July 2020
Congratulations, graduates!
One of my favorite JFS events is our celebration for kids in foster care who graduate from high school. It usually happens every June. We make quite a big event out of it since it’s such an achievement for many of these kids.

This year would have marked our 21st annual Celebration of Dreams. We were preparing to host the graduates and their supporters at the Hilton downtown in the beautiful Hall of Mirrors.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus changed those plans. But it cannot change the importance of this achievement or diminish the pride I have in this group of 2020 graduates. More than 50 teens earned their diplomas in this unusual year.

These students overcame significant hurdles. They dealt with abuse or neglect, removal from their families, often multiple placement changes which mean school changes too. Add those things on top of the usual challenges of navigating high school and you can see why roughly 60 percent of teens in foster care don’t make it to graduation.

But these grads persevered through it all and earned their diplomas.
Some will head off to college soon. Several have academic and athletic scholarships. Some already have started their trade-school training. Others are already working.

I hope that whatever their next step, they know they already have achieved so much.
We can't throw a party at the Hilton, but we won’t let COVID19 stop us from celebrating them. We don’t want to give away details just yet, but we will be honoring them. We wouldn’t miss the chance to let them know we're very proud.

Collaboration on child care quality yields great results
The collaboration between our child care staff and 4C For Children to get child care centers ready for the Step Up to Quality deadline is going so well - less than 20 remain left to be rated by Sept. 1.

Step Up To Quality is a five-star rating system run by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. It's designed to improve the quality of care and education to improve outcomes for children.

Emilie Meyer, strategic director for program operations at 4C, praised how well her agency and HCJFS have worked together on this important initiative.

"It’s quite astounding to reckon with the fact that we are down to such a small group of providers," she said. "This has been a beautiful collaborative effort and we are immensely grateful for all of the time, energy and perseverance that has been dedicated to this really important initiative. A million thanks to all!"
New transportation provider for OWF
Community Link will no longer provide transportation services to the Ohio Works First (OWF) 18- to 24-year-old population. As of July 1, the CCMEP (Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program) will provide all services for this population. 
The new office location for services for OWF clients 18 to 24 is 644 Linn St., Suite 600, Cincinnati, 45203. Staff members previously were stationed at the OMJ Center, 1916 Central Parkway. 
Brandon definitely knows sports – he’s a power forward on his basketball team, the quarterback in football and he pitches for his baseball team. But he also gets good grades in school and loves math, especially decimals and percentages.

He says others describe him as funny, creative and very nice. He likes to listen to rap and pop, especially Blueface, Katy Perry and YMW Melly. He likes to watch Ben 10, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Teen Titans Go! on TV.

Brandon likes to play video games and go to the YMCA. He helps around the house by washing dishes, sweeping and mopping and taking out the trash.
Thanks for wearing purple
Thanks to everyone who wore purple last month for elder abuse awareness. You all look good in purple.

Hope you saw yourselves on our social platforms!