Filling the gaps, providing support

A cap and gown for graduation, one of many things the FAMILY Fund can provide.
A cap and gown for graduation, one of many things the FAMILY Fund can provide.

Hamilton County Job and Family Services now has a way to help foster children make college visits, provide toiletries or toys to abused children and aid low-income families with needs beyond job assistance, food and medical care.

Hamilton County’s Board of County Commissioners approved the FAMILY (Friends and Advocates Making Investments in Local Youth) Fund to help the agency cover expenses that go beyond what the agency is allowed to fund or for which it has very limited funds.

What It Covers

For example, the agency might not have funds to cover a foster child’s expenses to participate in an after-school sport, wear a cap and gown to graduation or take a trip to visit a college. If that child graduates and finds a good job, that agency cannot help pay for a car, repairs or insurance to see that he or she makes it to that job.

Now, the FAMILY Fund gives local residents a way to make tax-free donations to assist in paying for these types of expenses.

A working car is essential for a child preparing for independence who is working or going to college.
A working car is essential for a child preparing for independence who is working or going to college.

“I think everyone would agree these types of expenses are important and integral to any child having a normal experience in life,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel. “These children come from tough situations; we want to make their lives easier, not harder. We have found a way to help without adding to the taxpayer burden.”

JFS has traditionally declined monetary donations because it is a government agency, but has informally accepted other types of donations, such as toys at the holidays or gift cards for foster children who graduate. The FAMILY Fund now allows the agency to accept cash donations.

Similar capabilities exist in other counties.For example, Montgomery County has FLOC (For the Love of Children) and Franklin County has a Citizens Advisory Committee’s Children’s Fund.

College visits help foster children choose their future.
College visits help foster children choose their future.

A board of community members will oversee the fund, following bylaws that have been established to comply with state law.

“JFS frequently receives inquiries from members of the public as to how they might help some of the families and children served by our agency,” said Moira Weir, director of JFS. “Whether it be a family in need during the holidays or a foster child attempting to make the transition to adulthood, there are many good people who would like the option of making donations. We are excited they now have that option. It will open up new doors for our children.”

To make a donation today, click the button below or send to FAMILY Fund, c/o Brian Gregg, 222 E. Central Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.