COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – The state of Ohio is streaming the adoption process with a new online portal.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced the launch of the statewide portal where Ohioans can inquire and apply to become foster or adoptive parents.

InnovateOhio and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services developed OCAF with the goal to make Ohio a leader in simplifying the pathway toward becoming a foster or adoptive parent. The tool gives users the ability to complete and submit applications electronically. Previously, it was all done on paper.

“With about 15,000 young people in our foster care system, there’s no doubt Ohio needs more foster and adoptive families,” said Lt. Husted. “I know firsthand the impact this will have, as I was in foster care and then adopted. Anything we can do to improve this process is going to make a difference in the lives of a lot of kids.”

Prospective caregivers can access the portal from Ohio’s website. They can either select an agency they prefer to work with or from a local agency chosen at random. Live chat support will be available during regular business hours.

Agencies and state administrators now have access to data dashboards and reports that highlight, in real-time, inquiry and application data across the state and by the agency. This also enables easier and more direct communications with interested individuals and families, according to DeWine’s office.

Later this year, Ohio agencies, group homes and residential facilities will be able to use OCAF to complete inquiries, applications and certifications. Eventually, it will be a one-stop-shop for prospective and certified caregivers to track their progress in pre-service training as well as the home study and certification processes.

For more information, contact your local Children Services agency.