Saturday, May 30, 2009

Too Busy To Post?

I realize a gap of time has elapsed since posting; and this is not to say a LOT goes on around the Parkersburg site of CHS these days; its just a reflection of my own busy-ness I suppose. Last night we had a movie night for the neighborhood teens, and sponsored by the Runaway and Homeless Youth Basic Center program staff. I am eager to hear how it went; this is ONE thing I haven't tended to drop in on myself; leaving that in the able hands of Jim and Lisa! (Besides I'm not much of a teen movie fan!)
Earlier in the week we hosted another month's meeting of the vet's support group, where they viewed a documentary about the stories of three traumatic brain injury victims. This group continues to appreciate the use of our space, and we are glad to be "connected" to this critical opportunity in the community.
Tonight is the Third event in this year's Americana Music Tribute Series, our Bob Dylan Tribute at 6 Pence Pub on 7th St. in Parkersburg starting at 9 pm for a $5 donation. Local musicians play sets of music by Bob Dylan; the enthusiasm of the musicians is very exciting and rewarding for me; doing a fund raiser, while offering the opportunity for these musicians to perform, and engaging in the community in our work with area children and families all at once!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Right From the Start Lead Agency reception at the Embassy Suites in Charleston

Last night, CHS along with the other regional lead agencies in the Right from the Start program, hosted a reception after the first day's sessions at a statewide designated care coordinators two day conference in Charleston. This provided the opportunity for the "DCC's" to unwind after a long day of meeting. They are an active group, used to getting out and doing home visits and such, and many expressed the challenge of sitting in a room in meetings all day!! Dennis and I were glad to spend a little time with this important group of dedicated workers, helping young families get off to a good start!!

Family Night at the Mid Town Family Resource Center

Last night's family night had a chicken and noodles feast, and as a program, a preparation for transitioning to middle school for parents and students. Two teachers and our very own truancy diversion worker at Vandevender, came to talk to the parents and students. This critical transition is often cited as a specific stressor for families, as children undergo this big change, while also being in a critical developmental stage. Parents often feel this is when they begin to "lose" their adolescents or pre-adolescents. We feel having sessions like this, as well as supporting individual parents at this time is an important part of our Mid Town FRC work, and our child abuse and neglect prevention, and our delinquency prevention efforts.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kids Count- Business on Board

After Kids Counts successful campaign to raise awareness about quality child care in the state, with the legislature passing legislation to create a quality rating system for child care, this year, Kids Count is shifting their public awareness campaign to the business community. They are seeking lead partners around the state to conduct a similar campaign to last year, focusing on business conducts, called: Business on Board. Stay tuned for information about this campaign, and our possible local role in the efforts.

CHS Founders Day coming up!

Saturday June 13th from noon to 3:30 pm, the Children's Home Society of WV is having its annual Founders Day celebration. This year it is at Heritage Farm and Museum in Huntington WV. The Board of Directors invites ALL the CHS family to this event. Join us as we enjoy our Appalachian culture by visiting the Museums, wagon rides, petting zoo, and lots of food, games and fun! To learn more about Heritage Farm please visit: Locally, you can ask Steve Tuck for more information!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nice chance to get to know foster parents and foster youth

I previously mentioned the ill-fated Walk (for National Foster Care Month), but as the pictures above indicate, we had a great opportunity to get to know some of our foster parents and a youth in their care on Saturday. We had a very enjoyable chance to casually chat about middle school sports, summer plans, work around the house, and similar topics. These are such valuable experiences, not only in creating a stronger sense of "family" but in gaining an even deeper appreciation for the many great people associated with our agency.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pictures from Parkersburg site National Foster Care month (rained out!) walk

National Foster Care Month event (rain out!!!)

