October 2021 Connects E-News

Grant a Holiday Wish!

Help us grant the wishes of thousands of youth under the care of Franklin County Children Services this holiday season. Last year, Holiday Wish embraced a significant pivot to our gift-giving process in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the changes, our community showed up genuinely for our children and families, granting every wish made. 

This year, we will be returning to the classic Holiday Wish model bringing the toys and the magic back to the holidays for our children who need it the most. In this hybrid model, children ages 0 to 2 and those 12 and older will receive gift cards, while children 3 to 8 will receive toys.

For more than 55 years, you have provided gifts and donations to more than 6,500 children each year who have experienced 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 3 to 11 selects toys or other gifts valued at $50. 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. To sponsor a child, call (614) 275-2525 or email fccsholidaywish@fccs.us.
  • Children age 0 to 2 and 12 and older receive 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 to buy gifts for children and provide holiday meals for families. Donations may be tax deductible. Donate online 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.
  • Individuals and groups may also contribute new, unwrapped toys and gifts of their choice or hold a toy drive. Donations can be delivered to Holiday Wish Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 855 W. Mound Street, Columbus, OH 43223. GUESTS AT HOLIDAY WISH WILL BE REQUIRED TO WEAR A MASK IN OUR BUILDING.
  • You can also purchase a gift from our Holiday Wish and Black Girl Magic wish lists on Amazon.com and have it mailed directly to us

Visit our website to learn more about Holiday Wish. Call our Holiday Wish office at (614) 275-2525 or our Volunteers department at (614) 275-2690 for more information.

Caseworker Links Forever Families

FCCS Adoptions Caseworker Liska HallFinding forever families for children is all in a day’s work for adoptions assessor Liska Hall. This seasoned child welfare professional has helped facilitate an impressive 450 adoptions so far in her 25-year career at Children Services.

There’s one thing Hall wants for every child on her caseload: a permanent family. A safe “landing pad” to call home and a lasting, lifelong connection to loved ones are things that every child deserves no matter their age or circumstances, Hall says. Some may think an 18-year-old might be too old for adoption, but Hall begs to differ. “I always ask them ‘When was the last time you needed your mom?’” Hall says. She recalls that she didn’t leave home until she was 23 and still talks to her mom almost every day.

Going into the child welfare field made perfect sense to Hall, who was the first person in her family to attend college. She notes that she’s always been the kind of person who has looked out for others. “I was a ‘social worker’ in high school,” she says. “I was the mom of the group, making sure everyone got home safely. None of my friends were surprised by my job choice.”

Hall works primarily with foster-to-adopt cases, ensuring that foster parents are a good match for the children temporarily in their care that they are hoping to adopt. One of the greatest rewards of Hall’s job is when adoption day finally arrives after months of planning and mountains of paperwork. “It’s the best,” she says, especially for parents who have been waiting a long time for children of their own. “This is what they’ve been hoping for.”

As for the youth on her caseload who have often experienced adversity and trauma and been in the child welfare system for years, Hall advocates tirelessly on their behalf. She does everything she can to ensure that “her” kids—450 and counting—finally find the perfect family they’ve been patiently waiting for. “They’re my little heroes,” Hall says.

Learn more about how Franklin County Children Services helps children find their forever homes.

Tips for Today: Stop Bullying

STOP BULLYINGOctober is Bullying Prevention Month. It’s a time for youth, parents, caregivers, educators and concerned citizens to increase awareness of bullying and learn how they can help prevent it. To protect the youth in your life, follow these tips:

Adults

Stop bullying on the spot! When adults encounter situations in which youth are being bullied, they need to immediately intervene. Calmly separate the children involved and investigate the situation. Ensure that everyone is safe. Then let the youth know that bullying behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Pay attention to the way your child interacts with others and point out behaviors that are unkind. Make sure they understand how to behave appropriately both in person and online.

Adults should also model good behavior for youth by treating others with respect. Keep in mind that youth take their social cues from the adults in their lives. If they are raised surrounded by adults who treat each other with kindness, they are more likely to do the same.

Take time to mentor youth who need positive role models. Learn about volunteering and mentoring with FCCS.

Youth

Be aware of bullying activity in person and online, and report it. There is help available if you’re experiencing bullying. Talk to a parent, teacher, or another adult about what’s happening. You can find solutions together.

Treat people with courtesy and respect. Join anti-bullying campaigns at your school and in your community.

Learn more at stopbullying.gov. Download printable flyers on bullying and cyberbullying and more parenting tips from our website.

 

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. Click here to view a searchable list of FCCS adoptable kids.

 

November 21-27 National Family Week

This annual celebration focuses on the importance of the family and those who build community connections that strengthen families. FCCS will mark the occasion by recognizing families and community partners who have excelled in the agency’s Family 2 Family Program.