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  • Writer's pictureMeredith M. Dial

Nurturing Ohio’s Children: A Closer Look at Adoption and Foster Care



illustration of adult hands holding child hands holding a yellow heart

Adoption and foster care systems play crucial roles in safeguarding the well-being of vulnerable children and providing them with stable, loving homes. From matching children with adoptive families to supporting foster parents in their caregiving journey, these systems are essential pillars of support for Ohio’s youth in need. 


Adoption in Ohio is facilitated through public and private agencies, as well as through independent adoption attorneys. Prospective adoptive parents undergo rigorous screening including background checks, home studies, and training to prepare them for the joys and challenges of adoption. Ohio prioritizes placing children with adoptive families who can meet their unique needs, whether through infant adoption, foster-to-adopt programs, or older child adoption.


Ohio’s foster care system serves thousands of children who cannot remain with their biological families due to abuse, neglect, or other safety concerns. Foster parents undergo comprehensive training and assessment to prepare them for the unique challenges of caring for children in foster care. The state prioritizes family-based placements whenever possible, recognizing the importance of stability and continuity in a child’s life. One agency, Destiny Family Services, is the second Black-owned foster care agency in the state of Ohio. 


“There were very few minority agencies,” said Ralph Williams, owner of Destiny. “There were only three, including us, in the state of Ohio. We saw that most of the kids in foster care were kids of color and I wanted to do more for them.”

Destiny prioritizes advocating for children and promotes opportunity for healthy growth and development emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually in a loving and nurturing family setting. It is a private, faith-based, non-profit therapeutic foster care agency committed to ensuring the highest standard of care for children and families. It provides access to ongoing support and contact with a case manager, as well as a minimum of one home visit per month. Most children served by Destiny are experiencing behavioral, emotional, and/or mental health problems and receive therapy either on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. 


To support foster families, Ohio offers a range of services, including financial assistance, respite care, and access to medical and mental health resources. The state also emphasizes collaboration between child welfare agencies, courts, and community organizations to ensure that children in foster care receive the holistic support they need to thrive. Destiny Family Services has offices in Independence, Columbus, Newark and Cincinnati to support children in these large metropolitan areas of the state.


The intersection of adoption and foster care underscores the interconnectedness of these systems and the importance of collaboration among stakeholders. Many children in foster care are ultimately adopted by their foster families, highlighting the fluidity between temporary and permanent placements. Ohio’s child welfare agencies work diligently to facilitate successful transitions for children and families, prioritizing the child’s best interests every step of the way. Through innovative programs, robust support services, and collaborative efforts, Ohio continues to nurture futures filled with promise and possibility for children in need. By championing the rights of Ohio’s youth and investing in strong, supportive communities, we can ensure that every child has an opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.


“It’s a calling,” said Williams about the reason he’s in this field. “My love for kids and wanting to see them have an opportunity to be successful in life. I hope to see more people of color getting involved in foster care agencies to help kids feel represented and given care from people who look like them.”

Learn more about becoming a foster parent at www.destinyfamilyservices.org.


Meredith M. Dial is an alum of Bowling Green State University where she majored in psychology and human development and family studies. She is currently an office manager at Destiny Family Services and working on a master’s degree from Cleveland State University.

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