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  Meet Giovanni
This helpful and responsible young man does well in school and enjoys reading adventure books. He also likes to play outside during his free time and he loves to laugh.

Giovanni enjoys watching football and playing football video games. His favorite subject in school is math, because he gets to learn new things every day. He describes himself as active and strong. He works really hard to keep his room clean and helps out around the house. Giovanni is proud of his artistic abilities and he hangs his drawings on the wall proudly for everyone to see.

Giovanni is looking for a caring and supportive family that can provide understanding as he copes with separation and loss. He also needs a family to support him and give him structure and guidance as he grows and matures.

Congratulations to our director, Moira Weir

Moira Weir, director of HCJFS, is being highlighted by Family Nurturing Center for her commitment to protecting children from abuse and neglect.

She will b e honored at the center's Blue Ribbon Bash on Aug. 12, downtown at the Hyatt Regency. The public is invited.

The nurturing center is a non-profit agency dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse by promoting healthy family relationships.  

Our new Life Books preserve memories for kids in care

Our Life Books team members have completely revamped how they make Life Books for kids, and the results are beautiful.

The books are presented to kids when they leave foster care or when they're adopted. They provide an important collection of photos and information designed to help kids understand things about their time in care and about their biological family.

The books used to be made of pages clipped into clunky binders. But now, Lauren Young and her Life Books team are making sleek, glossy magazines.
Young made revamping the books a priority when she was promoted to supervisor in January 2015. The books sometimes are the only connection a child has to his or her birth family, she said, so they need to be right and they need to be the best we can offer.

Making a good book isn't easy. Finding information about biological families can be challenging and it's often difficult to find a lot of good photos. But our Life Books writers look through archives and work with social workers to collect information and pictures. Our social workers are thrilled with the new books.

Young hopes to work more with foster parents, particularly to get photographs of the kids while they're in care. She does presentations to foster parenting classes about the importance of documentation.

The books are so meaningful - not only to the children, but to adoptive families as well. One of the most emotional moments of last year's National Adoption Day ceremony was when a new adoptive mom first saw her new son's Life Book. She had never before seen baby pictures of him. She cried as she looked through the photos of what her new son looked like before she knew him.

The books bring about similar reactions in our print shop, which Young credits for helping the books look great. Both Carol Langwald, document manager, and Kelley Sullivan, proofreader and printer, have had tears well up in their eyes while they read the books. They want to make sure, Langwald said, that the books are "a lasting keepsake that's as perfect as humanly possible."

The Life Book team: Supervisor Lauren Young, writer Douglas Geyer and, seated, writer Jennifer Grote. Writer Claudette Singleton did not want to be photographed.

Transition coming to managed care for foster, adopted kids

Starting in January, all children in custody of county  PCSA s and youth receiving adoption assistance will be receiving their health care through a Medicaid managed care plan.

The county  PCSA s will have to select which managed care plan to enroll each child in, beginning this fall with those currently in custody. Adoptive families will have to select which managed care plan to enroll their adoptive youth in this November.

The state is hosting regional trainings to explain the change.

The three Cincinnati training sessions will be Aug. 29 at 1, 2:45 or 4:30 p.m. at the public library, 800 Vine St., downtown. Email Tia Goodlett to register.

The Heart Gallery of Hamilton County

Our new Heart Gallery, a traveling photo exhibit featuring portraits of children available for adoption, is ready for its closeup. We unveiled it in April as a part of Wear Blue day for child abuse prevention, but the work with it has just begun.

The photos move regularly to different high-traffic areas around the region. We hope the compelling portraits draw attention to the more than 200 children available for adoption. 

Take a look at some photos from our unveiling event and at our video that explains why we started the exhibit.

If there's a spot you think should host The Heart Gallery of Hamilton County, please feel free to email any suggestion to Jane Prendergast.