August 2016

Shani'ya likes school, especially reading, and earns average grades. She describes herself as nice, smart, strong, active and sometimes funny.

She loves to ride horses, play Just Dance and listen to hip hop. And she has a very big life goal: to be a surgeon or a doctor who delivers babies.

By looking at her room, you would know that she's neat. She helps around the house by sweeping and picking up her things.

She says other people describe her as helpful, smart, pretty and creative.

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Child support amnesty 
designed to help families

August is Child Support Month. We are doing several things to draw attention, including an Amnesty Week for warrants and Amnesty Month for driver's and professional licenses. We also are helping delinquent parents find jobs.

Child Support is our largest program. We handled an average of 78,000 cases a month last year and collected more than $129 million. When you consider each case involved a mother, father and at least one child, that is at least 234,000 people in this community who are involved in a child support case with our department, making it our biggest program by volume.

In fact, in Ohio, only one government program encompasses more children: the state's education system.

Still, it is one of the things for which our agency is least known.

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.
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.  

Heart Gallery ready for new locations

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 our video that explains why we started the exhibit.
Could your business or event include a Heart Gallery show? Please email us with opportunities. You never know when showing these photos could result in a forever family for one of our kids.