Wishing you a
Happy Holiday Season!
Hello Friends,

The end of the year is near and a perfect time to reflect on the good things that have happened within our community. Our mission is to protect children and elderly, encourage family stability, and promote self-reliance for a stronger community, and we couldn't do so without the valuable support and partnerships within our county. 

With this in mind, I want to thank everyone who helped to pass our Protective Services Levy. We were blessed with so many volunteers, including staff and their families, who came together to share the importance of protecting children and elderly in Fairfield County. 

This is also a busy time here at FCJFS with the holidays right around the corner. Remember, our Protective Services department is taking gift donations for children and elderly who are in need. Don't miss out on this opportunity to make the holidays special for children and elderly who are involved with our agency. See below for more information.

P lease take a moment to review our newsletter and as always, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. 

Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

There's Still Time to Make a WISH Come True

Children, families, and elderly adults linked with Protective Services this holida y season need our help. The support we have already received fro m our
Fairfield County community has been unbelievable, so thank you! We continue to stay busy matching wish lists from children and elderly  with  all of our donors who will be sponsoring them - and the wish lists keep coming.

Have you thought about providing a donation or sponsoring a child, family, or elderly adult for Christmas? If so, please contact Heather Funk at 740-652-7689 or  heather.funk@jfs.ohio.gov.
Community Services Highlights
Fairfield County Pilots  SNAP/TANF Eligibility System
 
Ohio Benefits, the eligibility system for processing Medicaid, has now been expanded to process SNAP (Food Assistance) and TANF (Cash Assistance) beginning October 31, 2017. Fairfield County is one of five counties in Ohio participating in the implementation of a six-month SNAP/TANF pilot with Clark, Licking, Summit and Warren Counties.

The first phase of the SNAP/TANF pilot will include processing only new applications for the SNAP/TANF programs in Ohio Benefits. All existing open SNAP/TANF cases will continue to be processed in our legacy eligibility system until conversion. This first phase of the pilot is expected to last three months. In early 2018, all existing SNAP/TANF cases in the five pilot counties will be converted into the Ohio Benefits system. The statewide roll-out of SNAP/TANF functionality in Ohio Benefits to the remaining 83 counties in Ohio is tentatively planned for May 2018. 
Applying for SNAP/TANF during  the Pilot
 
With the addition of SNAP/TANF eligibility to the Ohio Benefits system, individuals will be able to apply for SNAP/TANF programs using the same online website as the Medicaid application. This website can be accessed by visiting:
Individuals can always come to the agency to apply for benefits. Remember, if families or individuals are applying for or renewing Medicaid ONLY they can still call 1-844-640-OHIO to complete  the
applicatio n or renewal over the phone. SNAP/TANF applications cannot be taken by phone at this time.   
 
Benefit Issuance Change
The Ohio Benefits system will only allow one nightly batch to issue benefits. This means that individuals that are approved for SNAP benefits will no longer receive the SNAP benefit on their EBT card the same day. The benefits will still be available within 24 hours, but it will not be until the next day. Individuals are encouraged to call Direction Card Customer Service at 1-866-386-3071 to verify their SNAP benefits have loaded to their card prior to
 attempting to use the EBT card at the store. If the individual has never had an EBT card, one will be mailed to them. If they have had a card but lost it, they will need to call the Direction Card Customer Service at 1-866-386-3071 to get a replacement. Replacement cards and new cards may take up to seven days to receive. 
CSEA Welcomes New Attorney
Th e Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) is excited to announce that Jacob Stang, Esq joined the Legal Team on Nov. 20.

Jacob is originally from Chardon, Ohio but moved to Central Ohio to attend Ohio Wesleyan where he also played football and won a NCAC Championship before graduating in 2014. After completing his undergrad, Jacob enrolled at Capital University Law School where he served as Secretary for the American Constitutional Society and volunteered for a number of advocacy groups. Jacob graduated from Capital in 2017 and was accepted into the Ohio Bar in November of this year. 

In his free time, Jacob enjoys watching the Columbus Crew, Bluejackets hockey, and all Cleveland sports which unfortunately, includes the Browns. He also enjoys exploring State and National Parks and playing pick-up basketball with friends. Join us in giving Jacob a warm JFS welcome!

