Ohio panel examines barriers to overcoming poverty, reducing reliance on public assistance

A survey of county job and family services directors shows that substance abuse issues and a lack of transportation are among the most significant barriers that those on welfare face in moving out of poverty.

Details from the survey are included in a preliminary report by a workgroup tasked with studying Ohioans' reliance on public assistance programs.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the panel's draft report and recommendations through a public records request. Its final report is expected to be released Wednesday.

Other top barriers identified by county officials included a lack of high school diploma and available jobs.

The workgroup's report comes as the Ohio Legislature is revising Gov. John Kasich's (KAY'-siks) two-year state budget. State lawmakers created the nine-member study panel of county officials last year.