October 2019 Connects E-News

Support Issue 10: FCCS Renewal Levy

Thanks to the community’s generosity, momentum is building for Franklin County Children Services’ 3.1 mill renewal levy, Issue 10, which will be on the November 5 ballot. This levy will not increase taxes. This support is reflected in the community volunteers and the Committee4Children(C4C) who are helping to educate voters about the importance of Issue 10. People of all ages are getting involved and endorsements are continuing to come in from a diverse group of  individuals and organizations, including Marilyn Brown, President Franklin County Board of Commissioners; Franklin County Commissioners John O’Grady and Kevin Boyce; the Franklin County  Democratic Party; Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities; Baptist Ministerial Alliance of Columbus and Vicinity; Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance; Columbus NAACP; Ohio Hispanic Coalition; SomaliCan; Jewish Family Services; Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce; The Communicator News; The Franklin County Young Democrats and The Columbus Dispatch.

“While the support received so far is encouraging, we don’t want to take anything for granted,” said FCCS Executive Director Chip Spinning. "The agency will lose nearly $85.6 million – more than 42 percent of our income – if this levy does not pass, which would critically compromise our efforts to serve the community during these challenging times.”

About two-thirds of the agency’s budget is funded through two levies, a 1.9 mill that renewed in 2014 and the 3.1 mill passed in 2009, that expires at the end of this year.

As Election Day nears, the C4C is calling for volunteers to help make phone calls, distribute literature and place yard signs. Speakers are available to present information to anyone who wants to learn about ways to support the agency.

Information about the levy campaign and volunteer opportunities can be found on the C4C website, committee4children.com or you can contact Doris Calloway Moore, Committee4Children community outreach coordinator, at (614) 560-3554 or doriscmoore@gmail.com.

Morenos Named PCSAO Family of the Year

The Moreno Family:(From left) Gabby, Luna, Tamara, Lluvia, Judy and Christian

Tamara Moreno’s story is one of perseverance matched with dedication to her family. Her love and desire to never give up on herself or her children led to her receiving the Public Children Services Association (PCSAO) 2019 Family of the Year award. Each year PCSAO, which advocates for child protection, stable families and supportive communities, honors the achievements of families who are served by Ohio’s public children services agencies.

Over fourteen years ago, the Moreno family was faced with the devastating news that their 3-year-old son had been diagnosed with cancer. Tamara was a single mother of three children and pregnant with her fourth when they got the news. She was also the main caregiver for her mother, who was also fighting cancer. While dealing with her own person health issues and an abusive partner, Tamara became overwhelmed and Franklin County Children Services soon became part of her life. After reaching a turning point, Tamara made the brave decision to fight for her family and has never looked back.

With help from her dedicated caseworker, Tamara worked very hard to obtain stable housing and complete her case plan. After two years, FCCS was able to reunite Tamara with her children and a new baby sister. The children continue to receive mentoring services from FCCS. Tamara says, “Our mentors are like family, and I am so thankful for their love and support.” Two of the mentors walked Tamara down the aisle at her wedding.

Eleven years later, Tamara continues to lead her family through challenges and obstacles. While she still reaches out for support when she needs it, Tamara is proud of what she has accomplished: raising children who are achieving their goals and making positive contributions to the community.

Domestic Violence Awareness

   Domestic violence, an issue that many Franklin County Children Services’ families deal with, doesn’t always mean physical violence, like a black eye or a broken arm. In fact, some of the most dangerous aspects of domestic violence can manifest as coercive control: an escalating, systematic pattern of psychological abuse and manipulation, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). “Lack of physical violence does not mean the abuser is any less dangerous to the victim, nor does it mean the victim is any less trapped by the abuse,” the NCADV says. According to the NCADV, here are some of the most common warning signs that your partner has coercive, controlling tendencies:

  • Destroying self-worth and self-esteem through belittling comments, name calling or other humiliating or shaming behaviors
  • Discouraging or preventing you from making your own decisions
  • Acting in ways that deliberately scare or intimidate you
  • Dictating how you dress, wear your hair, etc.
  • Expressing jealousy of your family and friends and isolating you from your family and friends
  • Controlling household finances, taking your money or refusing to give you money
  • Monitoring your every move whether in person or via the Internet, your phone or a GPS tracking device.
  • Restricting or interfering with your day-to-day routine, whether it’s preventing you from working or attending school, harassing you at your job or sabotaging your ability to do your job
  • Pressuring you into unwanted sexual activity or sabotaging birth control
  • Damaging or destroying personal property
  • Threatening to hurt, kill, or take away your children, family, friends and pets

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available through LSS CHOICES’ 24-hour crisis hotline at (614) 224-HOME or visit lssnetworkofhope.org/choices/. The 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline is (800) 799-SAFE.

Youth Explore COSI During Children’s Day

Kroger's Bagster entertained some fans during a performance by the Shazbots Duo.

The Supa Fun Band delights the crowd. A 5-year-old boy gazed up at the towering figure of a full-size cast of a tyrannosaurus rex with his jaw dropped in awe. An 8-year-old girl climbed into a submarine. Toddlers danced to the music of the Shazbots Duo. This is just some of the fun that was had by children and families during FCCS’s Children’s Day at COSI on September 27. The annual event was held thanks to a partnership between COSI and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. Agency families were able to attend free of charge, while the public was admitted at a reduced rate during COSI’s Friday Family Night.

FCCS Communications Director Deborrha Armstrong welcomed the crowd. COSI’s interactive exhibits were a source of fun and education for attendees. Additional entertainment was provided by Joe Lyons Magic, the Supa Fun Band and ninja lessons, courtesy of The Mascot Organization. Mascots including FCCS’s own Ted D. Bear, Kroger's Bagster and Brutus Buckeye were also on hand to join in the fun. Snacks were offered in the café. Throughout the evening FCCS shared parenting tips and other resources with families. Click here to view more photos from the event.

FCCS Insider

   UNCF Walk for Education

Franklin County Children Services staff and friends participated in the UNCF Walk for Education on Saturday, September 28 at Wolfe Park. FCCS has had a team of walkers in this event for more than 25 years. A portion of the funds raised by Team FCCS contribute to the agency’s Alvin R. Hadley scholarship, which is awarded to a Children Services youth annually. Team FCCS included 20 people who participated in this year’s event. Additional fundraising efforts will take place throughout the year.

Want to learn more about how FCCS supports youth who are pursuing higher education? Click here to learn about FCCS's College-Bound Mentoring Program.

 

Armstrong to Retire from Children Services

Communications Director Deborrha Armstrong will retire from Franklin County Children Services in October, after working in various positions over more than 36Deborrha Armstrong years. Armstrong’s work has involved overseeing community awareness and foster care/adoption recruitment initiatives including Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, Choose Your Partner Carefully and the All Kids Count campaign. She also coordinated the One Church, One Child program for more than 10 years. In addition, Armstrong helped implement the agency’s kinship care program. As communications director, Armstrong has handled agency media, community outreach and public relations efforts. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Ohio State University.

 

Upcoming Events

November – National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month is a time to focus on the children in foster care who are waiting for a permanent family. Locally, National Adoption Day will be celebrated on November 20 with the finalization of the adoptions of several children at Franklin County Probate Court. Click here to view a searchable list of FCCS adoptable kids.

November 25 – 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.

Now through December – Holiday Wish
855 W. Mound Street

Help make holiday wishes come true for children under the care of FCCS! Call Holiday Wish at (614) 275-2525. For more information or to donate: