August 2017

Meet Xzavier
 
This 15-year-old describes himself as "awesome," and we agree. This charming and handsome young man works hard and likes to be nice to others.
He enjoys art class at school and loves to draw and paint.  When he is not expressing his artistic nature, he is playing games, participating in sports or watching sports on television. He loves all sports and plays a variety of positions in each of them.

Xzavier enjoys listening to all types of music, but Michael Jackson is his favorite. He likes scary or suspenseful movies.
This young man w ould love to be adopted into a large family with other kids. He dreams of living in a large house with a mother, father, siblings and dogs in a neighborhood with a lot of children to play with and be friends with. More importantly, he wants a family that is able to take care of him and love him.



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Support means more than money

When the public discusses child support, especially pertaining to our agency, it almost always means the monetary support a non-custodial parent pays to the child. When we discuss it internally, we like to broaden the definition to include family/parent engagement.

Children need a lot of things and having financial support to meet their basic needs is certainly at the top of the list. But they also need attention, guidance and love. When we discuss "child support," we like to include that kind of support for a child.

August is national Child Support Awareness Month. Besides the public education system, child support is the nation's largest program for children. There are 15 million cases nationwide, with $28 billion in annual collections. Here in Hamilton County, we worked more than 78,000 cases each month in 2016 and collected more than $128 million.

If you consider there is one mother, one father and at least one child per case, we know we are working with more than 234,000 people in our 78,000 cases. I am sure it is much higher because most cases have more than one child. Hamilton County has slightly more than 800,000 residents, so we know we are touching more than a third of those residents in our child support program.


 
Can you help teens in foster care with school supplies?

We know there are a lot of requests this time of year for back-to-school items. But if you're interested in helping our older kids in foster care be ready for school, here's a great way to do it:

To donate new supplies, email HEMImentors@uc.edu or call 613-556-3566. 

HEMI (Higher Education Mentoring Initiative) is a partnership between the University of Cincinnati, Hamilton County and other agencies. Its mission is to guide teens in foster care through high school and college.


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Agency again offering amnesty for child support payments

Parents who have had their driver's license or professional license suspended for not paying child support have the chance of reinstatement this month as Hamilton County Job and Family Services celebrates national Child Support Awareness Month with an offer of amnesty.
 
Delinquent parents who want to take advantage of an amnesty offer can have their driver's license or professional license reinstated by paying a portion of their total child support obligation and reporting their employment so wages can be garnished. To determine if you qualify for license reinstatement, please call 946-7387.
 
"It is in the best interests of the child that we establish an income stream so basic needs are being met," said Moira Weir, director of Hamilton County's Job and Family Services. "We are willing to work with delinquent parents because we want to re-establish that relationship with the child and ensure food, shelter and clothing are an automatic - and, always, our hope is that the relationship will go beyond that."     

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Intake interviews now over the phone

We are now doing Intake interviews on public assistance cases over the phone.

HCJFS transitioned to phone interviews for the convenience of the consumer, who will no longer have to travel downtown, pay for parking, arrange a ride, arrange for child care, etc. This also follows a societal trend of businesses transitioning away from in-person interactions for the convenience of online or over the phone. The agency has conducted recertifications for public assistance over the phone for approximately three years. texting-girl-sm.jpg

the agency conducts about 120-150 intake interviews a day.

Applicants who forget to call in or otherwise miss their phone interview will be able to reschedule and will have 30 days from their application date to complete the phone interview. Those who mistakenly show up at the agency for interviews will have options - calling in from their personal phone, calling in from the agency's phone bank, or, if they insist, a face-to-face interview. Applicants who do not have enough minutes on their phone to complete the interview can use the phone bank or ask for an in-person interview.

The agency uses a thorough verification process to guard against fraud.



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Story helps illustrate need for more foster homes

We talk all the time about having to place more than 40 percent of our foster kids in spots outside Hamilton County.  We just don't have enough local homes.

Foster parent Miranda Evans did a great job of explaining what the lack of Cincinnati homes means to foster parents who live farther away from downtown and have to bring their foster kids longer distances for appointments and to visit family.