May 2017
Shane has a loving and affectionate spirit. He is nonverbal but quick to let you know his feelings through smiles and hugs.

He enjoys individual play and is particularly attached to his soccer ball. He likes to roll it around with his hand. He also enjoys coloring and finger painting. When he visits the park, he goes straight to the swing set to soar back and forth.

He also enjoys listening to all types of music. Take a look at how much he loves his music class.

Shane is a happy young man. He needs a committed family that will be able to love him unconditionally and meet all of his needs in a safe, consistent, nurturing and permanent environment.

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Seniors, young adults need guardians

In our work, we experience a lot of things that break your heart. One of the most recent for me was hearing of our need for guardians for the people we serve who are in different stages of life.

Young adults we serve who live with disabilities are often unable to make life and medical decisions for themselves when they age out of our child welfare system at 21. The same is true of senior citizens (over age 60) in our Adult Protective Services program who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's disease. If there are no family members to help, these individuals require legal guardians.

As you might expect, the waiting list for our young adults to receive guardians is long. An attorney who helps with our senior citizens is swamped and cannot take on new cases.

A guardian is crucial to a person's quality of life. Guardians make all day-to-day decisions of a personal nature on behalf of the individual, including medical and dental treatment, behavior-support strategies, work, residential placement and quality-of-life decisions. Without a guardian, a child or senior citizen does not have someone to make critical decisions about their medical care.

One example: a young man who recently emancipated from our care has severe kidney problems. He is developmentally disabled, non-verbal and unable to make decisions about his medical treatment. Without our caseworker, who knows his extensive medical history and can provide other types of non-medical information to doctors, his care is left in the hands of whomever is treating him at the time and decisions are made in a vacuum.

There is a great need for guardians in Hamilton County. Can you help?

Heart Gallery, trucking partnership win 
national recognition

HCJFS is thrilled to receive three awards from the National Association of Counties:
  • For our Heart Gallery, a traveling exhibit of photographs of our kids in foster care who are waiting for permanent homes.
  • For a job-training partnership we developed with a local trucking company that has led to 11 people completing the coursework for their commercial driver's licenses. Six of them have jobs with the average pay of more than $47,000 a year.
  • And for our iPad project, which equipped all caseworkers with the technology so they can do their reports from the field, saving significant time.
We always strive to bring new ideas and use best practices in all our departments. It's nice when that good work pays off in recognition.

Hamilton County JFS has won 16 NACo awards for innovation since 2009 - that's more than any other government entity in the state of Ohio. 

Seven kids adopted in one day

We had a great day last week - we were privileged to watch seven kids in foster care be adopted into two families.
The Sanders family of Forest Park attracted a lot of media attention because they adopted six children, in addition to their five biological children. Yes, that's 5 + 6 = 11.

But earlier in the day, our wonderful Monarika, 17, was adopted by Karen Pickett Hedges, a woman she met when she moved into the group home where Karen works.
Both were happy occasions, to be sure. But they also highlight two very important needs we have - foster families that are willing to take sibling groups and older teens. Often, foster families wait for babies and younger children while our more pressing needs are homes willing to take older kids and kids who want to stay with their siblings.
Judge Ralph Winkler, who presided over the adoptions, said he hopes attention to this great day prompts others to step up and foster.
"Don't be afraid," he said. "If it's on your heart to adopt or foster, don't wait."

Yes. Please.