The Ohio House on Wednesday narrowly voted to exempt all personal information of state approved foster parents and prospective foster parents from the state's public records law.
The 52-44 vote to shield the information, including names, came after legislators debated the best way to ensure the safety of foster children and foster parents.
Although the foster parent information is not now exempt from the public records law, the state's policy has been not to release the information. A lawsuit filed over that policy by a newspaper is before the Ohio Supreme Court.
Making the records public would give unhappy birth parents information needed to find the children taken from them, said Rep. Jeff Wagner, R-Sycamore, sponsor of the exemption.
Sometimes birth parents used "violent means" to get their children back, said Wagner, a former foster parent. His proposal would make the information public if foster parents lost their state certification or were convicted or charged with a crime,
The legislation was drafted in response to the 2006 death of 3-year-old Marcus Fiesel of Middletown, whose foster parents, Liz and David Carroll Jr. of Union Township in Clermont County, were convicted of killing him and are serving life prison sentences. Marcus was left tied up in a closet while the Carrolls spent a weekend in Kentucky.
The legislation - with the amendment - passed 87-9.