Bryan Cohen Apr. 9, 2013, 5:36pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released recommendations Monday from his Foster Care Advisory Group to encourage positive changes and focus on the safety and well-being of children in the foster care system.

The group convened in December to recommend solutions to issues raised at DeWine's Child Safety Summits held in eight cities throughout the state. DeWine held the summits and a day-long Foster Youth Symposium last year to discuss issues related to child safety and foster care.

"We want to do everything possible to get foster kids adopted, to match them with a loving family, and to make sure they have a stable, permanent home," DeWine said.

In December, DeWine released the Child Safety Summit Report of Findings while assembling the Foster Care Advisory Group of experts in child welfare to report on their findings within 90 days.

The group made recommendations in the area of permanence and safety, foster parent participation, guardians ad litem, mentoring for foster youth, normalizing the experience for youth in foster care, funding the child welfare system, accountability in child welfare, planned permanent living arrangements, foster youth voice in court and medical care for foster youth.

Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Rep. Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) will use the recommendations to introduce new bills to put the proposed changes into practice.

DeWine also announced that he is awarding $3 million from the National Mortgage Settlement to the Ohio Court-Appointed Special Advocate program and Ohio Reach. The CASA program will receive $2 million to expand its services throughout the state. Ohio Reach will receive $1 million to bolster its services that connect people who have aged out of foster care to opportunities in higher education.

"Children without permanent homes are especially vulnerable and need targeted services to protect their interests and opportunities," DeWine said. "I am pleased that we can provide program grant funding from the National Mortgage Settlement to help foster youth have the same opportunities as children in permanent homes."

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