairfield, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Hocking, Ross, Scioto, and Vinton.
If shown to be successful, Ohio START could expand to more counties in other regions of the state.