February 2018

Meet Bryce
Bryce is an intelligent young man who excels at school when he puts his mind to it.

He enjoys reading, especially Harry Potter books and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He recently read three chapter books in one night!
Bryce also enjoys competitive sports, including football and basketball. He wants to be on a team one day.

When he has free time, Bryce enjoys spending the afternoon being outside and fishing. He would like a home where he can be the only child.

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We're part of a national pilot study in battling worker turnover

The child welfare field has always experienced high turnover rates among front-line workers. These jobs are difficult, demanding and even dangerous.

But something new is happening here in Hamilton County and around the nation. Front-line worker turnover rates are climbing. I speak with urban child welfare leaders around the country and everyone seems to be struggling with the same problem, yet no one has the answer.

In Hamilton County, we were very fortunate for years to have a turnover rate hovering around 20 percent. We are seeing rates twice that over the past few years. Nationally, studies have found that turnover among child welfare workers is six times that of other industries. A recent report by the Public Children Service Association of Ohio found that one out of every seven Ohio child welfare workers left their jobs in 2016.

The factors? Certainly the high and complex caseloads associated with substance abuse, untreated mental health, domestic violence, poverty and other social issues have played a part. The secondary trauma of such difficult and complex cases leads some workers to leave, too. And, an improving economy has opened up the market to jobs that pay more and are certainly less stressful.

We have taken steps to address this challenge. We have formed partnerships with the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University to encourage a more qualified and prepared workforce to consider Hamilton County as a post-graduate employment opportunity. We also have improved our on-boarding process for new employees and increased the amount of support and training they will receive.

Our latest effort is to become a pilot county for a four-year, national study designed to address challenges with child welfare worker recruitment, retention, satisfaction and intention to stay. The national study, led by the Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development, will work to truly understand workforce needs and ultimately test and implement creative workforce interventions that support caseworkers. A broad scope of information will be examined, including work arrangements, demographics, organizational culture and work attitudes.

Ohio Benefits Worker portal to be down for maintenance

The Ohio Worker Benefits Portal will be down on Tuesday, Feb. 20, for maintenance. Consumers will be unable to access Medicaid information or cases on that day.

As part of these maintenance efforts to prepare the system to integrate information pertaining to Ohio Works First and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program consumers, the portal will also be inaccessible some February weekends. Consumers will be unable to submit Medicaid applications through the online system during these times:
  • Feb. 16, 6 p.m. - Feb. 21, 6 a.m.
  • Feb. 24, 6 p.m. - Feb. 26, 6 a.m.
Information pertaining to Ohio Works First and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cases will still be available during these times.

Dohn high school now at OhioMeansJobs

Dohn Community High School is now partnering with OhioMeansJobs Cincinnati-Hamilton County to offer on-site education for people trying to complete high school.

Dohn's "22 + Adult Diploma Program" is now operating out of the OhioMeansJobs center at 1916 Central Parkway. Two teachers work at OMJ Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This innovative program is offered - at no cost to the student - to anyone 22 or older.

The program honors all previously earned credits and state testing results, and may award credit for work experience. Students must fulfill the requirements of the State of Ohio that were in effect at the time they entered ninth grade.

Approximately 90% of the participants are employed while working toward their diploma. Approximately 200 students will graduate from Dohn with a high school diploma this month. 

There's still time to donate hoodies, sweat pants for foster kids

The donation drive for sweat pants and hoodies for our kids in foster care is still going on - Sweet Sweats for Love continues through Valentine's Day.
 All you need to do is bring new items to any of Sibcy Cline's many real estate office locations throughout the Tristate.

On behalf of our kids, we thank you!

Foster families can go to Dollywood free

This is great news for our foster families - a free day at the Dollywood amusement park near Gatlinburg.

Your foster agency must  request the tickets

Teens interested in music? Check this out

The Music Resource Center-Cincinnati is a program that uses recording music and performing arts - with life-skills mentoring - to inspire teens and give them a sense of empowerment and accomplishment.

Membership is just $2 a month. For that, teens in grades 7-12 can learn music production, recording and how to create multi-track recordings. Private lessons are also available.

Bonus: Snacks, hot meals and homework help.

Some of our kids in foster care have participated at the MRC and loved it.