Mass Adoption Ceremony is Special Day

2008 Hamilton County mass adoption


Tomorrow is a big day for our agency and a huge day for five children in our care.

Those five children, all victims of abuse and neglect, will officially join permanent, loving families in Hamilton County’s third annual mass adoption ceremony to celebrate National Adoption Month.

The ceremony takes place at Hamilton County’s Probate Court. I really appreciate Judge Cissell hosting this event each year. This year, we are live streaming the event, so you can watch from your home or desk. Tune in before 9 a.m. by clicking on the link below:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hamilton-county-jfs-adoption-day

This is one of the most exciting times of the year for me and for our staff. 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 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 agency currently has more than 200 children available for adoption. The Nov. 20 ceremony stands as a symbol for all of the adoptions we do – more than 70 so far in 2009.

All of this year’s adoptees will permanently join the foster families who have cared for them most, if not all, of their lives. Included:

● A 1-year-old boy who will join three biological sisters who were adopted by their foster family last year. The legally blind, but very bubbly, child has three big sisters who enjoy helping mom and dad with feedings, play time, reading books, etc.

● A 1-year-old boy who came to live with his foster family straight from the hospital. He will join two older biological siblings – twins — who have previously been adopted by his foster family. The adoptive family has also formed a relationship with another adoptive family caring for the older biological siblings of their three children.

● A 4-year-old boy who is being adopted by the foster parents who have loved and nurtured him most of his life. He joins three other adoptees in the family.

● A 1-year-old boy who will join two older brothers in a foster family that has cared for him for almost his entire biological life.

● A 1-year-old boy who is being adopted by biological relatives who have fostered him since he left the hospital. The boy has thrived in the loving care of his new parents.

If you are interested in adopting or becoming foster parents can learn more at www.hckids.org or by calling (513) 632-6366 or e-mailing adoption@jfs.hamilton-co.org .

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Concerned about H1N1 flu

Did you know that Hamilton County JFS’ Child Care staff assists eligible low and moderate-income families across the county with finding and paying for child care? Parents can choose from a list of more than 1,500 home providers and centers that contract with the county.

So we’re especially concerned about the H1N1 flu outbreak.

To help child care providers and families better understand the virus, we’ve added links to several fact sheets and Web sites to the Child Care section under Services on http://www.hcjfs.org. Here’s a direct link: http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/Demo/services/childcare/H1N1.htm

Also, we recently interviewed the Hamilton County Public Health‘s director of nursing and child care health consultant for southwest Ohio on the agency’s BlogTalkRadio show. You can listen to the 15-minute program at your convenience here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Hamilton-County-JFS/2009/11/13/H1N1-flu-Information-for-Child-Care-providers

We encourage child care providers and parents to educate themselves about H1N1 to do all that they can to protect their children from this illness.

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Team Effort Leads to Recognition

I feel very honored today to find out that I am among several local outstanding women chosen as finalists for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s WE Celebrate awards honoring women for their achievement, innovation, social responsibility and mentoring. I cannot say enough: this is a team effort!

I was chosen as a finalist in the Social Media Innovator of the Year category. As you can see here, this year’s finalists contains an incredible group of women. I was surprised and feel very fortunate to be among them.

My passion for social media is an offshoot of my passion for transparency and accountability. Our customers, the providers we work with, the taxpayers who fund us — they all deserve to know what we are doing and why we are doing it.

As a non-profit, Hamilton County’s Department of Job and Family Services has to find inexpensive ways to get its messages to the public. Social media is the perfect vehicle for an organization like ours. Our communications group has embraced it with passion and I have done all I can to support those efforts. It is nice to receive recognition, but this is truly a team effort. Thanks to all who have contributed!

Food Assistance Recipients Look Familiar

This story on today’s food assistance recipients echoes what we are seeing at our agency. They are increasingly someone you know.

http://content.usatoday.net/dist/custom/gci/InsidePage.aspx?cId=cincinnati&sParam=31959665.story

About a third of the food stamp recipients we see now have not been to our office before or have not been there in at least five years. These are people who have had jobs that have enabled them to make ends meet, but today’s economy has put them in a situation where they need help with food.

Some have lost their jobs. Others have jobs that just don’t pay as much as before. It is important to note that most of the people who receive food assistance work. They just do not earn enough to pay for
everything and have to make tough choices — do I put gas in the car or buy groceries this week?

One in seven people in this county now receives food stamps. That is more than 110,000 people. I know there is a stereotype out there about the people who receive help from Hamilton County’s Department of Job and Family Services, but that statistic should tell you the stereotype is wrong. We are helping your neighbors, co-worker and some of the families at your children’s school.