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We are looking for teen mentees

If you know a teenager in foster care, a group home or independent living in the northern areas of Hamilton County, please let us know.

We are looking for kids attending school in the Colerain, Lakota, Princeton districts or in the Hamilton and Middletown areas.

We are collecting names of kids who could use mentors as we prepare to start a program with Amber Gray and her Where2Next Foundation. The program will focus on kids living in those areas.

The post We are looking for teen mentees appeared first on Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

View Original Source (HCJFS.org) Here.

Child Care deadline one year away

For child care providers in Hamilton County, it is time to step up.

We are in the final stretch – 12 months and counting – for child care providers to become rated under the Step Up to Quality program. The state of Ohio has mandated all child care providers must be rated by June 30, 2020, to continue serving children who receive child care subsidies. This includes both centers and homes.

Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) is a five-star quality rating and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. SUTQ standards exceed the health and safety regulations required to be licensed and are based on national research that seeks to improve outcomes for children.

Participating programs earn a one-, two-, three-, four- or five-star rating for meeting benchmarks for curriculum, screening and assessments, environment, staff support and management, staff education and professional development, communication and engagement and other standards.

The benefit to parents is simple: a higher quality program leads to better results for their children. For providers, it is about going the extra mile for children.

Hamilton County has nearly 1,000 child care centers and homes that must have at least a one star starting July 1, 2020 to continue receiving state subsidies for eligible children in their care. If a parent relies on subsidies to fund their child care, the parent will be forced to move to another center or home if theirs is not rated.

Approximately 16,000 Hamilton County children receive state subsidies every month. More than 23,000 different children received subsidies in 2018.

Internally, we have a team dedicated to the SUTQ system and helping providers secure their first star rating. So far, the team has helped, or is in the process of helping, more than 225 homes and centers. That means reviewing applications and submitting them to the state for approval, monitoring inspections and offering guidance. Our internal team has attended trainings, created training guides and tracking forms and provided coaching sessions in an effort to encourage providers.

Hamilton County staff also work collaboratively with 4C for Children, the resource and referral agency for our region. 4C created programs and resources that are simple, streamlined and effective in helping providers reach the 2020 goal. Their classes and guidance set providers up for success at their onsite visit. This collaborative relationship has us well positioned to meet our collective goals.

In addition to this being a requirement, the SUTQ system has many advantages for providers. They will receive rate increases for each child as they progress up the star system. By raising the quality of their program, they’ll also help children score higher on Kindergarten Readiness Assessments. The increase in quality is also expected to lead to increased enrollment from parents seeking higher quality and a decrease in turnover because staff are more satisfied in higher-quality programs.

If you are a provider who has not begun the SUTQ process, you can find more information on our website. If you need help with the process, 4C (4Cfor children.org) is helping many local providers.

Remember, we are one year away!


The post Child Care deadline one year away appeared first on Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

View Original Source (HCJFS.org) Here.

Taking care of our own, so they can take care of others

A siren wailing somewhere in the night. Flashing police lights and yellow tape. The chaos of an emergency room after a big accident. A loved one being hurt or perpetrating pain.

Even thinking about these scenarios can be unsettling. When they become reality for us or people we care for, they are traumatic. With every additional instance, the impact from a wide range of experiences becomes more dramatic and damaging. Though the physical signs of trauma are often obvious, the emotional and mental wounds are often harder to see and to care for. For professionals who work with a population that is chronically traumatized, they can find themselves in need of care as well.

Like other first responders, Children’s Services caseworkers and managers deal with trauma every day. And not just during their “official” shifts. Difficult interactions and disturbing images have a way of following them home and moving in. Overstaying their welcome.

Learning how to take care of ourselves and each other is the main goal driving our new, trauma-informed programming. Building a safe place where our dedicated staff can be encouraged and empowered helps counter burnout and turnover while building our resilience and improving job satisfaction. Building a strong JFS community enables us to build a stronger community beyond our walls. One child, one family at a time.

Nina Lewis is overseeing a team of experienced and empathetic professionals. Former caseworker Faye Perkins will offer confidential consultation for staff regarding the behavioral health of children and families as well as addressing their own secondary trauma. In their roles as Trauma Coordinators, Donna Lang and Gina Parran are initially focusing on Resilience Alliance Groups to enable caseworkers and managers to view trauma in a new light. Two, six-month rotations of the groups will foster learning and support for managers and caseworkers alike.

“To help people heal from trauma, you work with their resilience factors. If our workers can engage with families and think about how to connect them with community, to build their self-esteem, it begins to build their resilience factors. And our own,” Lang confirmed.

Parran reported that the investment is already seeing a return. “Some of the feedback so far from both managers and staff is how they are starting to recognize and understand how stress is impacting their bodies. Starting to normalize that as opposed to ‘what’s wrong with me’ and more of ‘this is happening to me’. People are starting to talk and have conversations. The whole group is about building our resilience. Not change the work but change your relationship with how your processing the stress in a healthier way. They’re getting excited as they see how these resilience factors, these tools, can really help them heal and be healthier as they do this work.”

