August 2018

Meet Kerianna
Kerianna is a smart, funny, energetic girl who likes school and enjoys reading books.  She likes to play board games and card games.
She is doing well in school and says she keeps her room clean.
Kerianna would like a small family with pets. 

She would do well in a small active family as the youngest child or only child.

Conversion will shut down food and cash assistance system
Hamilton County JFS will convert to processing all food assistance and cash assistance cases in the Ohio Benefits Workers Portal beginning August 28.

In preparation for that full conversion, the agency will have a system shutdown from Aug. 23 to Aug 27 and will not be able to process any cases, make case updates or provide information about cases.

Please plan accordingly because we you will not be able to access case information during this time.  

Our bots are easing workloads
We're getting kudos for our bots. (That's short for robot, or a tech tool that automates a process so people don't have to do it)

The Ohio Department of Administrative Services and the Ohio Benefits project successfully deployed their second pilot process automation in Hamilton County. The automation, referred to as the "Baby Bot", has not only saved workers time, but it has also dramatically reduced the processing time required to enroll newborns in Medicaid. 

The "Baby Bot" joins the previously deployed "Disability Onset Alert Bot," named Jeanne. Jeanne clears an alert in Ohio Benefits whenever an update has been made to a person's information. She runs three hours a day and notifies workers of anything that needs more attention.

Successes here open the door for other counties to start using the technology also.

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Changes coming to child support laws

It is National Child Support month and a good time to talk about changes coming to the child support system.

A series of changes to Ohio's child support law begin taking effect next year:
  • The economic tables used to calculate child support orders will change for the first time since 1992.
  • Health care and medical expenses will be taken into consideration when establishing new orders.
  • Parenting time will be considered when establishing new child support orders.
  • New cases will now have a self-sufficiency reserve, ensuring those paying child support have enough income after paying to support themselves.
These are just a few of the changes. The idea is to re-engage parents who haven't been paying and to set orders at a level the parent realistically can meet. The belief is that lowering the amount of monthly payments will make it easier for parents to meet their obligations, resulting in a higher percentage of people paying.

The number one goal of the child support system is collecting money to meet the basic needs of children. We know one third of all child support cases don't receive any payments in a given year. If those parents have disengaged from the system because they simply can't afford to meet the monthly obligation, then that goal is not being met.

We welcome law changes that increase the chance of payment. Some payment is better than no payment.

Send us some undies

Saturday is National Underwear Day. (Yes, really.) It might seem like a crazy designation, but we thought we'd take this opportunity to collect something that everyone needs and kids in foster care don't always get - new underwear.

If you can, please pick up an extra pack of panties or boxers this week for kids in care. We can use panties, boxers, boy shorts - any kind, as long as it's new.

To arrange drop off, please contact Travina Adams by email or at 513-946-2282.

We're a pilot site for a new job incentive program

Hamilton County is one of five counties in Ohio trying out a program that pays bonuses to young adults for keeping a job.

The Wage Pathway Program helps low-income, low-skilled people ages 18 to 24 find a job and keep it. The goal is to help them gain financial stability and job experience so they can take the next step to a better job and self sufficiency.

Section Chief April Barker is happy we're involved. She likes that the program is a switch from the usual model of training a person first, then helping them find a job. This way, she said, people are more interested in working because they're seeing decent money right away.

"It's quick," she said. "You don't have to work a year to see something."

Two of our providers, Santa Maria and ResCare, will enroll youth in the program and monitor them for eligibility for incentives. Youth can earn up to $3,000.

The program is funded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.