Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215-6108
The Honorable Ted Strickland
I come to you today on behalf of one of the proud residents of your state. Her name is Katrina Malone and she lives in Kitts Hill, a small town in southern Ohio.
Trina is a Single mother raising Taylor Joseph---affectionately known as Jophie. When Trina was about 26 years old, she applied to a foster parenting program in Ohio and was soon certified to participate in the program. Not long after acceptance as a foster parent, Trina received a call stating that she was needed to parent a newborn little boy. It was then that she took Jophie, who was born with severe brain damage and cerebral palsy. Just a few short years later, Trina adopted Jophie as her son and dedicated her life to his care.
Today, Jophie is 15 years old, is confined to bed and requires around the clock nursing care. Jophie’s life expectancy is very guarded, but it is absolutely clear that he is alive today because of Trina’s love and selfless dedication to him.
Because of Jophie’s needs, Trina cannot work outside the home. Instead, she has always been able to depend heavily on local and state governmental agencies for support. Why has she been dependant upon governmental support…because Jophie’s situation goes far beyond your typical adoption. Jophie is one of the most medically fragile children ever placed in foster care (and later adopted) in her county. It is because of that severity that the funding she receives comes partially from Title IV-E for special needs.
I bring all of this to you for one reason: it has been brought to my attention that the state of Ohio may be considering reduction of benefits to adoptive parents. Even though we are all faced with financial considerations in today’s economy, I am pleading with you (on behalf of Trina and many other parents in similar situations) not to reduce those benefits.
Speaking strictly from a financial standpoint, the investment for the state is far less if you fund Trina’s private care of Jophie than if he was institutionalized. From the research we’ve studied, it is clear that the cost of institutionalizing Jophie would far exceed the care he is currently receiving in private care under the Medicaid waiver program. However, from a humanitarian standpoint, Trina has extended this child’s life for many years because of her love and dedication, and I plead with you to continue to assist her in her life’s work of caring for Jophie. Without people like Trina, so many children like Jophie would be left uncared for. My prayer is that you will, not only partner with her in this noble work, but that you will continue to show compassion for the needs of children like Jophie.
Thank you for your time and consideration.