BATAVIA, Ohio (Nov. 19, 2014) — Meet the team in Children’s Protective Services’ Permanency Planning Unit.
This dedicated staff, led by Supervisor Julie Jordan, help to find “forever families” for Clermont County’s foster care children who become eligible for adoption. Among them, they have more than 100 years of experience in working with these vulnerable children, noted Julie. The children they are responsible for range from birth to 18 years of age; about 75 are under their care at any one time.
Bobbi Grooms, Cheryl Humphrey, Jaime Vianello, Darlene Young and Sharon Wiesenhahn work directly on adoption cases, while Byron Combs and Carmen Hogel work with older youth who are aging out of the system, and Lori Bowling helps families with subsidies that help with children’s medical issues.
November is a special month for this group – it is National Adoption Awareness Month – and it is also when Julie’s “awesome team” celebrates adoptions finalized in 2014. At a special ceremony Nov. 20, 28 families who adopted 47 children in 2014 will be celebrated!
“I was fortunate to start out in this unit,” said Young, who has worked there for 9 years. “I was excited because I really wanted to work with children.”
“I saw an ad in the newspaper,” said Grooms, a 12-year veteran. “I said ‘that’s the job for me.’” Bobbi is an adoptive and foster care mom herself, and recently adopted an 18-year-old from Brown County.
Children come into CPS due to parental neglect or abuse, often linked to substance abuse or mental health issues. Efforts are made to reunite the family, but once parental rights are terminated, which typically takes up to two years, children then become eligible for adoption.
CPS tries to find foster care families who might also be willing to adopt – that makes the transition for children easier, said Julie and her team. “A large majority of our youth are in homes that want to provide a permanent family,” she said.
Once a child is placed with a family a caseworker will continue to visit once a month until the adoption become final. “Once you’ve found the right family, seeing that child flourish is so rewarding,” said Vianello, who has been with the unit for 14 years.
What would help these children? Consider becoming a mentor to one of these them, and spending a couple of hours a month with them (contact Julie Jordan at 513-732-7173). Consider sponsoring a child or a group of siblings in the Community Toy Chest, or donating items and toys to the Toy Chest throughout the year (email Sanna Gast at firstname.lastname@example.org).
And the biggest of all: Consider becoming a foster care and/or adoptive family, and sharing your many blessings with children in our county who no longer have a biological family that they can depend on. CPS needs more families who live in close by. In some cases, kids are placed with foster families who live several hours away, which puts a burden on both the children and their caseworker. If you are interested, call 513-732-7765; go towww.clermontforkids.org for more information.
(Photo above: Staff members include, from left, Lori Bowling, Darlene Young, Bobbi Grooms, Julie Jordan, Jaime Vianell, and Byron Combs.)