December 2019

    Meet Angel
Angel is funny, happy, kind and always helpful. She is all smiles!

Her favorite class is science and she earns good grades in school. She enjoys doing hands-on activities to learn in class.
Angel loves sports and she likes watching the Reds play on TV. She likes country and pop music. Her favorite artist is Thomas Rhett.

Monopoly is one of her favorite board games. Her favorite foods are cupcakes and pasta. 

 Thank you to movie mom for adoption attention
We were fortunate to be part of Leigh Anne Tuohy's campaign last month to bring more attention to the need for adoptive homes.
Tuohy is the real-life mom in The Blind Side story. She and her husband adopted Michael Oher, who later became an NFL star.

Tuohy highlighted two teen boys in foster care in Hamilton County - Devin and Xzavier. We are hopeful the extra attention might attract the right homes for these boys.

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Two great words:

Our agency has been going through a self-examination as part of a re-branding effort. You will soon see the product of those efforts, but I want to discuss something that touched me as we went through the process.

One of the things we heard from many was that the support they received from our organization helped change their lives. We sometimes become so caught up in the work we do that we do not take the time to enjoy the success of that work. Hearing it first hand made me think back on how often I have personally witnessed lives being changed.

Just last month, I watched eight families adopt 14 children during our annual mass adoption ceremony. I watched parents, children and those in the courtroom weep as they were overcome with emotion on this life-changing day. Kinship families and foster families became forever families with the strike of the judge's gavel. That is powerful.

Every June, we hold a celebration for foster children who persevere and overcome great obstacles to graduate. While the ceremony itself is not life changing, what it represents certainly is. These young people achieved against great odds and put themselves in a better position to succeed. Many of them I know through my work at this agency. While it is sad to see children grow up in foster care, I am proud of their perseverance and the role we play in their life-changing success.  

I can look around and see more "life-changing" examples throughout our agency. At our OhioMeansJobs Center, someone gets a job nearly every day. We not only help them find that job, but we help them prepare for it. One example is our Trucking Partnership, where food assistance recipients living in poverty receive the training and support they need to obtain their Commercial Driver's License and then go on to jobs earning nearly $50,000 a year. This partnership was named one of the nation's 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work by the National Association of Counties.

We continue more engagement in communities

As part of our ongoing efforts to meet consumers where they are and offer what they need, HCJFS representatives are spending more time in neighborhoods and at events.
A successful outreach day in Winton Terrace and Findlater Gardens last month drew residents out with questions about FAA benefits, day care help, employment and many other services. Our workers were so pleased to meet folks in person and directly help them get what they needed.

Surveys of attendees found these things to be their biggest needs: transportation; on-site hiring events and job training; and on-site computer training.

We will continue to work with other agencies, including Cradle Cincinnati and Beech Acres Parenting Center, to deliver these information sessions to people where they live.

Long career in service leads to MLK honor

Our assistant director for community engagement, Chandra Mathews-Smith, will receive a "Keep the Dream Alive" award at the 20th annual Rev. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. awards event in January.
The presentation honors individuals in the community who have emulated the Rev. Dr. King's servant leadership.

Mathews-Smith was chosen one of 10 Women of the Year last year by The Enquirer and The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. She was selected for her work with the Community Action Agency and C&C Premier Cleaning, a company she co-founded where the goal is to employ people who have felony records or other barriers that make it difficult for them to find work.

She worked for years at Beech Acres Parenting Center and also at the Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio.


Gov. Dewine's new  foster care group
touring state

Ohio now has a new Children Services Transformation Advisory Council aimed at reviewing the state of Ohio's foster care system and developing recommendations for improving the experience of children and families.

The group is t raveling the state to better understand local barriers and best practices as well as promoting a shared state and county vision for agency purpose and practice.

In order to better understand local challenges, the group will host regional listening forums across the state. Register

Two forums are happening locally: Dec. 17 in Lebanon and Jan. 8 in Cincinnati.