February 2020
India likes school, particularly science class. She earns As and Bs. She likes being a cheerleader and dancing.

Some of her favorite singers to listen to: Cardi B, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé. She also likes to play Monopoly, Operation and card games, but also says her favorite thing to play on is her iPhone.

India describes herself as loyal, caring, loving and a daredevil. She likes to try new things. She also says she's sweet, peaceful and intelligent. She loves to organize things and vacuum.

She would like to be a scientist one day, but she also plans to become famous by writing songs for her favorite rappers.

She's proud of herself for her talent in song writing.
India prefers a family with a mom and a dad, sisters around her age and pets. She would prefer not to have a brother and would like her own room. She hopes for a family that likes to travel.

Reminder: Step Up to Quality deadline in July

Don't forget - if you run a child care facility that gets public funds from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, you must meet Step Up to Quality standards by July 1.

The good news is that most facilities in our region already have completed this task. Check out this great story about the success rate from WCPO.

But if you still need help, check out our  information page.

Our email 
addresses changed

Our email addresses changed.

Primary email addresses for all HCJFS employees changed with the start of the new year. The new format for most employees is FirstName.LastName@jfs.ohio.gov.

Our previous email addresses will continue to reach us for some time, but we will begin transitioning to the new addresses soon.

If you happen to have trouble reaching someone at our agency, try the worker's name in this format: FirstName.LastName@jfs.ohio.gov.

Thank you.

U.S. Census hiring thousands

The U.S. Census is looking to fill thousands of temporary jobs.
Hours are flexible. Most people hired  will work evenings and weekends, making this an ideal job for someone who works full time and is looking to make extra money on the side.

The Census Bureau is also committed to hiring people to work in the neighborhoods in which they live. 

You must be at least 18 and a U.S. citizen.

Apply  here.

Commissioners honor three staff members 

Three of our employees were honored last week for their years of service by the Hamilton County Commissioners.

Nadine Hudgins was praised for her 30 years of service. She  retired two days later. Nancy White and Tom Lutz were honored for 25 years of service each. 

Extended hours
at Social Security

Hours at Cincinnati's Social Security offices recently changed.

The offices are now open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. They are no longer closed early on Wednesdays.

The change is part of the Social Security Administration's efforts to improve customer service. Also new: the hiring of 1,100 employees to staff the national toll-free hotline and processing centers.

Remember too that most Social Security services don't require you to go to an office. Most things can be accomplished online by creating a my Social Security account.

Go to socialsecurity.gov to get started.

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Weir: I'm proud
of all JFS accomplishes

You may have heard already that I will soon leave JFS to accept the position as the first woman to lead the United Way of Greater Cincinnati as CEO/President. I do this with extreme mixed emotions. While I am excited to lead an organization helping hundreds of thousands of children and families throughout our region, I will greatly miss this tremendous institution, the work we do, the people we serve and the people who help us.

This opportunity will allow me to continue my life's work with children and families, but on a larger and regional platform.  The United Way has an over 100+ year history of helping children, families and individuals reach financial stability, health and education. In this work, I will tap many different sectors, including the private sector.  I view this as an opportunity to continue my advocacy for JFS and its great work.  

I am proud of what this agency accomplished in my more than 12 years as director. We were a model for other JFS organizations across the state and even the nation.  We were often asked to pilot new programs because there is faith that Hamilton County will get it right. We won more awards for innovation from the National Association of Counties than any other governmental organization in Ohio. We initiated creative programs, policy and practice that will affect lives for years to come.

Most importantly, we made a difference in our community. We helped hundreds of thousands, from the unemployed father to the struggling single mother to the abused child. We were their rock in troubled times.

I have been privileged to have a career devoted to children and families.  As Marion Wright Edelman said, "I am doing what I was put on this earth to do.  And, I'm grateful to have something I am passionate about and I think is profoundly important."

Adoption staff hit
another record high

Children's Services staff worked extremely hard last year on finding permanent families for kids in foster care - and it worked, big-time. Workers helped facilitate a record number of adoptions: 259.
That's 259 kids now living with loving, forever families. And it's a 25 percent increase over the 207 adoptions we counted in 2018. This is at least the fifth year in a row during which we've seen adoption numbers rise. The 259 marks a 154 percent increase over the 102 adoptions Hamilton County saw just five years ago in 2015.

One adoption requires a lot of preparation and paperwork. So 259 means a whole lot of good work was done by our staff. One worker, Maggi Erhart, handled 45 of the 259. Thank you for your efforts, Maggi! (She recently marked 30 years with the agency).

Increasing numbers of adoptions is a national trend, in part because of the opioid crisis - more kids taken into permanent care has meant more adoptions. Nationally, adoptions with involvement of child welfare agencies increased to 63,100 in fiscal year 2018, compared with 59,500 in fiscal year 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Numbers for 2019 are not yet available, but experts expect those to show an increase also.

Despite these rising adoption totals, many kids still wait for forever families. More than 100,000 children across the country are waiting to be adopted. In Hamilton County on any given day, more than 400 children are waiting for their forever families.

Celebrating Chinese culture with
a special teacher

Our Information Systems team was treated to a fun learning experience by one of their coworkers.

Zhongying Zhang, senior database administrator, marked the Chinese New Year with a presentation about her homeland. She talked about the differences between Chinese cities, architecture, people and food and brought some homemade pork dumplings and glutinous rice cake. (Which tastes better than it might sound).

She also showed her coworkers how to make paper lanterns. 

Zhongying, who goes by Ying, came to the United States in 1995 to reunite with her husband, who was studying for his master's degree at Georgia State University. While he continued on to earn a doctorate, she pursued her master's degree at the University of South Carolina. She started work at JFS in 2016.

Ying said she appreciated the opportunity to let her colleagues know her and her culture and also the agency's efforts toward inclusiveness and equity. 

The Chinese New Year began Jan. 25. It is the Year of the Rat.

Did you adopt last year?

If you finalized an adoption in 2019, there's a possibility you could be eligible for a $14,080 federal tax credit.

Families who finalized the adoption of a child who has been determined to have special needs in 2019 can claim the full credit of $14,080 regardless of their adoption expenses.

Go  here for more information.