November 2019 Connects E-News

Simba and Malaika Visit D.C.

FCCS staff, Simba and Malaika youth and mentors visit Howard University.Youth in FCCS’s Simba and Malaika Mentoring programs recently traveled to Washington D.C. to learn about history, government and higher education. The youth were accompanied by FCCS staff and volunteers in the mentoring programs. Their visit included stops at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the United States Senate, the United States Capitol, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Howard University and Ben’s Chili Bowl. For many, this was an occasion for firsts: first bus trip, first trip out of state, first hotel stay, first subway ride and first college visit.

Walking through the National Museum of African American History and Culture was a powerful and enlightening experience for the youth as they saw evidence of cultural and political achievements from each era of history. “I learned that a lot of people fought for us and our freedom to become Americans,” said Malaika mentee Mya. Mentor Natalie Thomas agreed. “I learned that no matter where I am in life, I can never forget the people who sacrificed their lives just so I can have some form of freedom,” she said. 

The trip was also a chance for the youth to explore where laws and policies are created and learn about the legislative process. The Capitol building was a favorite. “It was amazingly beautiful,” said Mya.

The youth received a personalized tour of the Howard University campus by students who enabled them to see themselves in college. “The best part was getting the feel of being on a college campus and being able to meet new people and making new friends,” said Simba mentee Mark. Before the visit, Simba mentee Raheem didn’t know what an HBCU (historically black college or university) was, but he now says, “Howard is the college of my dreams.”

Another highlight of the trip was a stop at the 61 year plus D.C. staple, Ben’s Chili Bowl. The visitors even got the chance to meet the restaurant’s owner and founder Virginia Ali and learn about being an entrepreneur.

Click here to learn more about the Simba Mentoring Program.

Click here to learn more about the Malaika Mentoring Program.

National Adoption Month

A child gains a forever family during National Adoption Day 2018.November is National Adoption Month and a time to increase awareness of the need for permanent and loving homes for thousands of children in foster care. To date, more than 75,000 children in foster care have been adopted through National Adoption Day events, but there are still more than 125,000 children in the U.S. waiting to be adopted. Child protection agencies are asking caring adults to expand or build their families by adopting and help fulfill the dreams of children who need a loving and forever family.

National Adoption Day was founded by a coalition of national partners: the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Children’s Action Network. Today, National Adoption Day events are planned throughout over 400 cities across the United States. This November, central Ohio will celebrate the occasion on November 20th with the finalization of the adoptions of children by six families at Franklin County Probate Court. This will be FCCS’s 19th year celebrating National Adoption Day.

At any given time, Franklin County Children Services is actively seeking loving families for over 100 children waiting for their forever homes. Adopting a child can be a rewarding and life changing experience for the child and family. Consider adopting a child and giving them a better outcome for the future. To learn about adopting a child through Franklin County Children Services, call the Adoptions Division at (614) 341-6060 or the Dave Thomas Foundation at 1-800-ASK-DTFA.

Click here to learn more about FCCS's adoptions program.

Grant a Holiday Wish

Please 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. We’ve asked for their wishes, and now it’s your turn!

For more than 55 years, you have provided gifts and donations to more than 6,500 children each year 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 teen age 12 and older receives a $60 gift card. We are particularly in need of cash donations to provide gift cards this year.
  • 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.
  • Purchase a gift from our Holiday Wish and Black Girl Magic wish lists on
  • Attend the Black Girl Magic Toy Drive on December 4 at Copious (520 S. High Street) and donate a culturally specific gift.

Drop off gifts at Holiday Wish located near I-70 in the Children Services' building at 855 West Mound Street, Columbus, OH 43223. Email Holiday Wish at (614) 275-2525 to sponsor a child or click here to learn more about the program.

Tips for Today: Online Safety for Kids

We all worry about keeping our kids safe and one place to exercise extra caution is the internet. While great for playing games, researching school projects and keeping in touch with friends, the internet can also be a dangerous place for children. It’s full of inappropriate content, cyber bullies and child predators. To avoid these scary scenarios, here are some basic guidelines for keeping children safe while online, according to

  • Spend time online together to teach safe, responsible behavior.

  • Keep the computer, tablet or phone in a common area where you can watch and monitor usage, not in individual bedrooms.

  • Find out what, if any, online protection is offered by your child's school, after-school center, friends' homes, or any place where kids can access a computer without supervision.

  • Kids should never post or trade personal pictures or reveal personal information such as their address, phone number or school name or location while online.

  • Kids should never agree to get together in person with anyone met online without parent approval and/or supervision.

  • Keep an open line of communication about what your kids are doing online. Encourage your child to tell you if they ever have an online exchange where they feel threatened, scared or uncomfortable.

  • Warning signs of a child being targeted by an online predator include spending long hours online, especially at night, receiving phone calls from strangers, getting unsolicited gifts in the mail, turning off the computer suddenly when you walk into the room and a reluctance to discuss online activities.

  • Contact your local law enforcement agency or the FBI if your child has received child pornography via the internet.

Click here for more information on kids and internet safety.

FCCS Insider: Alison Rodgers Becomes FCCS Director of Communications

Alison Rodgers Takes the Helm as Franklin County Children Services Communications Director.

“Our agency’s vision is demonstrated in our actions and words and I’m excited about working with the knowledgeable professionals who are responsible for sharing that vision,” said Alison Rodgers upon assuming the role of director of communications for Franklin County Children Services. Rodgers is a long-time employee of FCCS having worked as a caseworker supervisor, trainer and most recently as the director of professional development and the Central Ohio Regional Training Center. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and sociology from Hampton University and a master’s degree in social work from the Ohio State University. Rodgers will oversee staff in Professional Development, Volunteers, and Community Outreach. 

Rodgers previously served on the Columbus City Schools Innovation and Reform Committee and presently serves as a Celebrate One community liaison. She also volunteers with Community Shelter Board Food Pantry, Helping Hands Materials Support Program, and as a math tutor with Southern Gateway Community. Married for more than thirty years, Rodgers and her husband are the proud parents of two with one grandchild. She loves to travel, as well as root for the Buckeyes and Cleveland Browns.

Upcoming Events

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.

December 4 - Black Girl Magic Event
6-8 p.m.
520 S. High Street
Join FCCS's Malaika Mentoring Program for a night to celebrate the beauty, resilience and power of black girls. Please bring a culturally specific holiday gift that promotes self-love and reaffirms the inherent value of black girls. You can also visit to purchase items from our Black Girl Magic Wish List. Click here to learn more.

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: