National Adoption Month: Good Things for Children in Our Care

Later this month, we will celebrate National Adoption Month with a mass adoption ceremony at Hamilton County’s Probate Court. Several children will join new families on Nov. 20.

This is one of the most exciting times of the year for me and for our staff. Often, this is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work to find the right family for a child who has experienced a tough life. Seeing that work result in what is often an emotional, touching ceremony is an uplifting moment for our staff.

Hamilton County investigates more than 6,000 reports of child abuse and neglect a year. When intensive services fail and a child can no longer remain safe in a parent’s care, the county will seek custody of the child and attempt to find a safe and loving adoptive home. That sometimes takes months or years.

The Nov. 20 ceremony stands as a symbol for all of the adoptions we do – so far 70 in 2009.

We also have several adoption-related events planned for this month to say thanks to our adoptive parents, several appearances on local media outlets and you will see us out and about beating the drum on adoption because we still have more than 200 children who need adoptive homes.

Among the events:

• A skating party on Nov. 7 from noon to 3 p.m. at The Skatin’ Place in Colerain. Not only is this a chance for many of our kids to skate, we will use it as a recruitment event for prospective adoptive parents.

• An adoption appreciation event for our adoptive families and children at the Jewish Community Center. The Amazing Portable Circus will be on hand for kids to enjoy carnival games, dancing, music, an aerial show, food and more!

• An official proclamation from the Hamilton County Commissioners proclaiming November National Adoption Month in Hamilton County.

I urge you to take a quick look at our foster care and adoption Web site, www.hckids.org, and see all the cute, smiling children who are still waiting for homes. Some are growing old waiting for a home to call their own. It is heartbreaking.

Yes, many of them have issues because of things that have happened in their lives, but many of them are just children who need someone loving to help and guide them. Even those with issues could overcome and thrive with the right kind of love and support.

If you or anyone you know is interested in adopting, please contact us by phone, (513) 632-6366, or e-mail, adoption@jfs.hamilton-co.org.

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Prescription Drug Discount Card Helping County Residents

Our new prescription drug discount drug card program is rolling along. A record number of users purchased prescriptions with the card in September, saving more than $16,000.

Last month, 764 users purchased 996 prescriptions with the card, saving an average of $9.95 per purchase. Since the program’s launch in January, 5,691 users have purchased 11,622 purchases with the card, saving a total of $109,446. This is an average cost savings of $9.42 per purchase and more than 21 percent off of regular prices.

I am not surprised by this. With the economy what ist is, many county residents are looking to cut costs wherever they can. If they can save a little on prescription drugs, it helps when they are faced with an electric bill or putting gas in their car or putting food on their table.

The prescription drug discount cards are available under a program sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo). There is no cost to the taxpayer for the program.

The cards may be used by all county residents, regardless of age, income, or existing health coverage, and are accepted at most pharmacies throughout the county. More than 1,000 counties throughout the country participate in the program and a national network of more than 59,000 participating retail pharmacies will honor the NACo prescription discount card.

Among those who benefit from the program:

• County residents who are uninsured.
• County residents who are insured but a drug may not be covered on their insurance plan.
• County residents who must buy human drugs for their pets.

The cards are available at the County’s Job and Family Services Department, 222 E. Central Parkway or 237 William Howard Taft Road, at branches of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, YMCA branches, the Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio and many social service agencies, such as the FreeStore Foodbank and Talbert House. Residents can also call 946-1010 or visit www.HamiltonCountyRx.com for more information.

We are very happy that we are able to help in any small part we can.

A Plug for Super Jobs

A lot of people are out of work right now. This community is hurting.

I am surprised by how many people do not know about our one-stop employment center, the Super Jobs Center. We are very proud of the work they do there.

If you are out of work, this is the place to be. Job seekers can use the computers with internet access, copy machine, fax machine and job search resources.

They can also participate in job-readiness workshops that help with resume preparation, interview preparation, job-search help and other topics. You can receive career coaching and get the jump on job leads.

Most importantly, the Super Jobs Center has a relationship with many employers in the area. For example, Children’s Hospital Medical Center uses the Super Jobs Center extensively. Going through the Super Jobs Center will help you land jobs with key employers.

The Super Jobs is located at 1916 Central Parkway. You can learn more at www.superjobs.com. Good luck!

Consolidating Into Our Downtown Office

We are slowly consolidating our two main offices, moving our operations from 237 William Howard Taft Road to our downtown office at 222 E. Central Parkway. We expect the consolidation to be complete by the end of the year.

Traffic at the Taft location has been very light, and it no longer made sense to keep it open. We have fewer staff now and operating two offices is expensive in light of deep cuts to our operating expenses. The two facilities are only separated by a couple of miles, so we feel confident this is not an inconvenience for our customers.

So, if you are planning to visit us soon, please come to our downtown location. If you previously visited our Taft location for child support or child care services, you will find child care on the third floor of our Central Parkway office and child support on the sixth floor.

Thanks for your patience!

Former Foster Child to Discuss Positive Role Foster Parents Play

We have an exciting event coming up that will be a “must see” for foster parents and potential foster parents. But it is open to everyone, so I want all of you to be aware and mark your calendars.

Selena Burks, a professional filmmaker and former foster child, will show her film Saving Jackie and share her life’s story at an Oct. 13 event designed to benefit the area’s foster care community.

The documentary Saving Jackie is an intimate portrait of a middle-class family destroyed by the abusive nature of drug addiction. Selena’s mother, Jackie – a 42 year-old recovering crack-cocaine addict – takes an intense look at her life through the course of the film. She eventually acknowledges and accepts responsibility for the deterioration of her relationships with her two daughters.

Selena spent time in the child welfare system and will discuss how a loving foster mother helped her during troubled times.

Saving Jackie premiered at the 2005 Sundance International Film Festival and was also an Official Selection of the 2005 Cleveland International Film Festival, 2005 Urbanworld Film Festival, First Annual Black Eyed Susan Film Festival, the 2005 Black Harvest Film Festival and the 2005 African American Film Marketplace. More information on the film can be found at www.savingjackie.org.

Burks, a Rockefeller Foundation grant winner who has worked with famous film producer Oliver Stone, shows her film to foster parents, churches, drug rehabilitation centers, youth groups, high schools and universities in an attempt to convey the message of forgiveness portrayed in the film.

The presentation, scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Mayerson Jewish Community Center, 8485 Ridge Road, Cincinnati, is being hosted by the Everyday Heroes’ collaborative of foster care providers.

The Everyday Heroes collaborative is a partnership between Hamilton County’s Department of Job and Family Services and several private foster care agencies with a goal of recruiting more foster families for the region’s foster children. In Hamilton County alone, more than 800 children a day need temporary homes with loving families because they are the victims of abuse or neglect. The department also has about 215 children available for adoption.

The event is open to foster parents, friends of foster parents and members of the public who are interested in becoming foster parents. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent and want to hear this presentation, please call 946-7587 to register. Seating is limited.