Hello Friends:

The calendar tells us that fall is upon us but the recent weather indicates that summer is not quite finished. Fall also brings about a number of annual events for us at JFS that involve our amazing staff as well as our community stakeholders, partners, and volunteers.

In this newsletter, you will find information about our upcoming Job Fair where we will be hosting 90 employers at Ohio University – Lancaster, an update on our school clothes program, a farewell to our dear friend and colleague Johanna Pearce while welcoming Dave Henwood to fill her shoes, a recap of Child Support Awareness Month, and information on an important upcoming training.

Thank you for your support of our mission to protect children and elderly, encourage family stability, and promote self-reliance for a stronger community.

Child Support Awareness Month Celebration
August was Child Support Awareness Month in Ohio. This year the activities kicked off with a proclamation by the Fairfield County Board of Commissioners recognizing the importance of the child support program to the community. The child support program impacts more children than any other public program in Ohio, except public education. One in three children is impacted by this program.       

Fairfield County Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) staff participated in a number of activities aimed at educating customers about recent changes to the child support program as well as engaging and entertaining children who visited the agency during the month. CSEA staff donated school supplies that were distributed to visitors as well as coloring books and other treats. Parents were provided with brochures and fact sheets to keep them well informed about child support changes. In Fairfield County alone, there are more than 9,000 child support cases and over $21 million collected each year.  

Each August, we take a moment to thank the CSEA staff for their work on behalf of Fairfield County families. We also thank the many stakeholders including courts, law enforcement and local employers who help to make the program successful. 
Making a Difference Through Partnerships
Fairfield County Job and Family Services is pleased to announce we were able to assist over 834 children purchase back to school clothes and supplies. This specific program is supported by a limited amount of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars that had been allocated for back to school needs. Income eligible families receiving Ohio Works First Cash Assistance and families receiving Kinship (children cared for by relatives) Cash Assistance were eligible for this program. All back to school vouchers were issued to either Walmart Lancaster or Walmart Canal Winchester based on the customer’s choice. Special thanks to Walmart for partnering with us for this wonderful opportunity.  
Community Member Provides Generous Donation of School Clothing/School Supplies
A Gift From the Heart . . .
In August, a member of the Fairfield County community called Community Services wanting to help a family with school clothes and school supplies. There are many families in our community who fall through the eligibility cracks for certain programs. This family was not eligible for the JFS school clothes/supplies program because she was not in receipt of cash assistance and she was not eligible for the Charity Newsies program. She had a daughter going to Kindergarten and a son entering first grade.   

The community member bought shoes, clothing, backpacks and school supplies to give to this family in need and ensure the children have a great start to school. 

Thank you for thinking of families in need!
Johanna Pearce Retires
After more than 30 years of working at Fairfield County Job & Family Services, Johanna Pearce celebrated her retirement on Aug.30. Johanna, the Permanency Manager for Fairfield County Protective Services, has long been a leader and advocate for foster families and has been instrumental in helping hundreds of children finding their forever families through adoption. She was recognized at the Aug. 20 Fairfield County Board of Commissioners meeting and presented with a Certificate of Recognition for her time with the county and the impact she had on countless children and families.

Fairfield County JFS won’t be the only place where Johanna’s departure is felt, however. Through the years, she has served on committees and work groups across the county and state, helping develop best practices around foster care and adoption licensure and approval, as well as team meetings. Johanna’s voice has long been well-respected by leaders in child welfare and her retirement will leave a void across the state.

Replacing Johanna as the Permanency Manager within Protective Services will be David Henwood (Pictured above). David has worked with JFS for the past 12 years, with the past five as a supervisor in the Permanency team. David’s hope is to continue to grow the work of finding families for children, while hoping to carry on Johanna’s legacy.
Plans of Safe Care: A Community Collaboration
Fairfield County Protective Services, along with other community providers, will participate in a community wide training on Sept. 13 to provide knowledge on the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act (CARA) and Plans of Safe Care (POSC). CARA was passed into law in 2016 to help address the problem of opioid addiction in the U.S. The goal was to create a state plan and practice related to safe care plans for infants born and identified as being affected by or exposed to substances. The responsibility of Protective Services and collateral agencies is to create a POSC for infants born and identified as being affected or exposed by substance abuse, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

The training will focus on addressing the needs of substance affected infants by providing education on how to develop a plan of safe care. These discussions will be led by Protective Services as well as providers from the medical field, local recovery service providers, court personnel, Community Action, and the Family, Adult and Children First Council. Participants will learn what the benefits of a POSC are as well as what information is needed to develop a POSC. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in a hands on activity focused on developing a POSC with the county’s POSC coordinator, Ann Probasco. 

The training will be held on Sept. 13 from 8:30 a.m. - noon at Life Church located at 5550 Lancaster-Newark Rd. NE Pleasantville, OH 43148. If interested in this free training opportunity, please follow the link below to register. CEU’s and RCH’s pending.