Success Stories 

After a tragedy, family makes a difference

Cuyahoga County

Copy of Kinnect to Family Email Signature (6)

Teamwork makes the dream work

Fairfield County

Rachel frame

Dad becomes her greatest champion

Franklin County

Sarah L Frame

Friends help family get back on their feet

Allen County

Monica

Nicole is a Kinnect to Family Specialist in Cuyahoga County. She has been with her agency for 22 years and has been a Kinnect to Family Specialist since 2018. She shared the story of a family she served where two brothers, Caleb and Levi*, came into the care of the agency on an emergency basis. Their parents both died in a tragedy, and the police brought them to the hospital. Other family members were also there. Right away, everyone wanted the same thing: to get the children with family that night. It was a team effort. While the assigned caseworker was at the hospital, Nicole and her fellow Specialist, Kelly, set out to find a kinship caregiver. They checked the backgrounds of the aunts and uncles at the hospital. Unfortunately, none of them were able to care for the boys that night. The team began to dig deeper. One of the relatives mentioned a cousin who may be willing to support the boys. Nicole and her partner conducted background checks and completed paperwork, while the caseworker remained with the boys. When Caleb and Levi arrived at their cousin’s house that evening, she had a comfortable place ready for them to sleep. She created a calm environment for them to heal and thrive. Caleb and Levi now live with their cousin and her children, one of whom is their age, and the other one an older teen who serves as a role model. They live across the street from their new school. For two boys brought to the hospital by the police after a family tragedy, this team effort paid off. They were able to remain with their family, connected to their community and culture.

Rachel is a Kinnect to Family Specialist in Fairfield County. She is new to this role but has extensive children services experience. Rachel shared the story of three young children who came into foster care. The infant, Ella*, was in good health. Her brothers Carter and Liam were behind in their developmental milestones. Rachel reached out to many biological family members in a short amount of time. Finally, she contacted their great-grandmother, Mary, who wanted to be a caregiver, but she and her partner had some health limitations. Their house was not childproof. And, they needed beds, clothing, car seats, and activities for the children. Rachel began searching for supports. She located an aunt, a great-grandfather, and the sister of Mary’s partner. Together they came up with a plan to provide daily support and take them some weekends. Rachel got beds and car seats. OhioKAN provided a baby pool. The aunt takes Ella, Carter, and Liam swimming. In addition, their parents are able to visit, maintaining their bond. As a Kinnect to Family Specialist, Rachel has more time to dedicate directly to supporting families through family search and engagement. She spent about 20 hours working directly with this family, including a call for help when one of the children emptied the refrigerator onto the floor. She was able to provide support and put plans in place moving forward. With Rachel’s support and guidance, the family was able to come together and create their own solution. Now, these children are living with family and maintaining a relationship with their parents.

Sarah is a Kinnect to Family Specialist with Franklin County Children Services. She has been with the agency for five years, starting out in intake. Through the creativity of her children services caseworker in high school, she spent time with a kinship caregiver. So, a job that involved going above and beyond to find creative care arrangements for kids really pulled at her heartstrings.

Sarah shared the story of an 8-year-old girl, Olivia, who moved to Franklin County with her mother and grandmother from another area of the state. She did not know anyone in the area. A couple of months after moving, she ended up entering foster care. Sarah set out to locate a caregiver within her family network, pursuing both sides of the family. Olivia had never met her father. Sarah set out to find him, searching hard because he had a common name. It took her a week and a half of searching, but she found him. He asked a lot of questions, but he did not hesitate: he wanted to be involved with Olivia.  He especially wanted her to have a relationship with her younger half-brother. Olivia now lives with her father back in her home community, along with her half-brother as well as her step-mother and a step-sibling. She attends school with her siblings. She has a relationship with her paternal grandparents, who help with childcare. Her father has become her biggest advocate, calling agencies daily until he was able to arrange services to help her heal from her past trauma. For Olivia, being with family has made all the difference.

Monica is a Kinnect to Family Specialist in Allen County. She has been in this role for a year and has ten years of experience with the agency. She shared the story of two young children, William and Emma* who came into foster care. They were not adjusting well due to the trauma they experienced. Monica searched diligently for biological relatives. Kinnect to Family Specialists have the time to cast a wide net searching for kin and engaging them. At first, a relative out of state seemed to be a good caregiver option. The Kinnect to Family Specialist always develops a backup caregiver. In this case, William and Emma’s father Jim gave Monica the name of a friend, Sean, who had always been supportive of him. Sean and his wife Amy were the backup caregivers. When the first caregiver option fell through, the children came to live with Sean and Amy, along with Jim. The couple has supported the whole family, helping Jim get back on his feet and taking William and Emma to a series of medical appointments. Having everyone together allowed William and Emma to remain bonded with their father. Recently, Jim was able to move into his own housing, and William and Emma are now doing overnight visits with him. Kinnect to Family Specialist partner with their agency staff to serve families, and it really paid off for these children and their dad.