Yesterday afternoon, we (tried) to hold our local event commemorating National Foster Care Month. We were combining an event with one of our quarterly information sessions for the community to learn about foster parenting and adoption. Carna had met with a couple in the morning, but by just before 2 pm, when our event was to start, we had a "gully washer" rain that kept all but the heartiest away. A few pictures were taken to show the conditions we faced!!!
We feel connected to events going on around the state, including a statewide walk next Saturday in Charleston - "Walk Me Home." Visit various websites to find out about National Foster Care Month. Locally, we are proud of the foster care development we have done over the last 2 years. We have a dedicated group of foster parents, who are daily doing great work with the kids in our care. Carna Metheney-White has provided incredible leadership in all areas of foster care development for our site- recruitment, information sharing, screening, training, home studying, support of foster parents, referral and admission of children in care, support and linkage work while children are in our care, record keeping and documentation, record reviews and quality assurance. WOW (that's exhausting!)
We take the agency's mission and strategic vision seriously at the site, especially as regards our values of seeking permanency for children, and lifetime families and life long commitments. Foster care is a challenging service to delivery, taking commitments of all kinds from many dedicated people. We are always, on the one hand, appreciative of the people involved in our foster care program, but always seeking additional people to be involved. This National Foster Care month provides a focused opportunity to bring public awareness to the forefront.
Despite the downpour Saturday afternoon, we re-kindled a small group of our foster care "team's" commitment to the kids and the program.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Next Tuesday is monthly family night at the Mid Town FRC

This coming Tuesday we will have the monthly meal and family night at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. The program focus will be a session for parents of children transitioning to middle school next year. Two teachers from Vandevender Middle School will be present. This is an area where parents helping each other really comes through in the MTFRC (from past experience!) so we hope it will help some families with this particular key stressor in their children's "rites of passage."
The meal starts at 6 pm, and you can always count on a creative meal, and good fellowship!

Parenting Session last night

Lisa and Jim put on a good parenting session last night here at the Mid Town Family Resource Center. Randy Simmons and Beverly Shelton, from Wood County schools led the session. 3 community parents, and two foster parents from CHS attended, as well as one teen, and three of our staff. So it made for a good discussion group and good "kick off" to some parenting of teens support, originating out of Jim and Lisa's ideas that support parents can assist with alleviating the stressors that might led to youth homelessness. The participants seemed to appreciate the session, and the opportunity to hear that others are going through similar challenges with the teens in their life. Communication was the focus of this session. Great job getting this off the ground, Lisa and Jim!!! We'll be eager to hear about next steps and follow up!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Next Tuesday; Designated Care Coordinators training sessions and meetings

Next Tuesday and Wednesday, a number of our Right from the Start designated care coordinators will be participating in workshops and meetings down in Charleston at the Embassy Suites with other "DCC's" from around the state. On Tuesday evening, Children's Home Society along with other "RFTS Lead Agencies" will be hosting a reception for the DCC's at the Embassy Suite. We are pleased to offer this opportunity to recognize the DCC's and listen to their input for our RFTS Lead Agency provider network, as we advocate for improvements in the early childhood delivery system.

National Foster Care Month event Saturday

Several of us are working right up to Saturday on getting ready our event celebrating National Foster Care on May 16th at 2 pm here at our offices on St. Mary's Ave. in Parkersburg. We are combining a quarterly information session on foster care and adoption, with a symbolic walk. We will have some light refreshments. We hope some of our current foster parents will join us, and a few staff will participate. We are simply trying to raise awareness about foster care, and the needs of foster children in the community, and the value and appreciation we have for foster parents. We will be following this event up with a full fledge foster parent appreciation picnic on June 9th.

Lisa attends Partners in Prevention statewide session

Lisa Weaver, the Mid Town Family Resource Center program coordinator attended the annual statewide Partners in Prevention meetings the past two days at Pipestem State Park in southern WV. Lisa really gets a lot out of these sessions, with not only the state leadership, but other county-level projects. The support of Prevent Child Abuse WV has been instrumental in building up the Mid Town Family Resource Center. I am eager to hear a report from Lisa about the sessions. Today was just too busy of a day, with her getting back into the busy daily routine!!!