November - National Adoption Month

On Saturday, Nov. 18, seven families adopted 10 children during adoption hearings conducted by Judge Terre Vandervoort at Fairfield County Juvenile and Probate Court. The children were as young as nearly two years old and three youth were over fourteen years of age. More than 100 family members and friends were in attendance to support these children and their families on this very special day. Judge Vandervoort provided every adoptee with a special coin to commemorate the occasion and Fairfield County Protective Services gave each family a floral bouquet and a blanket for each child. Additionally, each family celebrated with a reception held at the courthouse. 

Protective Services wishes to acknowledge Kroger's on Eas t Main Street for cr eating the floral bouquets in  National Adoption Day colors, Mrs. Becky Grubb for the donation of cupcakes, capturing the National Adoption Day logo, Judge Vandervoort and her staff for providing amazing hospitality for  the adoptive families and their loved ones, and Deputy Jeff Marvin for providing courthouse security during the event.  The adoptio n preparation by Adoption Caseworkers Amy Jenkins, Francisco Argondizza, Joe Katulak and their supervisor, Karen Wolfe, assured everything was in place for Attorney James Lineha n to obtain the needed testimony and docume nts to the court. Other Protective Services staff assisted with the reception and assured a very successful event.  The morning ended with the 2017 Friend of Adoption Award being presented to Attorney Sarah Rahter for her work in support of legal permanency for children and youth involved with Protective Services. 

Congratulations to each child and their adoptive family and best wishes as they continue their adoption journey. No child should linger in foster care or leave the system at any age without a permanent family of their own. Adoptive families are especially needed for teens. For more information about the adoption of an older child, please call 740-652-7887 and ask to speak with a Permanency Team Member.  

Annual Job Fair a Hit with Job Seekers and Employers Alike 
JFS partners with Ohio University-Lancaster each Fall to host a Job Fair. This year's event was on Sept. 29 and attracted over 250 job seekers and nearly 100 employers. The Job Fair is open to the public and is recommended to anyone looking for a new or better job as well as employers trying to fill vacancies.  This year's event featured several employers who are new to the area as well as many returning employers who have made the Job Fair part of their overall recruiting strategy. 

One of the participating employers commented, "I've been coming to this event for years and these are by far, the best applicants we've seen." He wasn't alone as 90% of the participating employers who responded to the survey said they would recommend the event to other businesses.  A number of job seekers were hired as a result of the Job Fair. Responding employers reported hiring 17 new employees and a number of other job seekers came into the OhioMeansJobs Center to let staff know they received job offers. One job seeker remarked about the Job Fair, "I wasn't sure what to expect when I got here but everyone was very friendly and I talked to quite a few businesses. I also have an interview scheduled for next week!"

Though these job fairs are only once a year, JFS hosts onsite hiring events on a regular basis for local employers. Anyone who is interested in more information on these events can visit our website at www.fcjfs.org

Work Experience Alternative Gives Back!
Certain individuals who receive public assistance through the Ohio Works First program must participate in a work activity. While most are placed throughout the community or are attending school, certain individuals are unable to participate due to medical reasons. These individuals can fulfill their requirements by participating in the TANF Work Adjustment Program through Functional Training Services, Inc. The program produces various items throughout the year while they develop and build their basic work skills (attendance, punctuality, following directions, appropriate interactions, etc.). Participants can learn a new skill, work within the restrictio ns set forth by their medical professionals, and meet their program requirements while producing something meaningful to "give back" to the community. 

In 2017, the program produced and donated a total of 34 quilts to Child Protective Services, Charity Newsies, and the Dog Shelter.  A total of 101 knitted hats were taken to JFS to be placed on the "Hat and Mitten Tree", and 148 stuffed animals were created and donated to Child Protective Services and Charity Newsies (to be i ncluded in their Christmas meal baskets).  

The program recently received a reque st for stuffed animals from the Lancaster Fire Department, who would like to keep some on hand in order to provide the m as comfort items for kids they encounter on emergency calls.  






Mobile Blood Drive Coming Soon