Community Comes Out to Make a Difference
More than 75 people came out on January 19 in the hope of making a difference in the lives of youth served by Franklin County Children Services. They attended an open house at the agency, where they learned about opportunities for volunteering, mentoring and making donations throughout the year.
Elizabeth Crabtree, director of volunteers and Holiday Wish, welcomed the crowd and asked them to think of some of the fears and challenges that youth involved with our agency experience, like fear, anxiety and low self-worth. They were then asked to think of the people who taught them important lessons in life and how those lessons impacted them. Crabtree then suggested that having a role model who is willing to create a relationship and share positive lessons can move agency youth from a “place of crisis to a place of promise.”
A highlight of the evening came when College-Bound mentor Beth Heyer and her mentee Hayaley talked about their relationship. The duo described how they’ve become close over the years, as Heyer guided Hayaley through applying for colleges and making other decisions. Hayaley, who is in her fourth year at Ohio State University where she is studying social work, is grateful to Heyer. “Beth changed my life. I would not be in college if it wasn’t for her,” she said. Hayaley encouraged the audience to offer their support to kids in need. “Some people don’t have anyone who can tell them what they should do and help them, but you can be that person for someone,” she said.
Click here to learn about becoming a volunteer or mentor with FCCS.
Kinship Caseworker Connects Families
“Being part of a team working with families, where they are, without any judgments, is what I enjoy most,” said Tammy Grant. After having been with Franklin County Children Services for more than 25 years, Grant is still energized and eager to help families find the help they need so that they can thrive. A caseworker in the kinship department, Grant also serves as a liaison for the agency’s Family to Family program.
For Grant, the work day is dedicated to making connections. She builds relationships with kinship care providers, learns what they need and links them with resources that provide things like utility assistance and food. Grant also receives referrals from intake caseworkers for the Family to Family Program, as well as calls that come directly from the community. “When a family needs some preventative services or assistance, Family to Family gives them support, without having to be formally involved with the child welfare system,” she said. The program works with area settlement houses to give families access to things like parenting classes, support groups, educational support and more.
Grant is encouraged by the work that the agency does and changes she’s seen in the community. “We’re starting to break down barriers,” she said. “People are starting to see us in a positive light without fear and realize we’re here to help them.”
One of Grant’s favorite experiences was working with Johnny, a single father who was struggling to provide for his son. Grant helped connect him with resources and by working with child care providers, homeless shelter staff, his employer and others, she was able to help Johnny move to a state of independence. Now, after living on his own and providing for his son for several years, Johnny still calls Grant occasionally to say, “I wanted to let you know we’re doing OK. Thank you. We’ll never forget you.” Grant enthused, “These moments are why I keep doing this job.”
Click here to learn more about FCCS's Family to Family program.
Tips for Today: Dealing with Stress as a Parent
Parents can feel overwhelmed by daily tasks, long term plans and the surprises that crop up. Follow a few tips to help manage stress and deal with feelings of exhaustion and depression.
Take a Break
Health Day suggests taking advantage of opportunities to have some away time. This will give you the chance to replenish your resources, when you are physically and emotionally exhausted. If babysitters aren’t readily available, consider making arrangements with other moms and dads to watch each other’s children for an evening or afternoon.
If all else fails, take short breaks throughout the day. A 15 minute nap, 20 minutes spent reading a magazine article or watching your favorite show for a half hour can help recharge you. The Child Development Institute also recommends using relaxation techniques and meditation to reduce stress.
Take Care of Your Self
Be sure to maintain a healthy diet and eat regularly. Develop an exercise routine and try to get as much rest as possible. Making your own health a priority will give you the energy and stamina you need to deal with whatever life has in store for you and your family.
Learn to Problem Solve
Planning and organization can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. Try getting up fifteen minutes earlier each morning to plan your day. Come up with a few contingency plans in case things go wrong, such as having a sick child, needing a car repair or missing an appointment.
Click here to view a printable FCCS parenting tip flyer on this subject. Click here to view additional parenting tips.
Prevalence of Abuse in Franklin County
Franklin County Children Services is mandated by law to investigate reports of child abuse and neglect. The agency provides services that ensure the well-being of children through prevention, protection, placement and permanency programs. In 2016, FCCS served 32,941 children. The agency received 31,639 referrals of child abuse and screened in 13,500 cases. The types of child abuse vary and include physical, emotional, sexual and dependency. The agency publishes a Prevalence of Abuse statistics page with a two-year comparison each year. Click here to download the latest version.
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the FCCS 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at (614) 229-7000.
FCCS Insider: Shaping Attitudes Inspiring Leadership (S.A.I.L.)
More than 30 staff members met in January to celebrate their graduation from a joint mentoring partnership that was established to develop leadership and organization commitment to FCCS. The S.A.I.L Committee had assigned these partnerships a year ago — one mentor with one mentee – to meet once or twice a month. The purpose was to learn about professional skills and personal growth, and share a common goal of learning how to be a better FCCS leader. The partnerships were each awarded certificates in a “Sail-A-Bration” ceremony complete with food, music and personal anecdotes.
Season four of the S.A.I.L. program begins this year. Its mission is to strengthen and develop an agency culture of learning for staff to practice leadership knowledge and skills throughout the agency; by creating mentoring partnerships with the express purpose of sharing information, experience and expertise to promote personal and professional growth; thereby enhancing agency outcomes and staff satisfaction.
March – National Social Work Month
National Social Work Month is a time for increasing public awareness and knowledge of the profession of social work and its impact on society. Click here to learn more about social work at FCCS.
April – Child Abuse Prevention Month
April is a time to raise awareness about child abuse. FCCS events include the Child Abuse Prevention Breakfast and Wear Blue Day. Click here to learn more about Child Abuse Prevention Month. If you suspect a child is being abused, call the 24-hour FCCS Child Abuse Hotline at (614) 229-7000.