November 2021 Connects E-News

National Adoption Month: Children Await Forever Families

The Court Room of Judge Robert Montgomery on National Adoption DayZion is an energetic teenager who loves school, classical music and learning new things. Karissa is a gifted singer and enjoys expressing herself through her songwriting. She also likes hanging out with her friends and watching vampire movies. And Trey is a typical pre-teen who’s crazy about video games and playing with his wrestling action figures. These Franklin County youth are just three of 120,000 children currently in foster care across the country who await their forever families.

This November, National Adoption Month shines a much-needed spotlight on the tens of thousands of children like these three who need a permanent, loving place to call home. Kelly Crawford, who has been an adoptions caseworker at Franklin County Children Services for 20 years, notes that every child, no matter how old they are, deserves the guidance and stability that a permanent family provides—especially those youth who have experienced tremendous adversity and have landed in foster care through no fault of their own. “It is not the child’s fault that they have entered the system. Something traumatic happened and now they can no longer be with their birth family,” Crawford points out. “These children deserve a fair chance at life just as any other child. Our agency’s focus is to help that child feel loved and wanted, no matter what their age.”

At Franklin County Children Services, there are almost 60 children currently waiting to be adopted. The majority of them are teenagers, ages 13 to 17. The idea that a child can be too old for adoption is a frequent misconception and couldn’t be further from the truth, according to Shannon Evans, a veteran FCCS adoptions caseworker who specializes in helping teens find their families. “People say ‘They’re too old, they’ve almost graduated,’” Evans notes. “But that’s when they need parents the most, that guidance the most: when they’re getting ready to go out on their own.”

Having typically spent years in foster care, often in multiple homes, teenagers awaiting adoption “crave that parental connection,” Evans says. “They want to be part of a family.”

Crawford couldn’t agree more: “They may not show it as much as the younger ones, but the older teens want permanency also,” she says. “Who doesn’t want to feel like they belong?”

To meet the almost 60 youth at Franklin County Children Services awaiting their permanent families, visit our adoptions webpage.

Learn more about National Adoption Month.

Grant Holiday Wishes and Spread Black Girl Magic

FCCS is hoping to make the holidays bright for children served by the agency with culturally-specific gifts. Since its inception, the Holiday Wish Program has struggled to provide gifts that make youth, especially African-American girls ages 8 to 11, feel special and honor their unique identities. As a result, the Black Girl Magic Toy Drive was started six years ago. We need your help to make it a success again this year. In addition, we’re hoping to increase the number of culturally-specific gifts that will make young African-American boys feel special as well.

FCCS is asking the public to help spread black girl magic in several ways:

  • Donate a gift card for a retailer such as Target®, Walmart or Amazon.com with a personalized, inspirational message for a youth served by FCCS. Mail it to:

Black Girl Magic
In care of Holiday Wish
855 W. Mound Street
Columbus, OH 43223

  • Make a cash donation online (note: Black Girl Magic in the comments or "in honor of" fields) or send a check made payable to Black Girl Magic/The Franklin County Children’s Fund and send it to the address noted above.
  • Purchase a gift from the Black Girl Magic Wish List on Amazon.com and have it sent directly to Holiday Wish.
  • Hold a toy drive with your organization. Call Holiday Wish at (614) 275-2525 to learn more.

Join FCCS at the Black Girl Magic Toy Drive Event at The Five Party and Event Center at 4977 E. Dublin-Granville Road, Westerville, OH 43081 on December 11 from 2-4 p.m. Stop by and drop off your donations.

We need help from the community to create joyous experiences for the youth and families we serve this holiday season. Visit our Black Girl Magic and Holiday Wish webpages or call (614) 275-2525 to for more information.

FCCS Bids Farewell to Director of Communications

Alison RodgersOn November 30, Franklin County Children Services will miss the leadership, guidance, and commitment of Director of Communications Alison Rodgers, as she retires from the agency after 25 years of service. Rodgers first walked into the doors of Children Services in 1982 as a bright-eyed student ready to make her contributions to child welfare. She later became a full-time employee as a child welfare caseworker 2 in the Classification and Assignment Department. Rodgers later transferred to the Black Family Connections Adoption Unit. She resigned from that position and moved to Cincinnati, but returned in 1994 as a social program specialist in the Professional Development department.  

In 2012, Rodgers was promoted to director of professional development and the Central Ohio Regional Training Center. Her dedication and determination led to breakthrough programs including:

  • Involvement in writing grants to secure child welfare traineeships and the University Partnership Program
  • Helping to develop a Master of Social Work Cohort program for agency staff in partnership with the Ohio State University and ADAMH
  •  Being recognized as Education Coordinator of the Year by the Ohio State University College of Social Work 

In October 2019, Rodgers was promoted to director of communications and began a new leadership journey by adding leading the Communications and Volunteer departments to her responsibilities.

For over 25 years, Rodgers has led with professionalism and grace, and she is well regarded by her staff. According to one team member, “Alison is truly a giving and compassionate person. She comforts you when you are sad, encourages you when you are in doubt, and when she corrects you; you walk away with the ‘that makes sense, why didn’t I think of that’ feeling.” Another said, "Alison has an aura that makes you feel as if you are her favorite, but this sentiment is shared by everyone who knows her.”

Congratulations Alison Rodgers on your retirement after 25 years of being an advocate for the children, families, and staff of Children Services.

Tips for Today: Driveway Safety

Take Care at Dusk.As winter approaches and dusk occurs earlier in the day, please be safe around driveways and sidewalks to protect children. Little ones in dark clothing are hard to spot! In a busy world, and with more people moving about driveways and parking lots over the holidays, please take a second to check your surroundings before moving your vehicle. 

According to www.SafeKids.org, more than 9,000 children each year are treated in emergency rooms for injuries that occurred while they were by themselves in or around motor vehicles. Tragically, many accidents happen because of the actions of family members or friends. Many of these are preventable.

Top Tips for Driveway Safety

  1. Before you move your car, walk around it, check that all lights are on, mirrors have been adjusted and know what or who is nearby.
  2. Pick a spot near a lamppost or sidewalk where children can wait when nearby vehicles are about to move.
  3. Alert other drivers or family members to do a head count before moving on.
  4. Always walk small children to the door when they get out of your vehicle and hold their hand while walking near moving vehicles, in driveways, parking lots or on sidewalks.

For more information and tips see: https://www.safekids.org/safetytips/field_risks/driveway-safety

Learn more about Franklin County Children Services and read our parenting tips 

Upcoming Events

Now through December - Holiday Wish

855 W. Mound Street

Help make holiday wishes come true for children under the care of FCCS by making a donation. We are once again accepting donations of new toys! For more information or to donate:

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 17 - National Adoption Day Celebration

FCCS will observe National Adoption Day by finalizing the adoptions of several children under agency care at the Franklin County Probate Court.

December 11 - Black Girl Magic Event

2-4 p.m.
The Five Party and Event Center
4977 E. Dublin-Granville Road, Westerville, OH 43081

Help FCCS provide culturally-specific gifts that celebrate the unique identities of the children of color whom we serve. Drop off your gift at the Black Girl Magic Toy Drive on December 11. You can also visit Amazon.com to purchase items from our Black Girl Magic Wish List. Click here to learn more.