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October 2010  Volume 1 Issue 9

Thank you for being a subscriber of Insights. In this October issue of our newsletter, you can find out more about our Independent Living program, why Issue 1 is so important for our agency, and more!

We encourage you to forward this newsletter to your friends and family who may be interested in the work that Athens County Children Services does each day to support families and keep children safe.

Thank you!
Sherri Oliver
Insights Editor and Public Relations & Community Events Coordinator
Preparing youth to live independently

What does it mean to "emancipate"? When a youth has been in ACCS custody and reaches 18 years of age or graduates high school (whichever comes first), this young person is legally seen as an adult. At this time, the youth leave ACCS custody and the foster care system to live a life on their own.

Because this process can be a very difficult one with many decisions to be made, Athens County Children Services offers specialized services to these youth through the Independent Living program. This program works with youth who are age 16-21 and will or have emancipated from foster care.

The ACCS Independent Living program aims to prepare youth who are emancipating to be successful when living on their own. Youth aged 16-18 work with the Independent Living Caseworkers one-on-one as well as attend ACCS Independent Living classes. These classes take place every two weeks and focus on everyday living skills and community resources that are available. Independent Living (IL) Youth learn everything from balancing a checkbook and what to do in an emergency to the importance of keeping your house clean!

Living on our own is a big responsibility, and requires a lot of support from those around us. Youth who have emancipated can continue to work with their IL Caseworker on a voluntary basis. They can receive assistance with everything from educational training to financial help with housing. ACCS partners with people important to the youth and other agencies to provide a network of support for the youth.

Youth have to option to participate in local and state Youth Advisory Boards (YABs), whose goal is to allow youth the opportunity to give feedback to lawmakers and stakeholders to make transitioning from foster care an easier process. The YAB has the motto: "Nothing about us without us." Youth attend quarterly meetings in Columbus and are currently working to re-establish the local YAB, Athens County Together In Overcoming Negatives or ACTION.

It is the hope of the ACCS Independent Living Program to help youth to gain the skills that will allow them to make healthy and wise decisions for their future. Questions or comments about Independent Living? Please contact IL Caseworker Tracy Whitmore at 592-3061.

Tracy Whitmore
Independent Living Caseworker
Athens County Children Services

Show your support for Issue 1

Election Day is less than a month away, and early voting has already started. We have been working diligently to inform all county voters about the importance of ISSUE 1, which is the ACCS 2-mill renewal levy.

I am asking for your help in talking with friends and family about how critical the passage of ISSUE 1 is to our agency.

Athens County Children Services is part of the community safety net for families. Issues facing families are more difficult than ever with increasing poverty, addiction issues related to opiates and heroin, homelessness, and domestic violence. Our levy funds allow this agency to do the following:

- Ensure that our caseworkers have manageable child protection caseloads

- Purchase drug screening tools to identify parents who are abusing drugs

- Develop and maintain a kinship caseworker position to support relatives caring for children because parents are unable to do so

ACCS believes that supporting children and families is a powerful method to prevent child abuse. Therefore, ACCS has used levy funds to place school social workers in two school districts, Trimble and Federal Hocking. With partial funding from a federal grant, a school social worker has just been added to The Plains and Chauncey Elementary.

What else have levy funds gone towards? In the past year, we have used levy funds to contract with the Nelsonville Community Center to provide evidence-based prevention programs to the Nelsonville community.

Additionally, we have entered into contracts with the Athens County Sheriff's Office and the Athens County Prosecutor's Office to increase our ability to enhance our legal representation and investigate serious physical and sexual abuse allegations against children.

The 2-mill renewal levy generates about $1.2 million annually, which makes up 20% of our annual budget. The renewal levy is not a tax increase, but rather a continuation of what voters approved in 2000. In the past two years, state funding for our agency has dropped by over 25%, with future cuts of an additional 10% predicted. The 2-mill levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $60 a year, or $5 a month.

Please, help us to renew this levy. Here's how you can help:


Write a letter to the editor of The Athens Messenger, The Athens News, or the Ohio University Post, expressing your support for ISSUE 1.

Add your name to the growing list of supporters that will be listed in the newspaper as being in support of ISSUE 1. Please contact me by e-mail or by phone NO LATER THAN OCTOBER 22 if you would like your name to be added to the signature list.

Visit our Facebook page at and don't forget to "like" it!

Please contact me at or at (740) 592-3061 if you would like to help.


Andrea Reik
Executive Director
Athens County Children Services
Foster Parents in Support of Issue 1

Dear Editor,

I would like to address your readers regarding Issue 1 which will be on the voters ballot on November 2nd.

Although my husband and I are not from Athens, we chose years ago to foster children through your county. When we first chose to foster, we inquired with our own county and those surrounding. Athens County Children Services (ACCS) was the ONLY county who responded in a timely manner and seemed genuinely interested in our services. It was only after we became licensed with ACCS that other counties finally decided to respond back to us about becoming a FP (foster parent). By then we had already received our first placement and knew we had made the right decision to go with ACCS.

