March 2019 Connects E-News

Social Workers Elevate

    Watch <em>Social Workers Elevate</em> on YouTube. FCCS caseworkers and support staff focus on helping families become stable and successful. It’s fitting to recognize these professionals during National Social Work Month in March as they help elevate youth and families.

One of the most valued roles of a FCCS caseworker is strengthening families. Ongoing Caseworker Rebecca Bright fondly recalls helping a mother find community resources and navigate through the services offered by the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services so that her family could become more stable. “This mom felt a great sense of accomplishment when she was able to get benefits and services for her children without needing someone to do things for her anymore,” said Bright.

Caseworkers are also there to support parents and caregivers who are making every effort to achieve stability and navigate obstacles. Ongoing Caseworker Sharon Harris once visited the Franklin County Child Support Enforcement Agency during her lunch break to advocate for a father who had his daughter placed with him, but was still required to pay child support. “I spoke with an enforcement specialist who agreed to expedite the process of fixing the situation,” said Harris. She views social work as a real partnership between herself and the families she helps. Harris tells parents, “We can reach the goals on your case plan together. I’m here to help you.”

Caseworkers sometimes make connections with families that last long after they are no longer involved with FCCS. Intake Caseworker Erinn Anderson developed a bond with one young man that extended from his time in foster care to his subsequent adoption. The relationship included regular invitations to the young man’s football games. “It showed me that I remained an important figure in his life after working with him for so many years and it meant so much to me,” she said.

Hear more stories of how FCCS Social Workers Elevate children and families in this video series on YouTube.

Be a Hero in the Eyes of a Child

One simple act of encouragement might go a long way in raising Ohio children in secure and loving environments. Franklin County Children Services is partnering with the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund (OCTF) and the Center for Family Safety and Healing to promote child abuse prevention in April.

The awareness campaign, featuring caring adults as caped heroes, may help stem the tide of child abuse and neglect statewide. Heroes can be parents, other family members, educators, foster parents, mentors and other caring individuals. The aim is to inspire adults to reduce any negative effects to children by being a positive presence in their lives. “Research has suggested that these negative impacts may be substantially reduced for individuals who have at least one trusted adult supporter, a hero, during their childhood,” said Lindsay Williams, executive director of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund.

OCTF will host a kickoff event on March 25 at the Ohio Statehouse at 10 a.m. Educational materials and resources will be posted on OCTF.Ohio.gov.

The Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital will also host two free training sessions at 655 E. Livingston Ave.: Darkness to Light (Child Sex Abuse) on Wednesday, April 17 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.; and PAX Tools for Families on Thursday, April 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.   

All Ohioans are encouraged to wear blue on April 10 to increase awareness of child abuse prevention. Send your photos to fccsoutreach@fccs.us and FCCS may post them on the agency's Facebook page. Also on April 10, FCCS’s annual Child Abuse Prevention Breakfast will be held at the Boathouse at Confluence Park where the agency will highlight the work of community partners, social workers and families who have overcome obstacles. Several youth will receive scholarships for their efforts.

Finally, a media campaign featuring the “Be a Hero” images will be seen in central Ohio on local billboards, media outlets and print pieces.

To report suspected child abuse anywhere in Ohio, call toll-free 1-855-OH-CHILD. In Franklin County, the 24-hour hotline for reporting suspected child abuse is (614) 229-7000.

Community Partner Profile: Dress for Success Columbus

Dress for Success Columbus is all about empowering women in need, whether they’re just starting their career, trying to land their dream job, or building confidence to re-enter the workforce. Clothing assistance is what Dress for Success is best known for, providing professional, appropriate attire for job interviews and ongoing employment. This international nonprofit whose Columbus office opened in 1997 also offers interview and employment coaching, an ongoing mentoring program and a professional women’s group for networking and support.

Dress for Success Columbus receives a lot of referrals from Franklin County Children Services and its Family-to-Family program in particular, according to Mardi Ciriaco, vice president of community services at Gladden Community House. For Gladden’s Family-to-Family clients who work with Dress for Success, it’s all about boosting self-esteem, Ciriaco says. “Clients always come away with an amazing experience.”

Dress for Success services are free to all qualified women, who are referred through a community partner, according to Bridgett McKinnon, a former Dress for Success client who now works there as a program manager. “There are no barriers,” she says.

To learn more about Dress for Success Columbus, visit dfscmh.org.

FCCS and UNCF Investing in Our Future

Adoptions unit wins the Greg Arnold Sankofa AwardFor almost 20 years, FCCS and the Columbus chapter of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF)  have partnered to raise money for agency youth attending college. Each year, the agency's UNCF committee challenges departments to a friendly fundraising competition for the top prize: the Greg Arnold Sankofa Award. For the third consecutive year, adoptions unit #960 led by Marian McCoy and Deric Cobb won the honor by raising $3,301. In total, $6,200 was raised through employee events. A portion of those funds will go to the Alvin R. Hadley Scholarship which benefits a FCCS youth. The $5,000 Hadley scholarship will be awarded during the Child Abuse Prevention Breakfast in April.

This partnership continues to be rewarding each year. According to FCCS Simba Mentoring Program Director Daryle Cobb, who is also a former chair and current leadership council member of the local UNCF chapter, “UNCF and Franklin County Children Services are proud to invest in the futures of our children.”  

Visit our website to learn how you can contribute to scholarships for agency youth.

Upcoming Events

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 how these dedicated individuals impact society.

April - Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is a time to raise awareness about child abuse prevention. If you suspect a child is being abused, call Franklin County Children Services' 24-Hour Child Abuse Hotline at (614) 229-7000.

April 10 - Child Abuse Prevention Breakfast

7:30 a.m.
The Boat House at Confluence Park
679 West Spring Street
Columbus, OH 43215

FCCS's annual event highlights child abuse prevention and the accomplishments of social work professionals, client families, youth and community advocates. Also, college scholarships are awarded to agency youth. For more information, call (614) 275-2523 or email lamiller@fccs.us.

April 10 - Wear Blue Day

FCCS will participate in the statewide Wear Blue Day campaign to support the prevention of child abuse. Wear blue on April 10, take a photo of yourself or your group and email it to fccsoutreach@fccs.us and you may see your photo featured on the agency's Facebook or Twitter pages.

April 25 - Volunteer Reception

6:30 p.m.
Aladdin Shrine Center
1801 Gateway Circle
Grove City, OH 43123

The FCCS volunteer department will honor volunteers and mentors for all that they do for FCCS children.