JFS has a Widespread Impact on the Local Economy

Below is my column from our recent Update newsletter. If you are not receiving our newsletter, please visit our website, hcjfs.org, and find the sign up form under the Public header. It is a good way to keep up on what is going on at JFS.

 

Hamilton County Job and Family Services has a $1.8 billion impact on the local economy.

That is what was going through my mind as I reviewed the number of Medicaid applications we have received under the recent expansion. If we receive as many as predicted – 42,000 – that will push us above the 200,000 recipient mark. That is a full one quarter of the county’s 800,000 residents.

But the numbers behind the numbers are the dollars attached to those recipients. Because they have health care insurance, they are able to spend money at local doctors’ offices, clinics and hospitals. Last year, $1.3 billion in Medicaid was spent at local medical facilities.

JFS also accounted for $232 million in food assistance spent at local grocers. Another nearly $100 million was spent at local child care centers and homes. Various other programs account for nearly $200 million in spending at local businesses.

This is something I try to keep in mind when going about the day-to-day business of running JFS. Our reach goes far beyond the 275,000 people involved in a child support case, or the 167,000 Medicaid recipients or the 145,000 food assistance recipients. Yes, we help 17,000 abused children a year, but that help extends beyond those children to doctors who heal their wounds, psychologists who help them become whole and social service providers who help meet their other needs.

It is hard to say exactly how many people we serve, because many of the recipients are duplicated across programs. My guess is we directly serve about 500,000 of the county’s 800,000 residents. But if you consider the dollars that reach beyond those half million, it is a good bet there are very few in this community who do not benefit from the work we do. 

 

Advertisements

Hamilton County Stands Out in Child Support Collection

I am very proud of the work we do with Child Support collection. We have approximately 84,000 active child support cases, and we know there is at least a mother, father and one child on each case, so it is safe to say a third of Hamilton County’s 800,000 residents are involved in a child support case. 

We collected more than $130 million in child support last year, ranking first in the state for effectiveness among metropolitan counties. Cost effectiveness is calculated by dividing the amount collected by the number of workers who collected it. Hamilton County, which manages its 84,000 cases with only 43 child support technicians, also ranked second overall among all counties for collections per full-time worker.

The total collected is almost a half million dollars more than the previous year. This is the third straight year Hamilton County has been recognized as having the highest collections per full-time worker in the state.

Most importantly, the money we collect helps families. It puts a roof over a child’s head and food on the table. It pays the utility bills. It buys school clothes.

Excellent work, Child Support staff! You are helping make our community a better place to live.

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions

In case you missed it, here is my latest column in Update, our community newsletter. It lays out some of our agency goals for 2014. If you are not an update Subscriber, here’s a link to the latest issue, where you can sign up to receive the monthly newsletter: http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2014/January/Cover.htm

 

Like everyone else, I like to make New Year’s resolutions. There is no better time to take stock of your life and set new goals for yourself.

I do the same with our organization. While we are constantly looking at ways to improve how we serve the public, the annual turning of the calendar is a great time to publicize our plans for organizational improvement.

This year, the number one goal at JFS will be to improve the customer experience. We want to make the experience with us as quick and simple as possible. I realize that with the volume we serve – we serve more than half a million people in this community annually – “quick and simple” is a relative term. Still, I would like it to be less cumbersome.

Therefore, we will be working on doing all of the following:

  • Emphasizing answering/solving consumer contacts at the initial contact, thereby reducing the need for follow up contacts
  • Reducing hold times in our busy call center
  • Maintaining statewide metropolitan county leadership in food stamp timeliness and work participation rates
  • Matching or passing our next closest metropolitan county in Child Support incentive categories
  • Increasing our mobile/web presence, making it easier to conduct business with the agency
  • Increasing our social media presence to educate the public about JFS
  • Examining current-day best practices in customer service and implementing the best

Another major goal is to oversee the expansion of Medicaid and the implementation of the Ohio Integrated Eligibility System (the computer system used to process public assistance applications). The expansion of Medicaid is expected to add 42,000 more people to our caseloads, pushing us to over 200,000 recipients, which is one fourth of all county residents. These two projects together will take up much agency time and effort in 2014.

Finally, we are going to embark on an education campaign with the community that details the work we do and how we help this community. I worry sometimes that message gets lost. We are an agency that helps, whether it is protecting abused children and the elderly, ensuring children receive the financial support they deserve, providing a lifeline during times of trouble, assisting with the cost of child care so a parent can work or aiding in a job search. We do good work here and I want the public to know that.

That is our plan for 2014. Let’s make it a great year! 

 

Great Stories Coming Out of JFS

I hope you are following us on Facebook, Or Twitter. Or receiving our electronic newsletter.  If so, you get to read some of the great stories that come out of our agency,

I especially liked these two from the past week:

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2013/October/Story3.htm

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2013/October/Story1.htm

One is a story of a family that came together under impossible circumstances. Look at the smile on that young boy’s face!

The other tells of the great work a couple of our employees did on behalf of a consumer who was not receiving her child support.

Stories like these keep me going during trying times. I know we help so many people out there — about a half million a year in some way or another!  These stories don’t make the news, but they are very representative of the work we do.

To make sure you stay up on great stories like these, visit our website, www.hcjfs.org, and sign up for our newsletter. Also, like us on Facebook at Hamilton County (Ohio) Department of Job and Family Services or follow us on Twitter @HamiltonCoJFS

A Thank You to This Agency’s Important Partners

For my most recent column in Update, our community e-newsletter, I expanded on my last blog post. My goal was to thank all of those who partner with us and ask nothing in return. I could not mention everyone, but I picked some of our most prominent partners, who really help us provide services that make this community a better place to live.

Also, check out some of the other stories in the newsletter, which comes out monthly. We would love to have you as a subscriber.

Thank you!

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2013/February/Cover.htm

Closed for MLK Day

Our offices will be closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day. We will open again on Tuesday. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Special Edition of Update Tells You How to do Business with Us

We produced a special edition of our Update community newsletter that details the best and fastest ways to do business with us. You can also read my column on our renewed commitment to customer service.

Here’s the link. While you are there, please sign up to regularly receive our newsletter via email.

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2013/January/Letter.htm