Hamilton County Job and Family Services won 11 National Association of Counties achievement awards for innovation — more than any other government entity in Ohio – between 2009 and 2015, including three awarded last week for programs that contribute to and enhance county government.
The association recognized more than 120 counties and organizations and deemed more than 500 programs worthy, but only six in Ohio: the three in Hamilton County, one in Summit County, one in Montgomery County and one in Franklin County.
“We constantly look for new and innovative ways to serve Hamilton County residents, so it is nice when our work is recognized,” said Moira Weir, director of JFS. “The true winners of innovative and efficient programs are the Hamilton County children and families we serve and the taxpayers who fund our programs.”
All three of the agency’s awards came in the Civics Education and Public Information category. The three programs recognized were:
Adoption Calendars: JFS identified some of the 200 children who had been waiting longer for adoptive homes and collected bold, bright photographs of each child. Two were featured each month in the calendar, with more on the front and back of the calendar. The 1,500 calendars were distributed through the mail and at recruiting events. Many went to decision makers and stakeholders, as well as foster and adoptive parents, who are often the best recruiters.
Adoption Coffee Sleeves: JFS identified some of the 200 children who had been waiting longer for adoptive homes and created coffee sleeves with their pictures. The agency decided on four different sleeves (two individual children and two sibling sets) that would feature pictures of the children, a little biographical information, the agency’s new adoption logo and the agency’s new website address. The sleeves also featured QR codes directing folks to the HCKids website. Five independent coffee shops agreed to distribute the sleeves. The agency distributed 18,000 full-color sleeves. Traffic to the agency’s new adoption website was higher in November than any month before or since: 2,432 users, 4,184 sessions and 47% new sessions.
Fraud Prevention Video: Hamilton County JFS produced a creative video designed to educate consumers about proper use of the Ohio Direction Card, which is used by food assistance recipients. The food assistance program in Hamilton County is a $223 million annual program used by one in six county residents. It is estimated 3 percent or more of the transactions with the card are fraudulent. Consumers are expected to follow certain rules in the program and with their Ohio Direction Card, which is used to purchase food. The agency decided to use the large video display systems in lobbies, where consumers frequently visit to apply for assistance, verify their eligibility, correct errors, renew assistance, etc. The one catch was that the display terminals did not have sound, so the video had to be made visually simple so the message came across even without sound. To promote morale in the agency, employees were used as actors. To date, it has been viewed by approximately 375,000 consumers visiting the agency’s lobbies and it has been pushed out via social media. Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0ayObNA5HQ