May 2016

This 13-year-old describes himself as "awesome," and we agree. He's a charming and handsome young man who works hard and likes to be nice to others.

He enjoys art class at school and loves to draw and paint.  When he is not expressing his artistic nature, he is playing games, participating in sports or watching sports on television.

He loves all sports and plays a variety of positions in each of them.

Xzavier enjoys listening to all types of music, but Michael Jackson is his favorite.  He likes scary or suspenseful movies.

This young man would love to be adopted into a large family with other children. He dreams of living in a large house with a mother, father, siblings and dogs in a neighborhood with a lot of children to be friends with.

More importantly, he wants a family that is able to take care of him and love him.

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We need homes for our new Heart Gallery

I have another passion to add to my list of priorities: finding temporary homes for our Heart Gallery.

The Heart Gallery is a traveling exhibit of pictures portraying some of the 200 children we have available for adoption. Set up like an art exhibit, the gallery of photos showcases children through positive photos, with the hope of attracting an adoptive parent.  This collection features some of our children who have waited the longest.

Each portrait has a story. One may be the daughter of a father gripped by heroin addiction. Another may be the son of a mother who can't overcome her mental illness. Another may have been battered and bruised by someone incapable of loving and protecting. Still yet another may have been his brother and sister's protector, taking the brunt of the abuse so they could be spared.

But these photos are not about looking back. They're about looking forward to what could be. Each of these children have hopes and dreams of finding a forever family. The Heart Gallery gives them another chance.

We do everything we can to promote our kids who wait for families. For the Heart Gallery, we worked with local photographers who took photographs especially for this exhibit. We plan to move the exhibit throughout Greater Cincinnati on a monthly basis. We already have commitments from several organizations that have high-traffic areas.

Could you be #theone to make a difference in the life of a child? Please call us at 946-1728 or email us if you are willing to host The Heart Gallery of Hamilton County.  

Check out this  great Local12 story  about us.

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New collaborative works to recruit more foster families

Visit #CincyFosterCare at Great American Ballpark on May 19

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. The Cincy Foster Care Collaborative will be celebrating, along with children and families across the city. on Thursday, May 19 at the ballpark thanks to a generous donation of 1,000 Cincinnati Reds tickets in partnership with Most Valuable Kids. 

This Cincinnati Reds event provides a positive youth and family experience in honor of children, foster and adoptive families and raises awareness to the critical need for foster and adoptive parents in Hamilton County.

"Foster care and adoption very positively and powerfully change children's lives and put them on a path for success. There is absolutely a tremendous need for more families and more resources for children in foster care and those waiting for adoption in Hamilton County," says Collaborative Co- Chair, Pamela Lindeman. "Not everyone can be a foster or adoptive parent, but EVERYONE can support children in care through mentoring, volunteering and donating generously to this important cause."

Anyone interested in finding out more about children waiting for adoption or becoming a #CincyFosterCare family is encouraged to visit the Reds Fan Zone on May 19.

Our fraud investigators save taxpayers money

JFS fraud investigators recovered more than $324,000 from fraudulent public assistance cases last year and brought more than $63,000 in incentive money back to the county because of their good work.
With another May upon us, the county joins the rest of the state in celebrating Public Assistance Fraud Awareness Month. Hamilton County's fraud investigators work 365 days a year to ensure public assistance dollars are given to only those who qualify and really need them.
Our fraud investigation team
"As the saying goes, fraud costs all of us," said Ed Feldkamp, fraud investigations supervisor. "These are taxpayer dollars. The public demands accountability for those dollars and fraud investigators provide one more line of defense against those tax dollars being misused."
Hamilton County disbursed $193 million in food assistance last year, $29 million in cash assistance and more than $97 million in child care assistance. Individuals who mislead caseworkers or lie on an application for benefits account for a very small percentage of the funding disbursed, but the agency takes even the smallest fraud cases very seriously.
Eligibility Technician Ingrid Davenport is responsible for most of the recovered dollars from fraud cases.The agency made 425 claims all in Income Maintenance. In Child Care, David Miller and Chris Kokenge help keep a close eye on how those dollars are used. They both were involved in criminal cases this year. Feldkamp said the two groups often work together and share information.
Those identified as committing fraud are removed from the program, must repay any improperly obtained benefits, and may face criminal charges and jail time.
Individuals could be guilty of fraud for actions such as selling their food assistance card, receiving benefits in one state while living in another, receiving benefits from two states at once, or misrepresenting their income, marital status or household composition in order to receive more benefits.

Check out this catchy video we made a couple couple of years ago to draw attention to fraud.