November 2018 Connects E-News

National Adoption Month: Adopt a Teen

Siblings Jamauriyon, Ohnicah and Kamauri (second, third and sixth left) were adopted during the National Adoption Day celebration in 2017.November is National Adoption Month, an opportunity to increase nationwide awareness of the need for permanent and loving homes for the thousands of children in foster care. According to the most recent AFCARS (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System) report, there are 118,000 children in the U.S. waiting to be adopted. Of those waiting, 11% are between the ages of 15 and 17. The need for family and a sense of belonging does not end when a child becomes a teen.

All children, including teens need encouragement, love and support to guide them through life and adulthood. Securing lifelong connections with families for teens in foster care is critical to their future achievements and well-being. Having the strong support of a loving home can provide better outcomes for these youth. Adoptees are more likely to complete high school, go to college, and become emotionally secure.

Central Ohio will celebrate National Adoption Day on November 14th with the finalization of the adoptions of 12 children to 7 families. This includes three sibling groups and three teenagers. Adopting a child can be a rewarding and life changing experience for the child and family. FCCS seeks loving families for over 200 children waiting for their forever homes. Consider adopting a child and giving them a better outcome for the future.

For more information on adoption in Franklin County, please call the Franklin County Children Services Adoption Division at (614) 341-6060 or the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption at 1-800-ASK-DTFA.

Click here to learn more about adopting a child through FCCS.

Grant a Holiday Wish

A central Ohioan stops by to grant a holiday wish.Help us Grant a Holiday Wish this year for thousands of youth under the care of Franklin County Children Services. Whether it’s to see the smiles on the faces of tiny tots or to help just one family through a difficult holiday season, Holiday Wish allows the central Ohio community to give something back to our youth.

Each year you have provided gifts and donations for more than 6,000 children who may have experienced abuse, neglect or other difficult home conditions. In some cases, these are the only gifts that these children will receive all year. You can help make the holidays special.

Here is how Holiday Wish works:

  • Each child age 11 and younger selects toys or other gifts valued at $50.
  • Each youth age 12 and older receives a $60 gift card.
  • Donations of any dollar amount are accepted to help purchase gift cards and food certificates for families. Donations may be tax deductible. Donate online, make a cash donation or write a check payable to the Franklin County Children Services Children's Fund and send it to Holiday Wish at 855 West Mound Street, Columbus, OH 43223.
  • Donors may sponsor one or more children. They will receive each child's wish list, shop for the toys, wrap each gift separately, and deliver them to Holiday Wish.
  • Individuals and groups may also contribute new, unwrapped toys and gifts of their choice and drop them off at Holiday Wish or hold a local toy drive.
  • Donors may drop off new, unwrapped gifts at Holiday Wish, donate online or buy toys from our Amazon Wish List and have them shipped.

Holiday Wish is located near I-70 in the Children Services' building at 855 West Mound Street, Columbus. Email Holiday Wish at holidaywish@fccs.us, call (614) 275-2525 to sponsor a child or click here to learn more about the program.

Help Us Celebrate Black Girl Magic

FCCS is again looking to create joy for children under agency care during the holidays. While the Franklin County community continues to be extremely generous, each year we struggle to provide gifts to children of color. All children need to receive gifts and toys that help them see themselves in a positive light and inspire them toward a promising future. As a result, we’re seeking donations of culturally specific toys, books and more through our Black Girl Magic Toy Drive.

Why is the event called Black Girl Magic? In the past we’ve had to search store shelves for African-American dolls so that little girls could have toys that look like them. We've never had enough. It was out of this need, as well as a need for hair care products and other items that Holiday Wish added the Black Girl Magic drive and event. The name reflects the fact that all children deserve gifts that reflect their culture and celebrate their uniqueness. But the name doesn’t limit the scope of this effort. We are also seeking gifts for boys and children of all ethnic groups.

There are several ways to participate:

  • Attend the Black Girl Magic Toy Drive event at Copious Restaurant (520 S. High St.) on December 5 from 6-8 p.m.
  • Make a purchase from our Black Girl Magic Wish List on Amazon.com
  • Drop off new, unwrapped toys and hair care products at our 855 West Mound Street location

Click here to learn more about Black Girl Magic.

Winter Tips for Infant Safe Sleep

   Central Ohio’s cold weather has arrived and staying warm is a top priority. This is especially true if you’re caring for a baby and not always sure what your little one needs to stay cozy, comfortable and safe.

Safe sleep is all about the ABCs: Babies are always safest Alone, on their Backs, in their Cribs. Following these guidelines could mean the difference between life and death as babies die every week in Franklin County, often under thoroughly preventable circumstances. The safe sleep ABCs can help prevent these tragedies.

Alone: It’s normal to want to cuddle up with your baby, especially when it’s chilly out. But this can be dangerous. Babies should never sleep with an adult on a couch, chair or bed where they are at serious risk of injury or suffocation. The statistics are grim: two out of three Ohio babies who died while sleeping were sharing an adult bed, couch or chair. 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. Infants are actually less likely to choke in this position than if they are on their bellies. Remember: back to sleep, tummy to play.

Crib: All babies need a dedicated, separate space for sleeping. Bare is best. A safe crib should always be 100% empty. Despite the cute displays you might see in stores, a crib is never the place for stuffed animals, pillows, blankets or bumper pads. 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 cold out, never over-bundle an infant. Remember that if you're comfortable with the temperature, the baby will be, too.

For more infant safe sleep tips and local resources for parents and caregivers of babies, visit celebrateone.info.

Click here to view additional parenting tips.

Upcoming Events

Now through December - Holiday Wish 
855 W. Mound St.

For more than 50 years, Holiday Wish has provided gifts to children under the care of FCCS who might not otherwise receive them. Join us in helping make wishes come true! For more information or to donate:

November 19 - National Family Week Celebration
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
St. Stephen's Community House
1500 East 17th Ave.

This annual celebration focuses on the importance of the family and those who build community connections that strengthen families. For more information, call (614) 275-2780.

January - National Mentoring Month

National Mentoring Month is a time for recognizing the importance of mentors and their ability to positively impact young lives. Click here to learn about mentoring opportunities with FCCS.

January 31 - Make a Difference Night
5:30 - 7 p.m.
855 W. Mound St.

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.