No, Issue 1 will not directly affect us because we aren't residents of Athens. However, it will affect the children in our home - children of Athens County.

Vote Yes, Issue 1!As we all know, state funding has been cut dramatically in recent years; 27% just in this past year alone. Because of the two current local levies, ACCS has been able to operate without jeopardizing their families or programs - and will continue to do so with your support.  

In the years that we've been with ACCS, I have never seen a stronger TEAM that work so hard to strengthen their families and provide them the services they need to ensure a healthy reunification. Because of the levies, families are able to get a hand 'up'.

Ultimately, these children are YOUR future. These levies have given them and their families an opportunity to become STRONGER and more productive members of the community. I could only hope that if we ever found ourselves in a situation where children services had to intervene, that we'd have the strong team working with us like that of ACCS. Sadly, that won't be the case because other counties don't have the resources i.e. the tax levies as that of Athens County.

With the recent disasters in Athens County, it's almost a given that a family out there will find the stress too much - succumbing to depression, domestic violence, abusing alcohol and drugs to self-medicate, abuse and neglect of their children. NOW, MORE THAN EVER, THESE FAMILIES (CHILDREN ESPECIALLY) NEED YOU!!

Issue 1 is NOT an increase. It is a renewal of the 2 mill levy that was passed in 2000 which expires this year. Please vote yes for Issue 1 on November 2nd;  the children of Athens County are counting on you!


Mr. and Mrs. Remy, Athens County Foster Parents
McArthur, Ohio

(note: edited for length)

Don't get tricked!
Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is drawing near and kids are getting excited to trick-or-treat. Here are some tips for children and parents to ensure a safe and fun trick-or-treat experience:

  • Never, ever go into a stranger's house, or get into a stranger's car.
  • Be careful crossing streets.
  • If you are out with friends, make sure your parents know where you are heading. 
  • Make sure that your child's costume has reflective tape placed on it in a visible place.
  • Know the route your children are planning to take. 
  • Make sure you set check in times to verify your child's evening events. 
  • Explain common safety tips to your children about strangers and crossing streets.
  • Explain to your children the difference between vandalism and "tricks".
If you follow these tips you should have a safe and fun Halloween!

Upcoming Events

Saturday, October 9
Jerseyville Festival @ The Shade Community Center

Saturday, October 16

OU Homecoming Parade (be on the lookout for our "Hungry Hungry Hippos" themed float!)

Saturday, October 23
WXTQ Chili Cook Off

Sunday, October 24
Dairy Barn Pumpkin Fall Festival

Tuesday, November 2
Election Day!
Contact Information
Sherri Oliver
Editor/Public Relations and Community Events Coordinator
Athens County Children Services
Please send any feedback, questions, or comments to Sherri Oliver at
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Our Mission

Protecting Children
Strengthening Families
Securing Futures
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Contact Us

If you suspect child abuse or neglect, please call:

(M-F, 8:00am - 4:30pm)
(After-hours, weekends, holidays)
If you would like more information on foster care and adoption, please call:
(M-F, 8:00am - 4:30pm)
Children Waiting

Josh is an inquisitive young man that enjoys activities that require him to think, such as playing chess or reading science fiction novels. He also enjoys drawing, writing, and cooking. Josh is very likeable and can be very sweet and respectful. He has a strong desire to achieve positive goals for himself and has a lot of insight into what he will need to be successful.

Although Josh has an IEP at school, don't be fooled! He is an incredibly intelligent young man who is beginning to work through a very painful past. Josh takes medication to help him manage his emotions and behaviors and will tell you himself that he likes to be in a structured environment with clear expectations and boundaries. He currently attends counseling and will need to continue in an adoptive placement. Josh has a positive and healthy relationship with his paternal grandparents who adopted his father. His grandparents are very supportive of Josh having an adoptive family and want to see him have a good life.

Josh is a pleasant, sociable teen that would love to be part of a forever family. He desires a family that is loving, consistent, understanding, straightforward, and has a good sense of humor. Josh prefers a family with a mom. Josh is in the permanent custody of Athens County Children Services and is legally available for adoption. Subsidies are available.

Josh was featured in an episode of "Carrie's Kids" on WSAZ. To see the story and the accompanying video, please follow this link:

Staff Notes
Angela Myers moved from School Social Worker back to Help Me Grow. Angela has been with the agency for over 4 years, spending the majority of her time with HMG.

Laci Carsey accepted a position as School Social Worker in the Federal Hocking District serving Coolville and Amesville Elementary schools. Laci was an intern with the agency until June of this year.

Shannon Healey accepted a temporary position as a Family Support Worker helping with visitation. Shannon worked with ACCS formerly as an Americorps worker.  We are happy to welcome her as a temporary employee.