December 2017 Connects E-News

You Can Still Grant a Child’s Holiday Wish

  FCCS’s Holiday Wish gift-giving program is well under way. While donors have been very generous, help is still needed to meet our goal of providing holiday gifts for more than 6,000 children served by the agency. Hundreds of wish lists are waiting to be filled. In addition, Holiday Wish needs hundreds of toys for children who come into care late in the year. Some of the most needed items include: Lego® sets, infant toys, bath and body/make up sets, sports equipment, arts and craft kits, and jewelry-making kits. Each year, we struggle to provide gifts for girls ages 8 to 11, so donations for this age group are particularly appreciated.

Here is how you can help:

  • Contact Holiday Wish at (614) 275-2525 to fulfill a wish list for one or more young children at $50 each or sponsor one or more older youth with a $60 donation.

  • Click here to make a monetary donation of any amount online.Arts and Crafts Kits, Bath and Beauty Items, Sports Equipment and More Hot Gifts for Holiday Wish

  • Send a check made payable to the FCCS Children’s Fund to Holiday Wish at 855 W. Mound Street, Columbus, Ohio 43223.

  • Donate any new, unwrapped toys at our W. Mound Street location.

  • Shop for a gift on our Holiday Wish or Black Girl Magic wish lists (Use when searching for our lists)

The Holiday Wish office at 855 W. Mound Street will be open to receive donations as follows:

  • Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Saturdays, December 9 and 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Sundays, December 10 and 17 from 12 to 3 p.m.

Toy donations will be accepted through December 22.

For more information, contact Holiday Wish at (614) 275-2525 or email us at or click here.

Seventeen Children Receive Forever Homes at National Adoption Day

Families and FCCS staff celebrated National Adoption Day on November 16.National Adoption Day raises awareness of the more than 110,000 children in foster care who need permanent and loving homes. On November 16th, central Ohio celebrated the occasion by finalizing the adoptions of 17 children by six families. This annual event is a collaboration of policymakers, case workers, attorneys, and child advocates to celebrate adoption and the rewarding and life changing experience it brings to the child and family.

This year Franklin County Children Services, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Family and Youth Law Center at Capital University Law School worked together to make this day possible. The celebration included inspirational remarks from FCCS Executive Director Chip Spinning, Franklin County Probate Judge Robert G. Montgomery, and Dave Thomas Foundation Executive Director Rita Soronen. The new families celebrated with snacks and gifts, and took pictures, often with caseworkers and other child welfare professionals who helped make their unions possible.

While there were happy stories and smiling faces at the courthouse, there are still many children waiting for a loving adoptive home; especially African-American children, sibling groups and children 10 years and older. FCCS seeks loving families for over 100 children in Franklin County who are waiting for their forever homes. For more information, visit our website, call the FCCS Adoptions Department at (614) 341-6060 or the Dave Thomas Foundation at 1-800-ASK-DTFA.

National Family Week Celebration

Family of the Year Award Recipients April Dotson and Daughter.Resilience and kindness were celebrated during the annual National Family Week event at St. Stephen’s Community House North on November 20. This was an occasion for recognizing the struggles of families involved in FCCS’s Family to Family Program (F2F) and their ability to overcome difficult circumstances. It was also a time to thank the individuals and organizations that have contributed to these families’ successes.

Family to Family enables families in need to obtain services in their own neighborhoods by working with local settlement houses. The program relies on connections with donors and organizations within the community to enable families to thrive.

During the celebration, each settlement house recognized those who have achieved and exceeded their goals as “families of the year.” St. Stephen’s Community Houses East and South chose to recognize LeAnna Ward and April Dotson respectively. Both women overcame emotional struggles and dedicated themselves and their families to taking full advantage of the resources F2F has to offer. Laquisha Stevens was honored by St. Stephen’s Community House North for supporting other members of the program, while consistently attending events. Kimberly Souder was recognized by Central Community House for using the skills she learned through F2F to advance her career and become a manager of her own Speedway location. Teen Sophie Barnhill was the honoree from Gladden Community House for having worked through the program with her family and reaching her academic goals.

The settlement houses also recognized individuals and organizations that help make F2F a success. Women Affirming Women was lauded for inviting mothers to participate in a four-day respite retreat. Anne Nevergall and Steve Fulkert received honors for donating a car to a family in need. Laura Fuller of WesBanco was commended for offering bank tours and financial literacy classes to F2F participants. Thurber House was recognized for helping F2F participants express themselves through creative writing programs. Finally, the Joint Organization for Inner City Needs (J.O.I.N.) was acknowledged for offering emergency material assistance to families.

Winter Tips for Infant Safe Sleep

   Winter’s coming and keeping comfortable and cozy is a top priority, especially if you have a baby at home. Keep your little one safe this season by following these safe sleep guidelines.

The foundation of safe sleep is all about the ABCs: Babies are always safest Alone, on their Backs, in their Cribs. Three babies die every week in Ohio due to an unsafe sleep environment. Following the ABCs can help prevent these tragedies.

Alone: It’s natural to want to cuddle with your infant, especially when it’s cold out. But this can be dangerous. Babies should never sleep with an adult on a couch, chair or bed where they are at risk of injury or suffocation. The statistics are scary: two out of three Ohio babies who died while sleeping were sharing an adult bed, couch or chair. So, share your bedroom with your baby, but never your bed.

Back: To avoid risk of suffocation, babies should always be put to sleep on their backs. Don’t worry. An infant is actually less likely to choke in this position than if he’s on his belly. Remember: back to sleep, tummy to play.

Crib: Babies need their own safe, designated space for sleeping. Bare is best. Make sure the crib is empty. This is not the place for stuffed animals, pillows, blankets or bumper pads. All of these things are dangerous and could potentially suffocate an infant. Use a firm, safety-approved crib mattress with a tightly fitted sheet. And while it might be chilly, don’t over-bundle your infant. Remember that if you're comfortable with the temperature, the baby will be, too.

For more safe sleep tips, visit: Click here for more FCCS parenting tips.

FCCS Insider: Black Girl Magic Drive Celebrates Girls

Attendee Kamaria Thomas poses with some of the items donated during the Black Girl Magic event. It was a night of music, inspiration and magic during the Black Girl Magic Holiday Drive at Copious on December 6. The community gathered, not only to donate culturally specific gifts for African-American girls to receive through FCCS’s Holiday Wish Program, but also to celebrate and uplift girls of color. The festive occasion included music provided by SOUL N~ER~G and a spoken word performance by Barbara Flaunt.

For years, Holiday Wish has struggled to provide African-American youth with gifts that reflect their culture, celebrate diversity and promote self-esteem. According to FCCS Malaika Mentoring Program Director Tonia Still, “African-American girls face significant disparities not experienced by their counterparts. As a means of mitigating the impact of those disparities, FCCS is asking for culturally specific gifts that promote self-esteem, inspire self-worth and encourage excellence." The many gifts that were donated during this event will help encourage healthy attitudes among youth.


Upcoming Events

January - National Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month is a time for recognizing the importance of mentors and their ability to positively impact young lives.

January 18 - Make a Difference Night

5:30 - 7 p.m.
855 W. Mound Street
Join us at this casual event to learn about opportunities for making a difference by helping children and families served by Franklin County Children Services. Enjoy refreshments and inspirational stories. For more information, call (614) 275-2690.