2014 was a good year for JFS, filled with highlights around Medicaid expansion and our OhioMeansJobs center’s outstanding work. But something that happened late in the year has me really excited about 2015.
We have a new partnership with Radio One in Cincinnati, which operates the Buzz (WDBZ) radio station. The station is airing profiles of our children available for adoption. The segments are entitled Thursday’s Child.
Every week, one of our waiting kids will be featured, both on air and online. Jeri Tolliver, host of the popular radio show “Sister Speak,” will interview the kids and bring to her listeners the stories behind the faces you see on HCkids.org. The station will promote the segments via social media and on-air promotions.
You can watch the first video here.
I am excited about this because it brings awareness to great children who need someone to take that final step with them. We are fresh off our annual mass adoption ceremony, where 10 children officially joined six permanent families, and anyone who watched can attest to the incredibly powerful experience of adoption. I want that for all of the children permanently in our care.
This year-long partnership with the Buzz promises to bring new people to www.hckids.org, our website where you can find profiles and videos of children available for adoption. Generating positive momentum around adoption will be a nice way to cap off what, to this point, has been a pretty good year.
It came in with a rush of Medicaid applications as the federal government expanded the program under the Affordable Health Care Act. We handled more than 20,000 new applications in expansion’s first few months, and the state lauded Hamilton County for its superior work, even mentioning the good work in a Cincinnati Enquirer story. The state followed up by visiting the agency in May to find out the county’s “secret.”
The agency was successful because it paid thorough attention to what was happening at the state and federal level throughout the process of Medicaid expansion, identified a project lead and key staff who learned the new computer system quickly, used data to drive on the project’s success, and focused on processing applications in a timely manner.
In other words: good old fashioned planning and hard work.
Some other highlights of the year included fraud prevention efforts that saved the county more than $50,000 a month, a summer youth employment program that enrolled more than 800, hitting high marks in child support collection and winning two National Association of County achievement awards for innovative service.
We had a good year in 2014. I am looking forward to Thursday’s Child and many other agency initiatives leading to an even better 2015.