State must distribute money for children

When a child’s emotional and behavioral challenges become so great that there is geniune fear he or she could harm him or herself or someone else, the response too often is to remove him or her from his or her home.

Institutionalization or a series of foster families await many such youngsters.

That need not occur in every case. Sometimes, support groups and mentoring for children and their parents can help. Giving families help with expenses and an occasional break from caring for problem sons or daughters also can make a difference.

These things cost money. For years, some Ohioans concerned about the problem had sought state funding to provide help they hoped might make a difference for some families and avoid taking children out of their homes.

Last year, state officials came through with a two-year initiative including $5 million a year for a “crisis stabilization fund.” Money from it can be spent as described above or in other ways to avoid separating problem children from their parents.

A year after the money was approved, not a dime of it has been spent, the Columbus Dispatch has reported.

There are restrictions on spending the money. Some of them are because the funding comes from a federal program. Others seem like the bureaucracy that so often rears its ugly head to hamper or cripple worthwhile initiatives.

One state official blamed “logistics” for delays in getting the money out to people it may benefit — families in desperate need of a helping hand.

Surely someone in Columbus can find a way to help — a workaround to cope with the red tape.

Knowing money is available but is not getting to them must be distressing in the extreme to parents who need assistance with their children. The same knowledge ought to infuriate most Ohioans. Why, one wonders, has the problem not upset state officials to an extent sufficient to prompt them to do something about it?

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