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Meet Jaylen

Jaylen is an active boy who loves sports and arts. His favorite class in school is creative arts, where he gets to draw and write stories.

He also loves football and hopes to be a quarterback one day. Jaylen has played football on a rec team where he's a running back because according to Jaylen, he "runs fast!"
When hanging out indoors, Jaylen likes listening to music, watching SpongeBob SquarePants, playing with his Nintendo DS or playing UNO. Jaylen describes himself as goofy and says he tries to be good and always have good days.
Jaylen is good at helping out around the house and will feed the dog, take out the trash and sweep the dining room.

When asked about his favorite person, Jaylen said "my counselor - because she listens to me and makes sure to remind me what I'm working on." 

He then said that when he grows up, he wants to be a caseworker so he can help other kids like him. 

Jaylen is a smart, sweet and bold kid who needs a forever family. 

Follow the FAMILY Fund on Instagram

The FAMILY Fund helps HCJFS  cover expenses that go beyond what the agency is allowed to fund or for which it has very limited funds. It stands for Friends and Advocates Making Investments in Local Youth.
Donations to the Family Fund have paid for things like college visits, car repairs and sports camps - things that help make a foster child's life feel a bit more typical.

Check out @HCFamilyFund to see what's going on with the fund and how it is helping kids in foster care. 

Celebration of Dreams event honors grads

We're putting the final touches on our 20th annual Celebration of Dreams event for kids in care who graduate from high school.

Kids in care struggle more to finish school. Roughly 40 percent of them make it. This year, we have 60 teens who have achieved this huge milestone.

Among them is Kennedy, who plans to study nursing. She hopes to honor her father, who passed away unexpectedly.
Stay tuned to our social media channels to see more coverage leading up to the June 6 event. And please join us in congratulating the kids who made it!

Thank you to 
675 special families

(This is Director Moira Weir's monthly letter to the community.)

May is National Foster Care Month and according to the latest figures from the state, we have 675 certified foster homes in Hamilton County.

This month, I am sending a special "thank you" to 675 wonderful families that made the choice, at great personal sacrifice, to change their community for the better. In addition, I want to thank and acknowledge family members, policymakers, child welfare professionals and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care. 

About a decade ago, we ran a foster parent recruitment campaign called Everyday Heroes. The message was simple: those who volunteer to foster abused and neglected children perform heroic work and are worthy of their own tights and capes.

Heroic is still the best word I can find to describe foster parents.

New stipend starts
for kinship care

JFS is launching a kinship stipend program and soon will begin paying kinship families $350 per month, per child for caring for children in agency custody.

This is the first time JFS has ever provided a kinship stipend and helps achieve a goal the agency has held for some time.

"We have wanted to support kinship caregivers at greater levels for years, and we finally have the funding to do so," said Moira Weir, director of JFS. "This is best for children and families, and it is best practice for us. We are excited to finally be able to take this huge step.
"It makes sense for us. We know from experience and research that children are more likely to thrive in the care of someone connected to them - they help those children maintain a connection to their families and history."

Current kinship caregivers can start receiving their stipend after they fill out a caregiver agreement and vendor registration form, registering them to receive payments from the county. The forms were mailed out last week.

The stipends are available to all families, regardless of household income, unless they are already licensed foster parents and receiving payments for the care of the child. There are no restrictions; only that the money be spent to provide and maintain a home for the child placed in their care. To qualify, the child must be in the custody of JFS. Kinship caregivers taking care of children through family and other arrangements will not be eligible.

The stipends will be available as long as the child remains in HCJFS custody and in the kinship placement. Once the child's status changes, the stipends will stop. The stipend program may also be discontinued should funding dry up.