When Hamilton County taxpayers approved an expanded Children's Services levy in November, some of those extra dollars were marked for new programs. Now, Job and Family Services is rolling out the new initiatives.
These include JFS hiring additional staff so parent-child visitations can happen in more therapeutic settings; a program to help kids be more successful in school while going through a foster situation; a fatherhood initiative; and expanded in-home services.
The county is also finally able to offer financial support to kinship caregivers. These are family members who agree to take in a child, keeping them out of foster care.
"Every child that we have custody of that's placed with a family member, we'll give them a stipend of $350/month for as long as they have the child, and that would be for each child," says JFS Director Moira Weir.
Weir says children do better living with family members rather than in foster care, but unlike foster parents, those caregivers receive little to no financial support.
"Financially it's a challenge for someone," Weir says. "Sometimes, it's a grandparent in particular who has a fixed income or has just downsized and wasn't expecting to do that ... we're trying to wrap services around them."
JFS will also be able to help provide necessities such as beds, school supplies and clothing.