When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, the public health crisis created the perfect storm for child and family services providers and the communities they serve.
Ohio families faced unprecedented new stresses, fears, and anxieties, leaving children services and behavioral health providers to navigate these challenges in new, creative ways. Systems already struggling to keep up with demand were completely overwhelmed, and this gave way to a full-blown workforce shortage crisis.
The Ohio Children’s Alliance turned to its 70+ members across the state to hear directly from them how the pandemic affected their agencies’ workforce and what it meant for their clients. To do this, we created a comprehensive survey for our providers to share their insights.
Those results serve as the foundation for the report we are now able to share: Ohio Child and Family Service Workforce Crisis: Key Findings and Solutions. This report highlights the cracks that have been exacerbated and newly formed by the COVID-19 pandemic and what needs to be done to fix them. Our agencies have worked tirelessly to find and share innovative retention and recruitment efforts, ways to increase administrative efficiencies, and methods of utilizing new technologies to reach more families without expanding their workforce. However, they can’t do it alone. We need dynamic, multi-faceted solutions to combat the workforce shortage crisis and meet the demands of families desperately asking for our help.
We call on state leaders as well as public and private sector partners to commit to and communicate support for behavioral health and children services delivery. Licensure reform, eliminating excessive bureaucracy, and investing in our providers is the only way forward to reverse the dangerous trends that have emerged in our workforce.
The Ohio Children’s Alliance seeks to create a better path forward for Ohio’s kids and their caregivers. When our providers are supported, when they have adequate pay and benefits, when they are free from bureaucratic inefficiency, families and communities win.