August 2019
Brooklyn very much would like a permanent family. Especially one with a dog.
She likes music, singing along to country, gospel, hip hop and pop. She enjoys church and likes to read. She most recently read  The Fault in Our Stars .

Brooklyn would like a family that does a lot of activities, like going horse back riding, swimming and to the movies.
Her favorite colors are pink and purple.

Wear Green Aug. 7
With every August comes national Child Support Awareness month, a time when we focus attention on the importance of helping families get the support they deserve.
Please join us Aug. 7 in wearing green. Then post your photos on Facebook with the hashtag #hcchildsupport.

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Child support: 
We can help

Did you know at least a third of all Hamilton County residents are involved in a child support case?

We actively worked 71,000 child support cases per month in 2018. If you consider each case to have one father, one mother and at least one child (a lot involve more than one child), you can see that easily 250,000 to 300,000 of the county's 800,000 residents are involved in a child support case. The Child Support system ranks second to public education in terms of number of children served.

With national Child Support Month upon us, I am happy to discuss all we do to help fathers, mothers, children and employers involved in the Child Support system. Our services are all free of charge and can be found at

Our agency establishes paternity, including paying for paternity tests, establishes support orders based on state-mandated payment formulas, and enforces those orders, primarily through wage withholdings. The goal is a simple, seamless process for parents, so children receive support to meet their basic needs.

For those making payments, we have the option of automatic deductions. Those can be made from paychecks, Workers Compensation checks, certain Social Security benefits, pensions and annuities. For those who can't pay this way, there are five options: online, in person, by mail, by phone and through MoneyGram. Additionally, we will work with those who pay child support to adjust their payments should their income situation change.

A great day to honor
a 30-year career

Michael Willis, one of our Wendy's Wonderful Kids recruiters, retired this week after 20 years with HCJFS.

She left on a great note - seven adoptions this year. That's seven children who had been in foster care who now have permanent homes partly because of her efforts.
Willis, left, with the Thomas family, Magistrate Stargel and JFS worker Shawnia Robertson.

Her last two adoptions happened last week - one with a teenager who had been in the system for years, the other with a sibling set of three.

Both teens and sibling sets are among the most difficult situations to find families for. Many people want to adopt, but often they want babies or they are afraid to take three new children at once.

But Terrez and Candice Thomas were OK with three children at once - in addition to the two biological children they already had. They took Juelz, Jayshaun and Ja'Riah into their home in foster care last Christmastime and officially became their forever parents Tuesday. The courtroom was full of new official cousins, uncles and aunts.

The finalization, by Magistrate Rogena Stargel, brought Willis to tears.

"This is a beautiful family and a great ending to my story," she said in court. "They have been phenomenal with these children."

Would you host our Heart Gallery?

The Heart Gallery is a traveling photo exhibit created to help find safe, loving, permanent families for Hamilton County children in foster care. 

We have struggled over the last few years to find businesses and organizations willing to host the gallery for more than a day. For it to be successful, we need local hosts where the display can stay up for a month at a time. We need your help finding places with good foot traffic to make an impact. null
We have had the gallery up all over town, including at the United Way and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Now we need more locations.

The easy-to-put-up stands look good in lobbies, storefront windows, cafeterias - anywhere people can see them. We include a description of each child shown.

The Heart Gallery is not just a bunch of pictures. It is a collection we hope can help find a forever family for a waiting foster child. With your help, these portraits could be one of the many touches an individual needs to consider adoption. 

If you know of a business/organization/church that might host the Heart Gallery, please email Emma O'Dell at