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. 

 

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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

Hamilton County Child Welfare Partnerships to be Highlighted

I am very honored to be asked to speak at The Georgetown Public Policy Institute’s Leadership, Evidence, Analysis, Debate (LEAD) Conference on Jan. 25. The subject is policy and collaboration in child welfare.

My presentation will focus on several partnerships we have that result in better outcomes for foster children, including the Crossover Youth Project, Journey, HOPE, Kids in School Rule and more.

We have tremendous partnerships that produce wonderful results for foster children. This speaks well of the cooperation and creativity of child-serving agencies in Hamilton County. They share in this honor and I will be sure to highlight their contributions to that success.

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.

Operational Changes

Just a reminder on a couple of changes hitting our agency this week:

  • Effective today, the Child Support cashier’s window has moved from 800 Broadway to the third floor of our main building, 222 E. Central Parkway. With the number of people who pay at the window dropping because of online payments, we can easily absorb the traffic at our main location, which is only a few blocks away.
  • Effective Thursday, the agency will have will have new phone hours and office hours to better serve customers and provide more consistency. By moving to 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, we can increase the number of workers here during peak hours.

Thank you for your cooperation!

Change a Child’s Life; Change Your Own Life

This article in our Update newsletter has been getting a lot of attention from the public. I am thrilled that a positive story like this has captured so much attention.

We have almost 200 children available for adoption on any given day. Their stories are all different, their personalities are different, their strengths and weaknesses are different. But they all have one thing in common: they need a loving family willing to give them a chance.

Adoption has great rewards. That child you take in could become a great athlete, actor, architect, attorney, artist or some other success. With the right nurturing, every one of our children will not only flourish, but bring tremendous joy to your life.

Visit www.hckids.org and learn more about the children we have available. You can even watch some of their videos to get a feel for them as a person.

Thanks!

Quite a Transformation in Five Years

Five years ago this month, I became the director at Hamilton County Job and Family Services.

It has been a very challenging five years. Budget cuts reduced our operating budget in half, forcing us to reduce, cut or transition positions, contracts and services. I was prepared for the normal challenges of leadership and the tough decisions, but no one predicted the severe budget cuts that would completely transform this agency.

We have not only survived, we have put this agency in a position to thrive in an era with reduced tax revenue. It has been an incredible transformation, but we continue to be a model for other JFS organizations in this state in many of our core areas. I am very proud of the way our employees responded to this challenge.

If you would like to read more about the past five years, please check out the Q&A interview I did in this month’s Update newsletter. You can find it here:

http://www.hcjfs.hamilton-co.org/UpdateNew2012/July/Cover.htm

Simply put, I could not have survived five years without the incredible support of our employees, our partners, the Board of County Commissioners and many other people in this community.

Thank you.