April 2022 Connects E-News

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

On average, a child is abused or neglected every 48 seconds in America, 1,785 each day, according to the Children’s Defense Fund. By being a community partner with us, you are helping prevent abuse as a “family affair.”

Franklin County Children Services is partnering with the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund (OCTF) and the Center for Family Safety and Healing to promote child abuse prevention in April.

The awareness campaign, featuring caring adults as caped heroes, may help stem the tide of child abuse and neglect statewide. Heroes can be parents or other family members, educators, public officials and faith-based organizations. OCTF will host a kickoff event on April 7 at 10 a.m. They will feature educational materials and resources on their website at www.OCTF.Ohio.gov.

The Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital will also host three, free training sessions at their facility at 655 E. Livingston Ave. or at the hospital.

All Ohioans are encouraged to wear blue on April 13 to raise awareness for April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Feel free to send your photos to fccsoutreach@fccs.us and we may post them on our Facebook page. Finally, that day also features the annual Child Abuse Prevention Breakfast, a virtual event again this year. The session will highlight the work of community leaders, social workers and families who have overcome obstacles. Several youth will receive scholarships for their efforts.

A media campaign featuring child abuse prevention images will be seen in central Ohio on local billboards, in tv, radio and print pieces and local posters and signs. The aim is to reduce any negative effects to children.

To report suspected child abuse anywhere in Ohio, call toll-free 1-855-OH-CHILD. In Franklin County, the 24-hour hotline for reporting suspected child abuse is (614) 229-7000.

Career Day Leads Youth to Opportunities

Youth gather to take advantage of career day resources.Youth served by Children Services have big dreams and need to see pathways toward achieving them. The agency made that possible by hosting a Career Day in partnership with Ohio Reach and Ohio Bridges on March 19. During the event, youth and families learned about a wealth of opportunities for career development.

Youth interested in furthering their education talked with representatives from Wilberforce University, Wright State University, Central State University, Mount Carmel College of Nursing, Marion Technical College, Franklin University and Columbus State Community College. They also learned about scholarship opportunities from UNCF. Representatives from Paul Mitchell Beauty School and Aveda Institute were also on hand to discuss careers in cosmetology.

Staff from Kokosing Construction, Elford, Atlas Butler, and The Superior Group offered information about trade apprenticeships and careers. Superior Title and Escrow representatives discussed careers in real estate. Additionally, professionals from Taft and Nationwide Children’s Hospital shared their experiences and talked about preparing for careers in law and medicine. Staff from the Columbus Division of Fire were also available to talk about becoming a first responder. Youth even learned about City Year, which provides support and learning resources at local schools.  

Forty youth took advantage of this chance to explore opportunities for their futures and agency staff were excited about their participation. According to College-Bound Mentoring Program Coordinator Chuck Cochran, “We hope that through this information-sharing experience young people feel better informed about the many options and supports available to them as they plan for a bright future.”  Many people helped make the day a success. “This was a collaborative effort of several departments in our agency and our partners,” he continued.

Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Reading Buddies Program

Reading buddies are available for your child. Ask any teacher: solid reading skills are a fundamental basis of education. This is why the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) is committed to helping elementary school students hone their literacy skills with its Reading Buddies program. Since 2014, this free after-school program has helped kids in kindergarten through third grade improve their reading with an adult “buddy” in one-on-one, 15-minute sessions.

This personal tutoring tailored to a specific child’s needs is highly beneficial, according to Gabby Rigol, an information services specialist who oversees the Reading Buddies program at CML’s Franklinton branch. “One-on-one is so much better for learning,” Rigol says, adding that the private instruction format is also immensely helpful for children who might be self-conscious or ashamed of their reading challenges.

Reading Buddies was developed to prepare students for Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, proficiency testing given to all elementary-school children statewide to assess their reading skills. The Reading Buddies curriculum is standardized, according to Rigol, so it’s the same at every CML location. At the Franklinton branch, the twice-weekly sessions are increasingly popular and have their regular attendees, Rigol says. “For kids who struggle with reading, it’s really helpful. They love it.”

Rigol frequently sees one enthusiastic first grader who has a lot of reading challenges but “just gets so excited” at the chance to work one-on-one with a buddy, who is either a CML staff member or trained volunteer. The Reading Buddies program is offered at all of CML’s 23 branches, with hours and days varying by location. Parent/caregiver attendance is not required and drop-ins are welcome. For more information about Reading Buddies as well as CML’s other free educational resources for students of all ages, visit columbuslibrary.org or call (614) 645-2275.

FCCS Insider: FCCS 2022 Resource Guides

Franklin County Children Services is committed to protecting children by strengthening families and we recognize that families are best served within their community. We continuously work to provide tools for families that help connect them to resources within their community, which can assist them in navigating the different types of life circumstances we all encounter from time to time. As such, each year, Children Services creates the Franklin County Children Services Resource Guide. The guide is filled with information about resources and contacts for social services agencies, hospitals and clinics, mental health counseling, food pantries, childcare resources, and much more.

Download a copy of the 2022 Resource Guide today! If you are interested in receiving a hard copy of the resource guide, please contact FCCSOutreach@fccs.us.

Upcoming Events

April 13 - Child Abuse Prevention Event

9:00 a.m.

FCCS's annual event highlights child abuse prevention and the accomplishments of social work professionals, client families, youth, and community advocates. Also, college scholarships are awarded to agency youth. For more information, call (614) 275-2523 or email velichte@fccs.us.

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.

April 30 - Caseworker Job Fair

9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
855 West Mound Street, Columbus, Ohio 43223
Job fair for caseworkers. Hiring on the spot. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.
Schedule your interview in advance here!

May – 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.

May – Mental Health Awareness Month

National Mental Health Awareness month is a time to raise awareness about those living with mental health challenges and to help reduce the stigma many experience because of it.