December 2018
Devin sings in the choir at his church and attends the teen activities there.
He likes to play basketball, football and video games. He loves being active.

Devin is helpful and polite. He is a jokester with a good sense of humor.

He made it to the A honor roll and is well-liked by the staff and teachers at his school.

Devin works hard in order to have money to spend to buy things for himself and for the people he cares about.  

Could you mentor a teen in foster care?
We need more mentors for our older kids in foster care - folks who sign on to help them get through high school and college, trade schools, etc.
HEMI, the Higher Education Mentoring Initiative, is a partnership of the University of Cincinnati, HCJFS and other groups. 

Every kid needs someone who can help them navigate FAFSAs, college applications, etc. A great mentor pairing works wonders.

Will you be their champion? Email to see how you can get involved.

Drivers: Watch for people in wheelchairs
One of our employees, Neil Kelly, was hit by cars three times in a 10-month period.

Paralyzed at birth, Kelly uses a wheelchair. He told his story to The Cincinnati Enquirer in hopes that it would encourage people to be more careful.
Neil Kelly posted this picture of himself on Facebook, detailing the crash and his injuries. "I write this not to get sympathy," he wrote, "but as a warning. When you are turning right on a red light - or anywhere, for that matter - you must look all around you, even down. I got very lucky considering all possible outcomes. The next time it happens, I may not be so lucky. I don't want you to be that driver."

Kelly is an eligibility technician at HCJFS. 

Honored for 
years of dedication
We're proud to have three long-time employees honored last week for their service by the Hamilton County Commissioners.
Lisa Dalmida and Michael Patton were honored for 25 years of service. Antoinette Smothers was honored for 35 years.

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A special thank you: We couldn't do this without you

While my wonderful Thanksgiving with family reminded me of the many things I have in my personal life to be thankful for, I also thought about the many work-related reasons to say thanks.

I am very thankful the voters of Hamilton County have enough faith in this agency to pass a levy that will assist us in serving the families and children of our community. Not only did the voters support us, but we had the assistance of many community partners and individual donors who helped finance a campaign to educate voters.  I am extremely grateful.

I am thankful to the many people in this community who step up throughout the year to help abused and neglected children. I am especially reminded of this at the holidays. First Financial Bank and Roddell McCullough have financed a party for the children who are in our permanent care. Amber Gray and her Where2Next foundation are buying gifts and throwing a party for our older teens in Independent Living. Jack's Closet, a ministry of Clough United Methodist Church, is helping our kinship families with basic needs that arise when you must suddenly take in young children to keep them safe.

In addition, many, many people have donated to our FAMILY Fund to help foster children have typical childhood experiences, such as taking a field trip, going to summer camp, making a college visit or funding technology to complete necessary school work. We could not do this job without the community support we receive.

I am especially thankful for the employees who work hard every day to make sure families and children in Hamilton County have a better tomorrow. We have about 900 employees who help our community's residents feed their families, get medical care for their children, ensure safe child care and find and train for jobs. They help ensure the basic needs of children - food, shelter, clothing and more - are met. They protect the youngest and oldest most vulnerable members of our community.

Most of all, I am thankful for you. Those of you reading this are among our strongest supporters; and you are no doubt members of all or most of the groups I have mentioned. You are voters who have faith in us. You are community members who support us and our children, either through volunteer work, financial donations or other types of services. You are employees who make me proud every day.

Thank you, and have a great Christmas.

Helping families learn how to keep kids safe

SafeCare is a great program that helps parents of young children who are at risk for child abuse or neglect or have been reported for it.
Congratulations to the SafeCare staff for their recent accreditation.

The Hamilton County SafeCare Collaborative is a partnership of Job and Family Services, Every Child Succeeds and the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati. The program sends trained providers into families' homes, where they help with home safety, child health and the interactions between the parents and children. The providers teach how to manage a child's difficult behaviors, how to make homes safer and how to keep children healthy and less at risk for illness or injury. SafeCare is for families with children up to the age of 5.

Studies have found that the program boosts parents' skills while reducing parental depression and reducing the likelihood of child maltreatment reports. Trainers spend several weeks in the home, teaching and reinforcing things like how to properly engage children in activities and role-playing what to do in various health emergencies.

Our local team recently earned its accreditation from the National SafeCare Training and Research Center, part of the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. The center was established in 2007 with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Duke was a tobacco heiress who devoted much of her life and fortune to medical research and prevention of cruelty to children and animals. SafeCare has spread internationally to six countries.

We congratulate our local SafeCare team members - Tiffany Hensley, Debi Schneider, Angela Kuper, Tracie Lindstrom, Christine Barlion and Phyliss Flanagan-Cox - for all their hard work and dedication to this program

Child care facilities preparing to meet new guidelines

As mandated by the State of Ohio, Family Child Care Providers must be  Step Up to Quality rated by 2020  to continue serving children who receive publicly funded child care benefits.

Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) is a five-star quality rating and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. 

SUTQ recognizes and promotes learning and development programs that meet quality program standards that exceed licensing health and safety regulations.  The program standards are based on national research identifying standards which lead to improved outcomes for children.

Here's a WCPO story about centers getting ready.