March 2019
 
Cody is very eager to be adopted and be part of a family. While Cody has great potential, he needs parents who are extremely patient and willing to learn how to effectively communicate with him and advocate for him.
Cody loves music, especially Christian and country. He enjoys being outside, riding his bike, swimming or camping. He loves Spiderman.

Cody would like to live in a rural setting or somewhere he would have a lot of room to safely run around and play outdoors.



 Veteran APS worker honored
 
For 26 years, Lisa Pitchford has been helping older, vulnerable people in Hamilton County and we're happy to say she's being honored for it.

Lisa, one of our Adult Protective Services workers, was chosen as this year's Outstanding Direct Service Provider by the Council on Aging. She will be honored at a lunch this month.

The agency nominated Lisa, citing her go-to personality and the large network of supporters she has built over the years. Delhi Police Lt. Joe Macaluso praised Lisa for her help on many cases, including one involving  an older man with dementia who got involved with a decades-younger woman. The man wouldn't believe officers who told him his girlfriend was taking advantage of him.
 
When the lieutenant called Lisa, she jumped in right away, helping get the man the protection he needed. She also put the lieutenant in touch with other experts as well. Together, they ended up securing the rest of the man's assets, getting his vehicle back and helping him get into a facility where he is doing well.
 
"That's exactly what she's been for me - my point person," Lt. Macaluso said. "Lisa is wonderful. She is always willing to take my calls, no matter what time of the day or night. She's all-in."




 Saylor takes over as child support legal chief
 
You might already know  Monica Saylor - she has worked at HCJFS in child support for six years. But as of last week, she's our new top lawyer in child support enforcement.

She's excited to take over the new role as chief legal counsel/section chief, but plans to rely heavily on input from others in the department - some of whom have worked here for decades.
"Every day, I'm going to one of them, asking a question about something," she said. "They have a lot more experience than I do."

Before starting as an attorney here, she worked as a hearing officer and child support attorney for Butler County. Before going to law school? She was a stockbroker.

She spent some time as a single parent also, so she has seen the child support system work from a client's perspective. She and her husband were both treated fairly and respected, she said, and that is a big part of why she wanted this job - to help her employees deliver the same service to our consumers who are paying and receiving child support.




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Weir happy to help shape the future of  child welfare

Later this month, a group of child welfare leaders from around the nation will meet in Arlington, Va., to discuss a vision for the 21 st Century Child Welfare System. I am very excited to have received an invite to that, as well as a pre-meeting with a smaller, more select group where we will discuss implementing safety science principles in the child welfare field to create a safety culture.

Casey Family Programs, headquartered in Seattle, is hosting the meetings. Casey, founded in 1966, works throughout the county to influence long-lasting improvements to the safety and success of children, families and the communities where they live. I have been an active participant in many Casey efforts throughout my career and I appreciate their commitment to improving child welfare.

This is Casey's third convening of leaders committed to transforming child welfare. Participants include leaders from state and county child protection, public health, and other human services agencies, the US Department of Health and Human Services - Children's Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other federal agencies, judges, state legislators and legislative staff, constituent consultants, national advocacy organizations, philanthropy, and other innovators and thought leaders.

Participants are expected to commit to a 21 st Century vision for a transformed child welfare system with a public health-based prevention approach.




IDENTITY touted
as national model

A system HCJFS helped build to improve access to health records for kids in foster care is being talked about around the country.

The project, a confidential data-sharing program between children's services and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center called IDENTITY, has grown from just an idea in 2015 to an example of good work highlighted in January at the annual conference of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Kristine Flinchum , a Children's Services business analyst in Information Systems, has put in countless hours as HCJFS' representative on this team. She helped present it at the conference in San Francisco. She's happy that after years of work, IDENTITY is working and helping.
The IDENTITY team:  Judith Dexheimer, Biomedical Informatics and Emergency Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Kristine Flinchum, HCJFS; Hamilton County Juvenile Court Magistrate Paul DeMott; Mary Greiner, medical director of the CHECK Clinic, CCHMC; and Sarah Beal, CCHMC Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology.

The goals of IDENTITY are to improve health outcomes for kids in foster care, save time and money and minimize placement issues by allowing information sharing between child welfare workers and the hospital.

Sometimes, critical health information is not known to HCJFS workers or placement providers and it can take months to find that information. Delays like that can cause missed appointments and other issues that result in less than the best health care for our kids. Imagine being a foster parent and not having any idea what health needs you need to provide for the child just placed in your home.

Future plans include incorporating Montgomery County Children's Services and Dayton Children's Hospital.


Valuing, engaging fathers in renewed collaborative effort

An effort to better serve fathers in Hamilton County is returning after a two-year hiatus.

The inaugural version of the Hamilton County Fatherhood Collaborative operated from 2012 to 2016. Building on that good work, Hamilton County Job and Family Services has revived this effective county-wide fatherhood initiative.
The goal is to create awareness and sustained community conversation about the value of fathers and their contributions to healthy children and families. At HCJFS, the importance of fathers in the success or failure of the family unit is clear. Our Children's Services program, Child Support program, public assistance programs and workforce development programs are filled with fathers who play incredibly important roles in the success of their children's lives by simply being active and engaged. 

In addition, studies show fathers affect social issues such as gender equity, infant mortality, breastfeeding rates, domestic violence, poverty, maternal morbidity and paid family leave. 
Calvin Williams

We need fathers to join our effort. We ask that fathers, father- and family-serving programs, along with the business, government, philanthropy, health, arts and other sectors of the community, join this effort to lift up and support Hamilton County's fathers.

If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to Calvin Williams, HCJFS fatherhood coordinator, at 513-946-1123 or  willic21@jfs.hamilton-co.org.