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September 2010Vol. 11, No. 7Update on Alternative Response in Ohio

The team selected to help plan, implement, and evaluate an alternative response pilot study in 10 Ohio counties has produced a final report recommending that alternative response be adopted in all 88 Ohio counties. The report concludes the 18-month pilot study conducted between July 2008 and January 2010 and presents information about the project, findings, and recommendations for the Supreme Court of Ohio's Subcommittee on Responding to Child Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency.

The recommendation for statewide implementation of alternative response is based on several key findings from the pilot study:

  • Children remained as safe under alternative response as under the traditional investigations.
  • There was a decrease in new reports of child abuse and neglect as a result of alternative response family assessment.
  • The greatest impact of alternative response on new reports of child maltreatment was seen with African-American families.
  • The poorest study families were the most positively affected by alternative response.
  • A decrease in the number of children removed from the home and in out-of-home placements was attributed to alternative response.
  • Families receiving alternative response experienced greater engagement and more satisfaction with their workers and services received, and they received and participated in more services.
  • All 10 counties involved in the pilot study opted to institute alternative response as a permanent practice when the pilot study period ended.

The report offers additional recommendations to support statewide implementation of alternative response, including changes to State statutes, increased State and county infrastructure and capacity-building, effective State and county partnerships, and changes to practice.

Ohio Alternative Response Pilot Project Final Report of the AIM Team
, by Caren Kaplan and Amy Rohm, is available on the National Center for Adoption Law & Policy website: (2.37 MB)

Other reports and materials related to the Ohio project, including an executive summary of the final report, are also available on the website:

Related Item
Children's Bureau Express last wrote about alternative response in Ohio in "Ohio Implements Alternative Response Pilots" (February 2010).