Monday, September 22, 2003

Family & Children First: Vision

On its 10th anniversary, the Hamilton County Family & Children First Council is a testament to bold vision and tenacity. It started in 1993 as an effort to transform Hamilton County's very fractured social services system to better help local children and families. In 10 years, it has come a long way.

Ohio First Lady Hope Taft said that Hamilton County's success has boosted the establishment of Family First Councils in every county in the state. She spoke recently at the council's anniversary event. The Phoenix ballroom was filled with local people whose daily job is devoted one way or another to helping children or their families through social services, healthcare and education.

The Family & Children First Council started with a $75,000 state grant, an advisory board and a skilled and remarkably tenacious director, Patty Ebert. Today, the Council is comprised of some 65 agencies, public and private, and a combined 2003 budget of $7.5 million.

Since it started, the Council has brought in an extra $17 million in grants and state dollars for services in Hamilton County.

With the cooperation of people working in social services countywide, the council developed a number of services for the most pressing needs. Among them are health care to low-income, high-risk teens and children; a Family LinkLine, for children and families in crisis, directly linking them to agencies and counselors.

The council also trains professionals how to better use the countywide system for the benefit of children, and trains parents on how to deal with the professionals. Visit the Web site (www.hamilton-co.org/hcfcfc) or call (513) 946-4990.

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Family & Children First: Vision
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