Information on Job Possibilities

We see first hand every day the results of unemployment. One in six people in this county now turns to us for help meeting their daily needs.

While providing a helping hand, we also help people find their way back to work.

Ohio has a unique partnership with Monster.com that gives employers free access to millions of resumes within a 50-mile radius of the state. Job seekers get access to more than 60,000 job openings.

Access to the Monster resume database normally costs $10,000 a year, but through Ohio Means Jobs, Ohio employers get that service for free. Ohio developed – and became the first state in the nation to adopt – this groundbreaking model of public-private collaboration. Best of all, Ohio Means Jobs is entirely self-serve: Both employers and job seekers can access it from any Web-connected computer.

Please visit www.OhioMeansJobs.com today.

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Public Assistance Demand Remains Strong

Our agency is doing its best to keep up with record demand in our public assistance programs. One in six in this county is now on food assistance or Medicaid and that means 60,000 people a month visit our lobby and 13,000 calls a week come into our call center.

Please be assured we are doing everything we can to process cases in a timely manner. Much of this is due to yearly re-certifications kicking in in April. Ultimately, this will be a good change, but we knew we would be swamped once the first cycle hit. In March, we needed to schedule 264 reapplications a day to ensure we were able to see all the customers who were due to recertify that month. In April, that number went up to 448 a day. That’s a 70% increase. In July, we are now recertifying more than 800 people a day.

Thing should get better. The state is moving forward with increased Internet technology. We are integrating more technology here, as well as streamlining our processes. We are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to this problem. And, hopefully, the economy should improve.

Please encourage those who do business with us to take advantage of the Internet, phone, drop boxes in our lobbies and other methods of communication that keep them from waiting in long lobby lines. Let them know they can fax in verification documents from their local library branch.

Thank you for your patience.

Videos of Foster Children Give Extra Insight

We have many videos of our foster children who are available for adoption on both www.hckids.org and on our agency’s YouTube page, http://www.youtube.com/hcjfs.

These videos really give you a picture into the soul of these children. If you are interested in adopting, this is a good way to get to know these children.

Check out this one on Alec. He’s pretty eloquent:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n9erVVang4

Or this one on Perry, who really, really doesn’t like broccoli!

http://www.youtube.com/hcjfs#p/u/30/4g_pBDD6vxw

Child Care Eligibility Changes

Very important changes are coming to the publicly-funded child care program. The state of Ohio has instituted new income eligibility guidelines. Essentially, new applicants must be at 125 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of their size or below. Existing applicants can be at 200 percent of the federal poverty level or below. If those applicants were to miss a review and need to reapply, they would be subject to the lower limit. Learn more at the following link:

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/Buttons/Media/Pressreleases/2011/July/Child%20Care%20Income%20Guidelines.pdf

National Magazine Covers Celebration of Dreams

Tha National Association of Counties Magazine carried a wonderful story on our Celebration of Dreams event. I am so proud of our foster youth and so glad they are receiving not only local, but national, recognition for their achievements. Here is the story:

http://admin.naco.org/newsroom/countynews/Current%20Issue/7-4-11/Pages/Ohiocountyfetesfoster-carehighschoolgraduates.aspx

Foster Children Need Help Even After They Become Adults

Forgive me for the length, but this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I wrote this for our community newsletter (http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2011/July/Pages/HCJFS_UpdateCover.html), but I thought I might share it with you, too…..

It has been a couple of weeks, but I am still emotionally high from our fantastic Celebration of Dreams event on June 15. We celebrated 37 foster teens graduating from high school and moving on to adult life. This was our chance to recognize the hard work they put in, as well as an opportunity to say thanks to the many people who helped them.

What an event! From the stunning national anthem performed by School of Creative and Performing Arts graduate Bianca Graham, to the inspiring speech by University of Cincinnati President Dr. Gregory Williams, to the look of elation on the faces of the teens as they received their graduation certificates and gifts that will help as they establish life on their own, this event was emotional and thought provoking. I truly thank everyone who participated, donated and had a role in making this happen.

When we think about how difficult life is for our foster children as they move into adulthood, it drives home how important it is for our agency and this community to support them in every way possible. These 37 teens – all from very challenging backgrounds in some way — have already overcome tremendous obstacles to graduate. But I fear this is just the beginning of a very difficult journey coming their way in the next few years.

Statistics show foster children are more likely to end up homeless, in prison, teen parents and the victims of a multitude of other social ills. Transitioning to adulthood is tough for all teens, but to do it without parents or a strong support system is incredibly difficult. I say it a lot: if a foster child is lucky and strong enough to graduate high school and go on to college, where do they go at Thanksgiving and Christmas break when all of their fellow students go home to their families? What if they have no family and friends to go home to?

That is why we work very to help through the transition. We have a fantastic partnership with Lighthouse Youth Services that enables us to run one of the better independent living programs in the country, teaching these teens about life on their own long before they have to live it on their own. They learn how to balance their checkbooks and stretch their paychecks; whom to trust and whom to avoid; the supplies they’ll definitely need and the unnecessary bills they definitely won’t; and much, much more.

We encourage foster families to stay involved as the teens move from their homes. Our agency works with many of the teens for two or three years afterward, providing financial and other supports. Our workers take many calls, answering the “How do I do this?” or “Where do I go for this?” questions as best they can.

We form relationships with community organizations that can help our teens. And, we have created programs, such as the Higher Education Mentoring Initiative, that are especially designed to pair teens up with mentors who can help them graduate high school and move on to a productive adulthood.

Fact is, greater Cincinnati will be a better place to live if these teens are successful in their transition. They are our children and most will spend the rest of their lives in this community. If they can avoid the social problems that befall many foster children, if they can receive an education and find a well-paying job, if they can become productive citizens of this community, we are all better off.

So, I encourage you to support foster children in some way. Our mentoring program is looking for volunteer mentors. We always need foster parents, particularly those who will take in a teenager and stick by them for the rest of their life. The local Foster Child Enrichment Council works to help our kids through donations and other good works. There are many ways you can help. Let’s make sure the Celebration of Dreams event is not the last really positive thing these graduates experience in their life.