Reaccreditation: Hamilton County gets Seal of Approval

I am proud to say Hamilton County JFS has been re-accredited by a national organization that reviews and bechmarks programs based on best practices! The Council on Accrediation’s exhaustive review found the agency in compliance in ALL practice areas.

The COA reaccreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of both an organization’s administrative operations and its service delivery practices. All are “measured” against national standards of best practice. These standards emphasize services that are accessible, appropriate, culturally responsive, evidence based, and outcomes-oriented, In addition, they confirm that the services are provided by a skilled and supported workforce and that all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.

The reviewers were impressed with many things, including our open communication with staff about budget issues, our process to provide a safe environment for staff and consumers, our robust online information for staff and the public, and our collaborative projects with community partners.

They also gave us high marks for staff knowledge of, and adherence to protocol on, the rights of Children’s Services and Adult Protective Services clients. And, they spoke highly of the speed and agility of our 241-KIDS staff’s performance.

This is a seal of approval that should give all residents of Hamilton County confidence in the agency’s high performance standards and commitment to deliver the very best quality services.

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MayDay for Foster Children

Our rescheduled MayDay for Foster Children event on Fountain Square is scheduled for Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Several people will speak at noon. Please join us. If you have any interest in being a foster parent, mentoring or helping to guide a child through the court process, this is a great informational event for you to attend. Here are more details:

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/Buttons/Media/Pressreleases/2011/May/A%20MayDay%20for%20Foster%20Children.pdf

The Facts Behind 2010

Our 2010 Annual Report was released this week. It is amazing to see how many people we touch in this community and to read the nice stories about the work we do on their behalf. Did you know that we touch at least one in three in this county when it comes to child support? One in six recieves our help with Medicaid or food assistance. One in 13 children are involved with our Children’s Services Division.

We do great work here and I am proud of our employees. We feed the hungry, protect the children and elderly, help the unemployed and underskilled find work, and make sure children have the resources they need to live happy, healthy lives. We are a rock for this community to lean on during hard times. We are an agency that helps!

If you would like a copy of the report, contact me or someone at the agency and we will get you one. Otherwise, you can view it at the link below:

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/AnnualReport10/AnnualReport2010.pdf

Foster Care and Adoption

Just a reminder: we are having a live chat Wednesday at 10 a.m. to discuss foster care and adoption. This is your chance to ask questions if you have any desire to be a foster or adoptive parent. We have 850 foster children on any given day and more than 200 are awaiting adoption. Help change a child’s life and make your community a better place all at the same time!

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/Buttons/Media/Pressreleases/2011/May/Press%20release_Foster%20Care%20Chat.pdf

A Remarkable Foster Parent

Like all parents, the things foster parents do to care for their children is truly astounding. Most foster parents really are unsung heroes and their accomplishments are too numerous to count. But as foster care month continues, I thought I would highlight the accomplishments of one woman who took extraordinary steps to stay with her foster child.

Nine years ago, Sarah Johnson was not sure she wanted to take on any more foster children; she had already raised seven, four of whom she had adopted. But a caseworker at St. Aloysius Orphanage knew then 12-year-old Willie needed someone special. Not only does Willie have Down syndrome, but at the time he was suffering from a variety of serious health problems, including heart complications and kidney disease. Sarah could not shake what she calls ‘God’s will’ and lovingly accepted Willie into her home, nursing him through his considerable health issues.

But Sarah always knew she could not be Willie’s foster parent forever. Eventually Willie would age out of the foster care system and need a caregiver through Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services. Without a high school diploma, Sarah could not qualify to be Willie’s caregiver, and at 67 with an 11th grade education, Sarah was understandably intimidated. Luckily, her caseworker, Tina, talked her into at least attempting the GED test. For four months, Sarah’s grandson, brothers, sisters, church members and pastor helped her study. When she finally took the GED in March, she earned a perfect score, and Willie will be able stay.

I applaud Sarah for her hard work and incredible dedication. But while Sarah’s accomplishments are extraordinary, I want to again thank all foster parents for their remarkable efforts to provide foster children with a loving home.