Note: This story appears in the Friday, Nov. 8 newspaper on Page A3.

A new organization tasked with improving Ohio’s foster care system is planning a statewide listening tour and the first stop will be in Athens.

Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced the formation of the Children Services Transformation Advisory Council. This group will review the existing foster care system and, by next spring, develop recommendations for making it better.

The group will visit seven communities around Ohio to learn about local issues and hear suggestions for improving the foster care system.

The first stop will take place at the Athens Community Center on Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 6-8 p.m. This meeting will be public. Anyone interested in providing testimony can submit a written request online at governor.ohio.gov/fostercareforums.

Other stops on the tour include Wapakoneta, Pataskala, Bowling Green, Medina, Lebanon and Canton.

Members of this new organization include Kristi Burre, the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services; several children services officials from counties around the state; a pair of juvenile court judges from Montgomery and Paulding counties; a handful of Ohioans who are either former foster children or are currently foster parents; and others in the social work field.

The group’s formal recommendations will be presented by April 2020.

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