The Resilience Alliance Groups are intentionally positive and interactive. Mindful of not wanting to add another task to the already long list of responsibilities, Lang and Parran are eager to create a community of support and strength. They have already created physical spaces where staff can unplug and decompress.

“It’s also about not just using the tools as a caseworker but as a person when they go home. It’s about showing up and being present as a human being and learning how to navigate life – which can be pretty scary at times,” added Parran.


The post Taking care of our own, so they can take care of others appeared first on Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

View Original Source (HCJFS.org) Here.

Family Homelessness Spikes in Summer

Homelessness Knows No Season

At times of peak demand we raise the money needed for additional temporary shelter capacity.

For two critical reasons: so that fewer people are outside during the coldest months of winter and when family homelessness spikes in the summer.

Summer is Not a Break for Homeless Families

More families become homeless in summer than any other time of year. Often families with unstable housing stay with family or friends when school is in session. Once school ends they’re often asked to leave, with no place to go.

The Summer Shelter goals are to add extra capacity – beds, hotel rooms, apartments – to keep children from having to experience the trauma of unsheltered homelessness. While in shelter, families are connected to services to assist them into stable housing.

Our thanks to Bethany House Services and the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Cincinnati for providing this vital service.

Thanks to Our Supporters

Here’s who was helped in the past thanks to our generous supporters: Summer 2017: 123 individuals, 98 children and Summer 2018: 156 individuals, 110 children. Our work is only possible through the support of our donors. Please consider a donation today.


The post Family Homelessness Spikes in Summer appeared first on Strategies to End Homelessness.

Click to visit original source at Strategies to End Homelessness (.org)

Welcome to our redesigned website

We has redesigned our website. We wanted to make the site more welcoming and easier to navigate. 

We’ve added more pictures and an easier to read typeface, we hope you like the changes. 

A recent addition to the site is the Initiatives section in the top menu bar. As part of our vision to work passionately and collaboratively toward a community free of abuse, neglect and financial need, we partner with community organizations and businesses to support our mission. 

What do you think of the new look? Click here to let us know. 


The post Welcome to our redesigned website appeared first on Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

View Original Source (HCJFS.org) Here.

June is Fatherhood Month, HCJFS is making dads a priority

June is National Fatherhood Month. 

At HCJFS, we’ve been working for a while now to honor fathers and help them do their best for their families. 

We relaunched the Fatherhood Collaborative of Hamilton County this year. The collaborative is a collection of community members and organizations.

It’s mission is, “To create and sustain community consciousness, conversation and action on the needs and aspirations of fathers and their role in the development of healthy children and families.”

On the collaborative’s web page at HCFathers.org, you can find videos of dads talking about what fatherhood means, and you can nominate Fatherhood Heroes to help us tell the story of great dads in our community. 

The post June is Fatherhood Month, HCJFS is making dads a priority appeared first on Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

View Original Source (HCJFS.org) Here.

Offices will be closed July 4 & 5

HCJFS offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, July 4 and 5, 2019, and resume regular hours on Monday, July 8. 

The post Offices will be closed July 4 & 5 appeared first on Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

View Original Source (HCJFS.org) Here.

New grants available for foster care students at Cincinnati State

This is great news for teens in foster care who are considering attending Cincinnati State – and even for students formerly in foster care.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he wants to make sure kids who are in foster care (or have been) get the same access to higher education as other teens do. The Short-Term Certificate Foster Youth Grant divides $385,000 in short-term certificate funding to help students from foster care earn credentials and certificates.

The money was given to 19 schools. Cincinnati State is the only recipient in Cincinnati.

The grants are for up to $1,000 and can be applied toward the tuition and fees of short-term certificate programs at Cincinnati State. Some fields of study are included now, but the school plans to add more.

Cincinnati State hasn’t started marketing the specific foster care part yet, but go here to learn about how to get started. Or call the Workforce Development Center at (513) 569-1643.

The post New grants available for foster care students at Cincinnati State appeared first on Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

View Original Source (HCJFS.org) Here.

Homelessness in Cincinnati

Homelessness in Cincinnati

Homelessness in Cincinnati is on the decline but there are areas of concern

Last year our local homeless services system served more than 12,000 people. Now released, our annual impact report “Home” gives an overview of homelessness in Greater Cincinnati. And the strides we are making with our supporters to end homelessness.

But, before we can talk about data, we must first define what homelessness means.

In our report, we discuss data and trends regarding people who are: sleeping in a place not meant for human habitation (such as on the streets, under a bridge, in a car), residing in an emergency shelter, or fleeing domestic violence.

From 2017 to 2018 homelessness has declined 2.2% from 7,197 people to 7,036 people

And overall, homelessness has declined by 4% since 2013. Such declines in homelessness, however modest, are positive. The data indicates there was much more happening within the homeless services system than this small decline might indicate.

Regarding people unsheltered on the streets

The issue of people experiencing homelessness sleeping unsheltered received a great deal of attention in Cincinnati in 2018. This, understandably, might give the impression that there are an increasing number of people sleeping on the streets. However, the data does not support these impressions.

From 2013-2018, Hamilton County has seen a 43% decline in the number of people sleeping on the streets.

