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Meet Cody

Cody is very eager to be adopted and be part of a family. He needs a family that can adjust its expectations of him to meet his current social, emotional and educational functioning. 
While Cody has great potential, he needs parents who are extremely patient and willing to learn how to effectively communicate with him and advocate for him educationally and with other service providers.

Cody loves music, especially Christian and country. He enjoys being outside, riding his bike, swimming or camping.

Cody would like to live in a rural setting or somewhere he would have a lot of room to safely run around and play outdoors.

Graduation party for teens in foster care

Do you know a teen in foster care or independent living who is graduating from high school this year?
We need to make sure they're on our list for Celebration of Dreams, our annual event for kids who graduate. Only about 40 percent of teens in foster care make it to high school graduation, so we want to honor them in a big way.

Please send us names of any teens you think might graduate. 

The event is June 6. More details to come.

Follow the FAMILY Fund on Instagram

The FAMILY Fund helps HCJFS  cover expenses that go beyond what the agency is allowed to fund or for which it has very limited funds. It stands for Friends and Advocates Making Investments in Local Youth.
Donations to the Family Fund have paid for things like college visits, car repairs and sports camps - things that help make a foster child's life feel a bit more typical.

Check out @HCFamilyFund to see what's going on with the fund and how it is helping kids in foster care. 

Efforts underway
to improve HCJFS

Among the many things learned in my 12 years as director of Job and Family Services: organizations can always make themselves better. 
Of course, this applies to everything in life. Never grow comfortable and always reevaluate how you can improve.
This is the approach we take at JFS and it is the reason we recently made three key moves:
  • hiring someone to lead community engagement efforts
  • working with a local strategy company to examine the JFS "brand"
  • consulting with local experts to ensure we strengthen our ongoing efforts to be an equitable, inclusive organization    
These efforts all tie together. We want to position ourselves as an organization known for helping all Hamilton County residents to a better place in life.

Thank you,
St. John the Baptist!

To celebrate Right to Read Week (April 1-5), students at St. John the Baptist School on Dry Ridge Road in Colerain Township collected books to donate to HCJFS. 

The goal of the week is to foster a love of learning. Students were encouraged to read and provided opportunities to do so throughout the week. 

Students were challenged to donate 1,000 books. They exceeded that goal by collecting 1,106 books.

The books will be placed in the waiting rooms and visitation rooms at HCJFS and used to create a book "giving" library at our new Millvale site when it opens.

Come meet some kids who are waiting for forever families

If you have a home study on file with us, please consider coming to this recruitment event to meet some of the kids who are looking for adoptive families. It's a fun, no-pressure way to begin the process.

Meet our new
engagement director

She's board chair of the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency, founder of a company that helps felons find work, an adoptive mom, a grandma and a DJ.
She's also our new assistant director - community strategies and engagement. Chandra Mathews-Smith is on board and ready to start helping the community understand everything we do and how we can help.

She's easy to talk to and eager to start connecting with community groups. Her background is mostly in Children's Services, but her efforts will focus on all aspects of the agency.

She's excited about this job because she has always felt a connection to HCJFS. She's a former foster parent for Hamilton County and an adoptive parent. She led an effort through Beech Acres Parenting Center - where she worked for more than 20 years and eventually became a vice president - to recruit emergency foster homes. She "spent a lot of time in churches, in the community and at rec centers talking about the need for foster homes."

But her work goes beyond issues pertaining to Children's Services. She also worked at the Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio as a consultant, helping to keep seniors out of the hospital, and as vice president of operations for Medicaid services. She's worked on poverty issues, too.

She expects to return to a lot of churches and other locations as she heads back out into the community on behalf of HCJFS. She wants to help the community understand more about the agency and how we want to work together to make positive change in all our service areas.

"I'm honored to take on this huge role," she said. "This is something that's after my own heart."

Please reach out to say hello and let her know what people and groups she should get to know.

You look great in blue

Thanks to everyone who wore blue last week for Child Abuse Prevention Month. Wearing blue is an easy thing to do, but it helps us call attention to this very important issue.

IDENTITY helps foster parents know medical histories quicker

A system HCJFS helped build to improve access to health records for kids in foster care is being talked about around the country.

The project, a confidential data-sharing program between children's services and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center called IDENTITY, has grown from just an idea in 2015 to an example of good work highlighted in January at the annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research.
The IDENTITY team: Judith Dexheimer, Biomedical Informatics and Emergency Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Kristine Flinchum, HCJFS; Hamilton County Juvenile Court Magistrate Paul DeMott; Mary Greiner, medical director of the CHECK Clinic, CCHMC; and Sarah Beal, CCHMC Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology.

Kristine Flinchum, a Children's Services business analyst, has put in countless hours as HCJFS' representative on this team. She helped present it at the conference in San Francisco. She's happy that after years of work, IDENTITY is working and helping.

The goals of IDENTITY are to improve health outcomes for kids in foster care, save time and money and minimize placement issues by allowing information sharing between child welfare workers and the hospital.

Sometimes, critical health information is not known to HCJFS workers or placement providers and it can take months to find that information. Delays like that can cause missed appointments and other issues that result in less than the best health care for our kids. Imagine being a foster parent and not having any idea what health needs you need to provide for the child just placed in your home.

Future plans include incorporating Montgomery County Children's Services and Dayton Children's Hospital.