COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The Columbus Dispatch, April 1.
Nothing is more heartbreaking than a child without a family. So what if someone had a method that would double or even triple the chances of a child finding an adoptive home?
What if this strategy not only could greatly reduce the chances of a young person becoming homeless, going to prison or living in poverty, but also immediately save taxpayers millions of dollars in foster-care payments?
That is exactly what the Columbus-based Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has accomplished through its Wendy's Wonderful Kids program. Since 2004, the program has provided local adoption agencies with grants to hire recruiters who zero in on one thing: finding the right family for a child lingering in the foster-care system.
Wendy's program starts with the premise that the label of "unadoptable" is unacceptable. So instead of sorting through a pool of willing adoptive families and trying to match them with available children, these adoption recruiters really get to know a child, then go looking for the right parents, even those who might not have considered adopting. Yet....
That this approach works is verified by independent research studies and by a new investment of state dollars that is greatly expanding the Wendy's Wonderful Kids program. Ohio officials last spring announced they would put $2.3 million in state and federal money into the effort. This has allowed the program, which serves 55 of Ohio's 88 counties, to hire an additional 29 adoption recruiters; it previously had just seven recruiters in the state.
This is a great investment, both for the children and for the taxpayers.
The (Findlay) Courier, March 29
Two fatal shootings in northern Ohio this week are the latest reminders that domestic violence can occur anywhere, anytime, and is always too close to home.
The senseless deaths of Kaitlin Gerber and Amy Ross should compel communities to review if they are doing enough to protect domestic violence victims.
On (March 25), Gerber, 20, of Toledo, was shot outside a Toledo gym by a former boyfriend, who then took his own life at his Maumee home. Authorities have learned that Jashua Perz, 29, had been stalking Gerber in recent weeks and had previously threatened other family members with violence.
On (March 28), Randall J. Ross, 47, of Fremont, was arrested after police said he shot and killed his estranged wife, Amy, 40, at an Oak Harbor residence where she had moved recently following alleged abuse by her husband. Randall Ross shot himself twice after shooting his wife, but survives.
The homicides, while unrelated, are examples of how toxic relationships can turn tragic....
Both shootings will likely lead to inquiries by various authorities into how the cases were handled, and what, if anything, could have been done to prevent such tragedies. In the Gerber case, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine may be asked to investigate.
Recently, a domestic violence task force was revived in Hancock County to better support victims....
Meanwhile, the tough questions being asked now in Toledo and Oak Harbor should be asked here, too. Are we doing enough to protect domestic violence victims, and if not, how can we do better?
The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 24
Upon release from prison, many ex-convicts receive a handshake and a one-way bus ticket, then head home to face a perilous transition.
They are 13 times more likely than the average person to die in the first few weeks out, and more than 40 percent of them will be back behind bars within three years. They have trouble finding housing and work. Someone with a criminal record in Ohio, for instance, can't fit people for hearing aids or own a salvage yard.
Now Ohio is at the forefront of a national effort to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society, and Hamilton County is a leader statewide. This month, the county agreed to add three staffers to its Office of Reentry, which helps ex-offenders get driver's licenses, find jobs and fill prescriptions.
The effort represents a radical shift from the get-tough-on-crime policies popular in the 1980s and '90s. Those policies doubled the prison population in the state and exploded the corrections budget while emphasizing punishment over rehabilitation. But eventually, notes Ed Rhine, deputy director for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, "we recognized that much of what had gone on in the last 20 years in corrections wasn't working. That whole time when we were getting tough on crime, crime rates were going up."
The counties surrounding Hamilton can learn from its efforts to help ex-offenders reintegrate. Ohio hopes to have such programs in every county in the state eventually...
In Ohio prisons, the emphasis is evolving toward preparing offenders for re-entry from the moment they enter prison, probation or community-service programs.
Warren Tribune Chronicle, March 31
Well, it wasn't worth the wait. The budget approved by the U.S. Senate, that is.
Under Democrat control, the Senate has not approved a budget in four years. That is an exceedingly disturbing lapse in the duty senators have under the Constitution.
But the budget approved by the narrowest of margins — 50-49 — during the weekend badly shirked the duty senators have to the American people, to honestly address the deficit spending crisis.
Liberals touted the alleged deficit reduction included in the Senate budget. Eventually, they say, it will reduce deficit spending to $400 billion a year.
But think about this: Before Barack Obama became president, the annual deficit had topped $400 billion only twice in the nation's history (fiscal years 2004 and 2008).
And, though Obama got tax increases he demanded just a few months ago, the Senate budget includes even more of them — nearly $1 trillion during the next decade.
It will come as no surprise the Senate budget is a dishonest one, in some ways. For example, part of the alleged deficit reduction is in lowered interest payments on the national debt that liberals claim will result from the modest spending cuts included in their plan.
No, the Senate proposal wasn't worth the four-year wait. It dodged almost entirely the need for entitlement reform and used more massive tax increases for minimal deficit reductions. Senators really ought to try again.