In fact, 13.7% of Hamilton County’s homeless population spent at least part of the year sleeping unsheltered on the streets. The national average is 34%.

And 92.5% of our homeless population (who normally sleep unsheltered or in an emergency shelter) were safely in shelter for at least part of 2018. This is critical as studies show homeless adults who live and sleep outside are 3x more likely to die than those who live in an emergency shelter. And 10x more likely to die than the general population.

However, our data indicate that there are also areas of significant concern.

Including, not enough funding for homelessness prevention services. Prevention programs are a perfect example of how the resources available don’t necessarily align with what can have the greatest impact. These temporary assistance programs to prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless are the most cost-effective intervention available for reducing homelessness.

It costs $1,250 to keep someone from becoming homeless compared to $3,900 to assist them after they become homeless.

Still, much of our funding cannot be spent on prevention programs and families are unable to access needed services. Families at risk or in need of shelter call our Central Access Point (CAP) Helpline. Callers are screened for placement into an emergency shelter or into vital Shelter Diversion services.

In 2018, 544 families were provided with emergency shelter by Hamilton County’s four family shelter operators.  An additional 243 families with Shelter Diversion services.

We know that these numbers don’t tell the full story of the need among at-risk families in our community. Many at-risk families with young children.

In fact, 25% of our homeless population are school-aged children under the age of 18.

Please give “Home” a read and let us know what you think – we’d love your feedback. Learn how your generosity makes a direct impact in the lives of the people we serve, and more.

Including: Why Homelessness Knows No Season, 5 Easy Ways You Can Help. And our 2018 Financials showing 97% of all our expenses go back into the programs we offer; only 3% spent on operating costs.

Your support makes a true impact in the lives of people and families experiencing homelessness. Thank you for your commitment to ending homelessness in Greater Cincinnati and thank you for trusting us to be your partners in the fight.

The post Homelessness in Cincinnati appeared first on Strategies to End Homelessness.

Click to visit original source at Strategies to End Homelessness (.org)

Pro Seniors Launches Legal Toolkits Section

Thousands of Ohio seniors ignore their legal problems or simply give up trying to find a solution because they believe they cannot afford legal advice. Pro Seniors, a legal aid organization for seniors, has launched a Legal Toolkits section on its website at https://www.proseniors.org/toolkits/ that provides self-help information to help seniors prepare needed legal documents and answer their legal questions.

Part of a Senior Access Project, funded by a Civil Justice Program Fund Grant from The Supreme Court of Ohio, the Legal Toolkits section includes four toolkits: Advance Directives, Financial Power of Attorney, Money & Debt, and Wills & Estates.

Each toolkit has user-friendly computer interviews, which collect the data necessary to create the basic, customized legal documents most frequently needed by low-income Ohio seniors to resolve their legal problems, including Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Living Will, Statutory Financial Power of Attorney, a Basic Will, Revocation of Financial Power of Attorney, and a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) No-Contact-Letter. These high-quality legal documents comply with Ohio law.

Each toolkit also includes links to helpful articles and a Frequently Asked Questions list to help users define legal terms and quickly find answers.

The Advance Directives Legal Toolkit helps users create documents for their loved ones and healthcare providers in case they are ever incapacitated or cannot speak for themselves. Users may create the most common Advance Directives: Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Organ Donor Registration.

The Financial Power of Attorney Legal Toolkit provides information needed to create and understand the workings of a Financial Power of Attorney, including a user checklist and educational articles. It also provides comprehensive and in-depth information on issues like the creation of a Qualified Income Trust, the agent’s non-authority to waive the principal’s right to a jury trial, and the principal’s preservation-of-rights clause. Also included is a related statutory form, Agent’s Certification as to the Validity of Power of Attorney and Agent’s Authority, and a Financial Power of Attorney Revocation Form. Information on avoiding financial exploitation is also a crucial part of this toolkit.

The Money & Debt Legal Toolkit explains how to handle creditors and provides helpful resources for protecting the interests of seniors who owe money to others by explaining the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Users will be able to stop harassing phone calls and mail from debt collectors by creating an FDCPA No-Contact-Letter.

The Wills & Estate Legal Toolkit explains how to create a Simple Will and provides access to Transfer on Death Affidavit forms for real estate or a vehicle.

The Legal Toolkits provide access to information and assistance when other sources are unavailable and/or unaffordable to low-income individuals. Instead of traveling to consult with an attorney, which may be difficult for physical or financial reasons, users can now access help remotely at their own pace.

Dimity Orlet, Executive Director of Pro Seniors says, “By removing major barriers in accessing justice previously encountered by thousands of low-income seniors, the Legal Toolkits will have a long-term and far-reaching impact on seniors in Ohio.”

The Legal Toolkits join a robust Pro Seniors website that houses over 60 pamphlets on subjects such as consumer debt, elder law, estate planning and probate, long-term care, housing, Medicaid, Medicare, and public benefits. Pro Seniors’ website also helps visitors determine their Medicaid-Medicare eligibility, look up Senior Legal Hotlines across the country, and find information about avoiding foreclosure.

The post Pro Seniors Launches Legal Toolkits Section appeared first on Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

View Original Source (HCJFS.org) Here.

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