Dewine Proposes Major Reforms At Hamilton Co. JFS

(CINCINNATI) -- Hamilton County Commissioner Pat DeWine said at a press conference on Friday that the county can't simply rely on the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services to clean up its own problems, so he proposed the creation of an independent Ombudsman position.

The Ombudsman will have the power to launch investigations and propose reforms within JFS, but will be outside the direction and control of the JFS bureaucracy.

JFS has been plagued by problems recently, including serious lapses in the protection of abused children, a failure to adequately screen foster parents and financial irregularities.

On Thursday, JFS suspended three workers after judge Melba Marsh pointed out an oversight in a case involving an 18-month-old baby.

DeWine said he appreciates the actions being taken by the new director of JFS to institute reform at the agency, but believes that it is essential that there also be independent oversight and accountability at the agency.