May 14, 2019
The Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services (FCDJFS) received two achievement awards this week for its programs, marking the second year in a row the county has captured multiple national awards for its services.
National Association of Counties (NACo) issues these Achievement Awards to honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.
The two FCDJFS programs awarded are its Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) outreach and training campaign, submitted in the category of children and youth, and the agency’s Prevention, Retention, and Contingency (PRC) initiative at the eviction court, which was recognized in the human services category.
The programs are vital to the county because about one in four in Franklin County residents accept assistance of some kind (food, cash, Medicaid or Publicly-Funded Child Care - PFCC).
“I was thrilled that the agency has received back-to-back recognition,” said Director Joy Bivens. “This makes four of our programs that have been recognized in two years for their innovative ability to help reduce poverty. I am grateful to the Franklin County Commissioners for their leadership and support of this work. I’m glad this work is being recognized nationally, but more importantly, I’m thrilled for the difference these programs are making in people’s lives.”
FCDJFS has led the state in many areas for its efforts to help childcare providers who care for children who receive PFCC meet these state mandates.
There are 750 such providers in Franklin County, but only 28% of center-based providers and 33% of home providers are currently star rated. FCDJFS created a campaign to raise awareness. It also became the first agency in the state to free provide training that helps childcare providers meet the state’s deadline of July 2020.
The SUTQ requirements are becoming a workforce issue, as well as a childcare issue. That is because if those requirements were in place today, dozens – if not hundreds – of childcare providers would have to close their doors or lay off staff, and more than 20,000 children could be without childcare.
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The second program to be awarded, PRC, is an emergency assistance grant geared to reducing Franklin County’s rate of nearly 18,000 evictions a year. FCDJFS made changes to its PRC to help families stay in their home. Changes included: the agency placing a case manager at court who can provide assistance before a family is evicted; reducing wait time for assistance to 5 days down from 30; and increasing the maximum amount of assistance a family can receive each year from $1,000 to $1,500.
Learn more at https://jfs.franklincountyohio.gov/emergency-assistance-(prc)
“Counties implement innovative programs that enhance residents’ quality of life every day. This year’s Achievement Award-winning programs demonstrate how counties build healthy, safe and vibrant communities across America,” NACo President Greg Cox said.
FCDJFS will be given the awards at the NACo Achievement Awards Luncheon on July 14
as part of NACo’s Annual Conference. This is the second year in a row that FCDJFS has had a pair of initiatives recognized; in 2018 the I Am My Brother’s Keeper program and the Building Futures pilot both received Achievement Awards.
Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program was designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.