Attorney General Mike DeWine hires someone with first-hand experience who was removed from an abusive home at 13

The following is an excerpt from an article in the Dayton Daily News:

In Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, there’s a 1997 photo of DeWine holding his daughter Anna, who was 5 at the time, at a White House bill-signing ceremony with President Bill Clinton. The bill, sponsored by DeWine, then a U.S. senator, made clear that the best interests of a child must be No. 1 when deciding whether to leave a child in foster care or reunite a family.

He’s using the AG’s office as a bully pulpit to make sure that Ohio does all it can to protect the nearly 12,000 children in foster care. DeWine has called for a broad review of the foster care system and kicked off the effort with a summit earlier this month in Cincinnati.

He plans similar summits around the state, including the Dayton area, about every six weeks with representatives from foster care agencies, law enforcement, prosecutors, advocacy groups and anybody else who’s interested.

“I don’t pretend to have all the answers,” DeWine said.

To help find them, DeWine hired someone with first-hand experience, attorney Melinda Sykes, as director of children’s initiatives. Sykes was removed from an abusive home at 13, placed in foster care and adopted by her foster mother when she was nearly 18. Sykes said that there is more emphasis now than before 1997 on making the safety of the foster child a top priority. Still, situations vary, by county and social worker, she added.
“I think it’s always timely to shine the light on foster children and abuse and neglect issues,” Sykes said.

FYI – Not only is this article of interest to NYAP due to foster care issues, but Melinda was adopted by Barbara Goldman, NYAP’s Education and Professional Development Manager.