Happy Holidays to You and Yours. . .
At Job and Family Services we are fortunate to have a number of opportunities where we can as individuals and as an agency, express kindness, compassion, and caring. These are expressions that are important to share year-round but often come into the forefront of our minds at this time of the year. Let us make sure to not limit this attitude of grace to a particular time but instead demonstrate this every day in some way.
As you read through our newsletter, you will notice that this edition is full of articles that demonstrate kindness, compassion, and caring by our staff as well as others that help us to fulfill our vision of safe children, stable families, and a strong community.
Wishing you all the joy of this holiday season,
JFS Employees Donate More Than 2,000 Food Items to Local Food Pantry – Feeding Thousands Just in Time for the Holidays
According to Feeding America, 40 million people face hunger in the U.S. today, including more than 12 million children and more than five million seniors. Such a need affects Fairfield County as well. Fairfield County Job and Family Services staff recognized this and decided to do something about it. On September 7, an email was sent out to staff asking for their participation in an agency food drive in honor of Hunger Action Month through the H3 Fairfield County Hunger Alliance. The department with the most donations would get a pizza party to celebrate their victory and what happened next was miraculous. In the Community Services department, specifically, the response was amazing. Out of the 77 employees in Community Services, six district teams competed in the “Hunger Games 2018 Food Drive Contest.” The District collecting the most items would win Gypsy Joe’s Donuts – with a tagline, “May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor.” Miraculously, the total donation from Community Services was 2,040 items! District 4 was the winner with a total of 444 donated pantry items. This donation was important to Community Services staff because they process SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Food Program) food assistance applications every day.

The grand total donation to the Fairfield County Food Pantry was 2,464 items.
“I am so pleased with the response from all the departments in our agency,” said Aundrea Cordle, JFS Director. “I have to say our Community Services department is a very competitive group and I was simply overwhelmed at their generosity and dedication to this cause. Such a large donation will be able to feed thousands of people in our area at a much-needed time of the year with the holidays right around the corner.”

The Mid-Ohio Foodbank reported in 2017 a staggering 108,866 people visited a Food Pantry in Fairfield County. Food supplied by Mid-Ohio Foodbank to Fairfield County partner agencies was enough to provide 2,403,630 meals. That is 6,585 meals per day and 2,884,536 total pounds of food and groceries. 
Churches, Child Welfare, and Care Portal: 
A Community Collaboration
The first annual CarePortal Conference was held on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Pickerington Church of the Nazarene. Highlights of the conference included Bishop Aaron Blake sharing how the church can support children in foster care/awaiting adoption, a panel discussion by individuals who have parented through kinship, foster/adoption and a young adult who discussed their adoption and kinship experience. Participants also were introduced to trauma informed care for children experiencing out of home care and some strategies to start the healing process. Care Portal is a collaboration between congregations in Fairfield County and Fairfield County Protective Services. CarePortal brings the needs of hurting children and families working with Protective Services to the attention of local congregations and gives congregations real-time opportunities to respond. For more information about becoming a CarePortal church in Fairfield County, please contact coordinator Janelle Shelton at janelle.shelton@gmail.com or call 614-353-9463.
November is National Adoption Month
Every November is National Adoption Month and this year’s theme is “In Their Own Words: Lifting Up Youth Voices.” Fairfield County again participated in National Adoption Day on Saturday, Nov. 17 and joined adoptees and their families across the U.S. as hundreds of adoptions were finalized. Judge Terre Vandervoort finalized the adoptions of ten Fairfield County children by five families. Represented among these adoptions were three sibling groups– including two sets of three–and three teenagers! Earlier in November, another youth finalized his adoption on his 17th birthday. Clearly, Fairfield County believes children of any age need family.
Commissioner David L. Levacy is Recipient of
2018 Friend of Adoption Award
Commissioner David L. Levacy was recognized as Protective Services’ 2018 Friend of Adoption awardee at the Board of Commissioner’s meeting on Nov. 13. Thanks to help from County Administrator, Carri Brown, and the Commission staff, it was kept a secret and even Mrs. Levacy snuck into the building to take part. An additional surprise was that Bob Kalish, Regional Liaison for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, provided a commendation from Secretary Husted. Commissioner Levacy received this recognition following the Board’s Proclamation acknowledgement of National Adoption Month. We are grateful for the opportunity to present Commissioner Levacy with this well- deserved award.  
National Adoption Month Facts
  • More than 15,800 Ohio children live in foster home settings or out-of-home placement settings.
  • 2,800 Ohio children in foster care are awaiting adoption.
  • Children age 13 and older wait longer to be adopted – an average of 1,168 days with is 4 years and 5 months.
  • 253 of these Ohio children will turn 18 in the next year and are at risk of “aging out” of the child welfare system without a forever family.
  • No child should linger in foster care or leave the system at any age without a permanent family of their own.
  • Fairfield County has 43 children awaiting adoption. In November, 11 adoptions were finalized.
  • Ohio partners with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruitment program.
  • Fairfield County is a recipient of a grant and Tish Enright serves as our WWK Recruiter.  In Ohio, work with WWK as resulted in 860 children finding permanent homes and another 80 are in pre-adoptive placement.  
  • On average, these children are 13 ½ years old and have spent more than four years in foster care. 
  • Fairfield County has integrated the practice of Permanency Roundtables and Youth Centered Permanency Roundtables to focus on youth voice in the work toward legal permanency.
  • Check out the Paramount movie Instant Family about foster care adoption. 
Community Services Helps Eligible
Families With Winter Coats
Community Services provided more than 200 coats to families and children through TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funding. Additional coats are still available to eligible families on a first come first serve basis. Eligibility requirements include:
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a social security number
  • Family gross income less than 200% of federal poverty guideline
  • Last 30 days income required
  • Child in the family under 18 or a full-time student older than 18, who will graduate before the age of 19
  • Pregnant woman in her third trimester

Contact Sarah Kauffman, PRC Specialist for more information at 740-652-7667 or email at
OMJ Center Welcomes New Manager
The Ohio Means Jobs (OMJ) Center in Fairfield County is excited to announce that Jodi Smith has joined the team as the Operations Manager. Jodi brings a wealth of management and leadership experience to the OMJ Center having worked the past 25 years, mostly as a supervisor, in Child Support. In her new position Jodi will be responsible for all aspects of the OMJ Center operations including staff supervision, scheduling, financial monitoring, performance measurement, career services and business services. Jodi is a lifelong Lancaster resident and graduated from Lancaster High School in 1987. She and her husband, Scott, have been married for 28 years and have three grown children. In her free time, Jodi enjoys going camping with her family and has visited many of the State Parks. She also enjoys cooking, especially over the campfire!   
OMJ Helps Harbor Freight Hire for New Location
Harbor Freight is opening a new location in Lancaster and needed to hire approximately 45 employees to get started. Their building was being remodeled so they needed a location to conduct interviews and do on-boarding with new hires. The Ohio Means Jobs (OMJ) Center – Fairfield County was happy to help. OMJ posted the available positions which included logistics, sales and management on the OMJ website and social media accounts. OMJ staff talked to customers coming into the resource room about these opportunities and encouraged them to apply, if it was a good fit for them. Harbor Freight Representatives spent about five weeks at the OMJ Center conducting interviews and on-boarding new hires which consists of application, orientation and watching various video tutorials. In the end, more than 50 people were hired through the OMJ Center.