March 2022 Connects E-News

Caseworker Prepares Youth for the Future

Kim CarterMarch is National Social Work Month, a time to recognize the caseworkers at Children Services who provide guidance and a listening ear to those who need help. Kim Carter is a 35-year veteran, working in the Youth Transition Services (YTS) Department to help young people prepare for life after their involvement with the agency ends. As she nears retirement, Carter is reflecting on the relationships she’s built and the services the agency offers to youth. 

Carter spends much of her time responding to calls and emails from youth—some of whom are currently on her caseload, others who are former agency youth who want to share their successes or just let her know they’re OK.

“I really enjoy working with teens,” she said. "I’m glad that we can provide them with so many services.” Carter typically manages a caseload of 16 to 20 youth at one time. She meets with youth who are typically in their senior year of high school and provides the information they will need to be successful when they are on their own. “We take a look at their plans, whether they want to go to college or want to work, look at housing resources and material resources, and make sure they have the documents and identification they will need,” she said.

A challenge she faces is helping youth who are undocumented. This is a barrier to getting them linked with resources, but she does everything she can for them. “These are the situations that I find myself thinking about while I’m at home,” she said. 

Carter feels as though youth with whom she’s worked are successful, when they’re in stable housing, employed or in school and are surrounded by positive people. She is also proud to be part of the YTS team. “We’re dedicated workers who care about these kids and want them to succeed," she said.

Community Partner Profile: Clintonville-Beechwold Resources Center

A Community Partner Supporting FamiliesFrom kinship care and family services to after-school programs, a food pantry and senior programming, the Clintonville-Beechwold Resources Center (CRC) has been enriching thousands of lives since 1971.

A United Way member agency that’s part of the Columbus Federation of Settlements, the CRC is based in Clintonville but its outreach efforts are decidedly not limited by geography. According to Bill Owens, the CRC’s longtime executive director, they have served individuals in over 90 zip codes since the pandemic began. It’s fair to say that they’ll never turn anyone away, he says. “We’ll help you figure out how to get what you need.”

Owens, who has overseen the CRC for the past 25 years, is proud of the CRC’s unwavering commitment to helping those needing assistance. He notes that they are rigid when it comes to abiding by the centuries-old settlement house mission of serving the urban poor but endlessly flexible when meeting the individual needs of each client.

The CRC’s food pantry, which receives 10,000 pounds of fresh produce every Wednesday, is the nonprofit’s front door in many ways. When someone stops by for assistance, “it’s not just a bag of food,” Owens says. CRC staff and volunteers, who can help a client receive an Ohio Benefit Bank assessment, are always ready to offer full support, figuring out what referrals might be needed beyond a few groceries. It’s all about preventing families from going further into crisis and “avoiding household disintegration,” Owens says. “How else can we help?”

A lack of quality, affordable housing is the most pressing issue that the CRC’s client families are facing currently. “Housing is just awful,” Owens says. “It’s gotten so expensive. And landlords are cranking up the price because they know they can get it.” To help at-risk families secure housing, the CRC, along with many other Central Ohio nonprofits, administer a HUD homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing program that provides rental assistance, according to Owens.

To learn more about all the ways in which the CRC supports families in need, visit clintonvillecrc.org.

National Unplug Day March 4-5

Take a day to unplug!After you read this story, you might want to unplug for the day and go outside with a friend! National Unplug Day is upon us and has been celebrated widely for more than 10 years as a way to raise awareness of the balance needed between our tech diversions and work/play life. The Unplug Collaborative welcomes, educators, organizers, parents, and individuals who want to spread awareness about how to maintain a healthy life/tech balance to participate and promote Unplug Day. 

How much time are we actually spending online?

The movement has suggestions if you take the time out. You could read a book, write a letter to a friend or loved one, decorate a nap sack for your cell phone, play a board game, do woodworking or arts and crafts, or even hold an Unplug-A-Thon to raise money for a favorite cause. One old tradition is also making a comeback: paint a rock!

So turn it off for a while, give your eyes some needed break from the “blue light” and stay healthy in 2022.

To learn more about unplugging, see their website at https://www.nationaldayofunplugging.com/.

For more information and parenting tips for families, visit our website

FCCS Insider: Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Each year, Children Services serves thousands of children and families throughout our community by providing prevention, protection, placement and permanency services. The Agency strives to collaborate with families and our community partners to achieve the best possible outcomes for all children who come into our care. The Agency also makes every effort to share important statistical information with the community about the services we provide. Every year, Franklin County Children Services collects data which addresses common questions asked about the number of children who are referred to our agency, type of referrals received, placement information, and comparison data from previous years. Check out the latest stats from the Agency here: 2021 Franklin County Children Services Statistics

Upcoming Events

March - National Social Work Month

National Social Work Month is a time for increasing public awareness and knowledge of the profession of social work and how these dedicated individuals impact society.

April - Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is a time to raise awareness about child abuse prevention. If you suspect a child is being abused, call the 24-Hour Child Abuse Hotline at (614) 229-7000.

April 13 - Wear Blue Day

Wear blue to show your support for child abuse and neglect prevention. Email your photos to fccsoutreach@fccs.us and you may see them posted on our social media pages.

May - National Foster Care Month

National Foster Care Month is the time to recognize the hundreds of thousands of children who need temporary loving homes. To learn about becoming a foster parent in Franklin County visit fostercare.fccs.us or call 614-275-2711.