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A Word from the Program Director

Hello! We at CSS hope that each of you and your families are doing well. Hopefully the children and youth in your care have been able to settle in after the start of the new school year. 


With the first day of fall now behind us, and the holiday season coming up just around the corner, we are quickly approaching the end of another year. We at CSS are thankful for each of you and thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives. 


Over the coming weeks and months we will be hosting some fun Friend2Friend events, finishing up our last round of psychoeducational groups for the calendar year, and wrapping up our first ever session of the LifeSkills course. I hope that you will be able to join us in some of these upcoming events and activities as we celebrate the fall and winter season. To register yourself or family members, or to receive additional information, for our psychoeducational groups or for the LifeSkills course please reach out to your local Family Advocate, or reach us on our GRANDfamilies email:


Wishing you all well, 

Rich Johnston, CMHC

GRANDfamilies Program Director/Interim Adoption Program Director

November is Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. Every year during the month of November, communities across the nation seek to increase awareness on the topic of adoption. According to Adoption Network, about 135,000 children are adopted in the U.S. every year. Adoption gives children a new chance at life and provides opportunities for families to grow. Whether you have been adopted, you have adopted or you want to adopt, you know that adoption makes a difference! 

Although there are many joys that come with adoption, it can still bring unique challenges depending on the trauma and background of the child coming into the home. Adoptive parents may find it challenging to know how to help these children and children may struggle to understand their identity and process the trauma they have experienced. The Adoption program at CSS seeks to help with these challenges by providing therapy and support groups for these families. If you have adopted, are considering adopting, have been adopted, or would just like some more information, reach out to one of our Adoption Specialists today and ask about how we can help you!

GALA 2022

Children’s Service Society hosted its annual Gala Fundraiser this year with a focus on the 20th anniversary of the GRANDfamilies program. We were honored to hear from Jenn Dishman, one of our amazing kinship caregivers, as she shared her experiences as a kinship family receiving services through GRANDfamilies. Dr. Beth Beck, former Executive Director, accepted the Exemplary Service Award for her work in implementing the GRANDfamilies program back in 2002. Governor and First Lady Cox were present for the evening as First Lady Abby Cox accepted the Children’s Advocacy award for her work with her Show Up Utah campaign. We feel humbled and grateful to have raised more this year than previous years and strive to use all raised funds to better our services offered to our Utah community through CSS. 

Community Partner Spotlight

GRANDfamilies doesn’t just provide a lot of help, we also receive a lot of help from our partners in the community. Although a storage unit facility may not be the first community partner that comes to mind, our friends at Wildcat Storage have helped GRANDfamilies tremendously over the years by donating much needed space for our program. This has saved GRANDfamilies thousands of dollars over the years and by donating their valuable space, Wildcat Storage has allowed us to provide more vital resources to kinship children and families. With valued partners in the community like Wildcat Storage, we believe we are making lasting changes in the lives of the children and caregivers that we work tirelessly to serve. Thank you, Wildcat Storage!

The Last Three Months, GRANDfamilies Completed...

Thank You to Our Donors!
Upcoming at Children's Service Society
Get to Know GRANDfamilies Staff

Chloe Weilenmann

Chloé is the Coordinator for GRANDfamilies (overseeing the ins and outs of the program’s direct services in the southern half of the state) and the president of the Utah Kinship Coalition. Two years ago, Chloé fulfilled her life-long dream of obtaining a Master’s degree in Child Psychology, and shortly thereafter dived into the social work field, earning her SSW license. The past years of working at GRANDfamilies has brought out her passion regarding parenting techniques and she really enjoys working with kinship families. Her new dream is to own a sheep.

Mindy Newsome

Mindy is the Kinship Adoption Specialist, working with our GRANDfamilies clients by providing home studies and related services in their pursuits of adopting the children for whom they are caring. Mindy has worked in the mental and behavioral health field for 20 years and received her Master’s degree in Social Work in 2009. Mindy also provides therapy to the clients served through CSS. Since she started working at CSS two years ago, she has enjoyed seeing the families we work with strengthen their bonds and work to provide a stable and healthy environment for  the  children  in 

their care. 

Fall Activity


  • Place 6 pop tarts on the cutting board.


  • You will be making cuts on 4 out of 6 of the pop tarts. The 2 that aren't cut are the roof pieces. You can set those 2 pop tarts to the side if you'd like.

Front and Back Walls

  • Take 1 pop tart and place it on its side, right next to another pop tart.
  • Cut on a diagonal from the corner of the pop tart that it on its side, to the center of the middle pop tart. Repeat on the other side.
  • You should now have a pop tart that looks like a house. Repeat this step so that you have 2 house shaped pop tarts.

Side Walls

  • Remember that pop tart that you turned on its side? Go ahead and stand it up again. Place it next to one of the house-shaped pop tarts, lining up the corners, and cut horizontally across (as shown in photo). Repeat.
  • You should now have two roof pieces (un-cut), 2 house shaped pieces, and 2 wall peces.
  • Combine powdered sugar and water to make a royal icing glue. Add water 1/2 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved (2 1/2 teaspoons works well for me). Spoon icing into a ziploc bag and cut the tip off.
  • Glue the 4 walls together with icing and hold in place for a minute or so.
  • Add the roof pieces and hold in place for another minute or so.
  • Let houses stand at least 30 minutes before decorating. If making these with kids, assemble them the day before to allow pop tarts to harden (makes them sturdier) before decorating.
  • Dip decorations into icing or pipe icing onto houses to decorate.

Activity by Gluesticks Blog.

GRANDfamilies at Children's Service Society of Utah | 801-355-7444
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