August 2020 Connects E-News

Temporary Change to Holiday Wish Program

   As we approach the holiday season, while coping with a world-wide pandemic, we want to announce a change in how we work with the public during the annual Holiday Wish gift-giving program.

Every year, Franklin County Children Services attempts to bring some joy to more than 6,500 youth who might not otherwise receive gifts during the holiday season. Many have experienced difficult home situations, child abuse or neglect.

Because of COVID-19 precautions, FCCS will not be able to accept gifts this year at our administration building as it is closed to the public, and staff will mostly be working remotely. For this year, and this year only, we are asking only for financial donations – which we would appreciate in a secure online donation or a check – so that Holiday Wish coordinators can provide critically needed gift cards to youth under our care. These cards will be used by caregivers, in collaboration with a staff member, to ensure our youth get the gifts they wish for.

Help make a child's wish come true this year by:

  • Clicking here to donate online or you can 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.
  • Contacting Holiday Wish via email at holidaywish@fccs.us or (614) 275-2525 to ask questions (beginning in October).

Our staff and volunteers enjoy the interactions we have with our new and long-term donors, and hope to see you in person again next year!

Agency Considers Racial Disproportionality

    What is at the Heart of Overrepresentation of Black and Multi-Racial Children in Child Welfare Cases in Franklin County?

FCCS has long been dedicated to learning why families become involved with the agency and what can be done to alleviate the need for its intervention. Information gathered by the Strategy, Diversity and Evaluations team in Disproportionality & Disparity: An Overview and Agency Analysis reveals trends in how families come to the attention of the agency and what services can be provided to them. Data collected over the past few years has shown that disproportionality exists in the number of Black and Multi-Racial children who are referred to FCCS, when compared to their percentage of the population of Franklin County.

Information collected in 2016 shows that in comparison to their percentage of the population of Franklin County, Black children were overrepresented among educational, legal, and individual referral sources and Multi-Racial children were overrepresented among these same referral sources, as well as child welfare, medical and community organization referral sources. Asian and Hispanic children were underrepresented among all referral sources. The number of White children who were referred was fairly proportionate to their percentage of the population among all referral sources. Analysis of data revealed that a Black child was 2.2 times more likely to be referred to FCCS than a White child, while a Multi-Racial child was 2.8 times more likely to be referred to FCCS than a White child.

FCCS is focused on learning why Black and Multi-Racial children are overrepresented in terms of referrals and what services and education are needed to mitigate this trend. Additional analysis of data will look at how children are represented in referrals not only by race, but also by gender identity and expression, sexual orientation and age. Findings will be used to enhance training and information-sharing for referral sources, including mandated reporters and community members. FCCS will also continue to address potential sources of disproportionality within the agency by periodically examining disproportionality data and identifying potential sources of bias with staff.

The Importance of Childhood Vaccinations

    Thanks to COVID-19, it’s a scary, unpredictable time right now. Understandably, a lot of parents don’t want to take any unnecessary risks when it comes to keeping their children safe and healthy. Taking care of routine childhood immunizations however is one necessity that shouldn’t be neglected, according to public health experts. Sadly, this has been a trend unfolding across the country since early 2020, with vaccinations and well-child visits lagging behind significantly since the pandemic began, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Here are four compelling reasons to make that doctor’s appointment and stay up to date with your child’s immunizations, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

  • Immunizations can save a child’s life. Because of advances in medical science, children can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children, such as polio, have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction – primarily due to effective vaccines.

  • Vaccination is safe. The disease-prevention benefits of vaccines vastly outweigh the concern of any possible side effects for almost all children. Serious side effects following vaccination are extremely rare.

  • Immunization protects everyone. Some children are too young to be vaccinated or may not be able to receive certain vaccinations due to severe allergies, chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems. To help keep them safe, it is important that children who can be vaccinated do so. This not only protects your loved ones, but it helps prevent the spread of preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough (pertussis).

  • Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago.

For more information about the importance of childhood immunization, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines. To learn more about affordable child vaccinations here in Columbus, contact Columbus Public Health at (614) 645-8180.

FCCS Insider: Support the Children’s Fund and Provide Opportunities

The Franklin County Children Services Children's Fund is a separate account that offers children special opportunities for enrichment and learning. Established over 40 years ago, it helps provide children under the care of FCCS opportunities the agency is unable to purchase with tax dollars including summer camps, sports, music or art lessons and college tours.

A portion of the Children's Fund supports the Jack Donahue Scholarship Fund. Each year, scholarships are granted to two foster youth: one attending a four-year college and the other a two-year college. The scholarships are renewable provided the students remain in good academic standing. Contributions to the Children's Fund are tax deductible.

Donate to the Children's Fund

Upcoming Events

August - National Back to School Month

Take time to help children prepare to go back to school and adjust to the changes brought on by COVID-19. Help them to adjust to new school settings and schedules. Contact teachers and administrators to learn what the new year holds for your child.

August 8 - African-American Male Wellness Initiative Virtual Freedom Walk
10 - 11 a.m.

Join the #AAFreedomWalk from your neighborhood via Zoom. Visit nbc4i.comfor details and to register.

September - Kinship Care Month

September is a time to recognize the family members and friends who take on the care of youth served by child welfare agencies, who can no longer remain in their own homes. Kinship care providers offer familiar loving homes to youth in need.

September 19 - UNCF Virtual Walk for Education
1 p.m.

FCCS will sponsor a team participating in this virtual event which raises funds for college scholarships including the FCCS Alvin R. Hadley Scholarship. This scholarship is presented to an agency youth each year. The event will be celebrated online. For more information, visit UNCF Walk for Education - Columbus or call (614) 221-5309.