Parenting Session tonight for parents of teens!

The Mid Town Family Resource Center, spearheaded by Lisa Doyle-Parsons, one of our workers in the Runaway and Homeless Youth program, has arranged for a parenting session tonight at 6 pm here at our storefront, for parents of teens. The presenter is from the Wood Co. Schools Parent Educator Resource Center. We are excited to continue to offer these opportunities to strengthen families as part of our overall mission.

Runaway and Homeless Youth staff visit "partner organization" in Wheeling

Ken and Jim visited our partner organization, Youth Services System, Inc. in Wheeling earlier this week. They were having a monitoring visit from the federal grantors for their Basic Center program and Transitional Living program, and, since we are a sub-grantee for that program, we were involved. Jim and Ken toured Samaritan House (their shelter which is all-boys) and the main facility. They informally met with Annette, the federal project link. They felt this was a valuable experience in helping further our Runaway and Homeless Youth programming.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Alliance Annual conference and training

About 12-15 CHS staff recently attended the 10th annual Alliance for Children conference in Morgantown. I've been fortunate to attend every one of the conferences; and that is a dwindling number who can say that!! It is always good for your perspective about what a strong network we have, and some of the pressing issues for children's services and children's advocacy in the state. The workshops were very diverse, and contributed to a greater understanding of some of the "connections" between our core child welfare focus and services, and many other issues impacting children and families, such as domestic violence, drug endangered children, and the like. This is a solid alliance, and CHS is proud to be a part of it, and provides a lot of leadership to the efforts.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Field trip to Wheeling and Youth Services System, Inc.

Shelley, Ken and I went to visit Youth Services System, Inc. in Wheeling today. We were going to sit in on a conference call in preparation for the Runaway and Homeless Youth monitoring visit next week for YSS's grants. While there, we toured the detention center, the Samaritan House and the new building (The Hazel Atlas Building) that will house the agency's administrative and community services offices. This was a great opportunity to see many aspects of one of our close partners in youth services in the region. Ken will be going back up next week when the monitoring visit is held, to be able to represent our sub-grant transitional living program, and our host home model. The new administrative building for YSS is huge and full of great potential for that organization, and we are hoping to negotiate an office for a "satellite" foster care and adoption office for CHS for the northern panhandle there.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Join Hands Day

A lively group of Saturday morning warriors gathered to do a community service project as part of the national Join Hands Day, where across the country, teams of youth and adults worked on a community service project together. We chose to do a little clean-up/ straighten up at our 1611 Latrobe St. property. A group fixed the broken door on the storage building out back, some side yard trimming and bush clean up went on. We moved a freezer over to the community office and cleaned it up from 5 years of neglect. We brought over a bunch of boxes of craft supplies to the Mid Town Family Resource Center, and took down some blinds and shelves. We carted off some trash. This was a cheery little work crew, who built some good group-ness, and finished up with some pizza. The VISTA's, including April from Greenbriar County, were involved in this as part of some on going awareness raising of the various national days of community service (since we got snowed out of our Martin Luther King day event. Marina, our BSW intern, and her husband, and another student from WV State University pitched in and some Youth Advantage youth and their fearless leader, Travis also pitched in. Staff from our own Runaway and Homeless Youth programs also gamely helped out with the organizing and the work. We hope this gives a little momentum to the work of renovating Latrobe St. for our independent living efforts.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Welcome to two new staff for the after school program of the Mid Town Family Resource Center

Today we welcome two new staff to the after school program, of the Mid Town Family Resource Center. Ashley Way and Jill Mannix are just starting with the program today. We said good by to Andra yesterday, after working her all the school year, she is getting ready to have a baby. The kids help make a quilt for her, and she seemed genuinely touched. Bryanna Browning will be leaving us on May 4 after several stints with us through Youth Advantage program. Bryanna was one of the major catalysts for the young dads group which we began last month.