Ohio is leading the nation in reducing the number of children that have to placed in foster homes. Since 2002, Ohio has lowered its number by 42%, and child advocates say it's been done without compromising the safety of the kids. Crystal Ward Allen heads the Ohio group that represents county children services agencies. She says Ohio has succeeded so well because it got a waiver from the federal government allowing the state to use federal money more flexibly. That way, parents with drug, alcohol, or mental health problems have received treatment, other parents have gotten economic help and many children's troubled home lives have improved.
Still, from 2003 through 2009, allegations of child abuse and neglect in Ohio have continually risen. Advocates blame the tough economic times for much of that increase.