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Zyair is camera shy, but don't let that fool you.

She is a bright young lady who makes excellent grades at school. Zyair has always excelled in the classroom and is very meticulous in her studies.

When she is not being an academic all star, she enjoys playing volleyball and participating in activities. She also enjoys making arts and crafts projects.

Zyair is in need of a supportive family that can help her continue to grow into the respectful, courteous and pleasant young girl she has the potential to be. Some of Zyair's favorite things are Dove chocolates and Chinese food.

Foster parents: We could not do this without you

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has added his voice to the many calling for additional foster parents as our state struggles with an opioid epidemic. We appreciate his interest in helping us continue to increase the network of foster homes for abused and neglected children.

On the day he announced his office would create a new $1 million fund for recruitment of foster families, Hamilton County had 2,295 children in care, with 1,191 children in foster homes.
We contract for foster placement services through a number of local and national providers, including Lighthouse Youth Services, Pressley Ridge, Child Focus, Necco, Focus on Youth, St. Joseph Orphanage, Beech Acres, Bair Foundation, National Youth Advocate Program, SAFY, Choices, Ohio Mentor, Buckeye Ranch and many others who have been great partners in the effort to provide temporary placement for children who cannot safely return to their home. Hamilton County has more than 500 foster families living within its borders. All of them were recruited and nurtured by one of these agencies.

Being a foster family is a tough job. Caring for a child who is not your own is difficult, but there is so much more to it than that. Foster families have to constantly complete new trainings, open their home to inspection, juggle medical appointments and family visits and meet the demands of caseworkers assigned to help foster children. On top of that, foster parents know it is very likely these children will eventually return to their biological families; while reunification is a wonderful reward for work well done, it can be heartbreaking to lose a child who has become an important part of your life and family.

I have the utmost respect for the foster families who help us achieve our mission of keeping children safe, and I am extremely grateful for the private agencies that work with these families. We simply could not do this job without them.

One of our families struggling in Houston

Carey and Lacy Watson adopted from foster care in Hamilton County last year before moving recently to Houston for Mr. Watson's surgical residency.
They lost just about everything  when hurricane Harvey hit Houston. But friends in Cincinnati are helping out - they started a GoFundMe account that's already at more than $33,000.

Our thoughts are with the Watsons as they continue to try to come back from such a devastating storm.

HEMI scholarship applications available

If the foster teen in your house is heading for college, you might want to have them check out applying for financial assistance from HEMI.

HEMI is the Higher Education Mentoring Initiative, a partnership between the University of Cincinnati, Hamilton County Job and Family Services and other agencies. It uses mentors to help keep foster kids in high school and get them into college.

If you know a teen who might be interested, contact Sarah Lawson at 513-556-3045.

Kinship month: Thank you to all our kinship care providers

September is the month we honor all those families - grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. - who take in a relative's children.
Foster care isn't easy, and it isn't easier just because you're family. We understand that and we appreciate all those who willingly step up to care for kids when their biological parents cannot.

Here are some tips from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.