Athens County Children Services

July 2012  |  Volume 3  |  Issue 4        


 Report Child Abuse    |   Children Waiting   |   Events   |   Services   |   Foster & Adoption

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In This Issue
Children Waiting: Austin
Foster Care Walk
Foster Parent Banquet
Thank you, Andrea!
Changes for Help Me Grow
Upcoming Events
Children Waiting


 Austin, Age 13



Austin is an active yet sensitive boy who loves to ride his bike, do art projects and sing music at church. He has been able to take care of animals at his current placement, helping with their food and care. Austin can be creative and imaginative in his storytelling and ability to make scenes out of Legos. He enjoys one-on-one attention with his caregiver whether cleaning, yard work or playing a game. 


Austin has made a lot of progress during his time in foster care, but needs a family who can continue to provide him with much needed support and structure. Austin is able to show respect to his team members and reports that his proudest moments are when he "earns trust" or "is getting more mature". Austin would benefit from a two-parent family that has ready access to a wide variety of services and resources as he works through issues related to his past. He will also need an experienced family that is willing to learn new and creative parenting techniques, to ensure Austin continues to make progress. Austin's forever family would also need a strong support system (including respite) to assist them as they support Austin.

Austin is in the 7th grade and would need parents who can advocate for his educational needs through a specialized school setting. Austin would need to continue with occupational therapy services, counseling and medication. He would also like to maintain contact with his brother and grandparents.


Could you be the family that helps Austin heal? Austin is in the permanent custody of Athens County Children Services and is legally available for adoption. Subsidies are available. 


For more information on Austin, please visit the Children Waiting section of our website!

Foster Care Awareness Walk



Our annual Walk for Foster Care Awareness took place on Friday, May 18. As it has in years past, the walk began in front of the Athens County Courthouse. After a brief statement from walk organizers, the group made its way up Court Street, across Carpenter, and up east State Street, ending on the front lawn of Athens County Children Services. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Community Education


Athens County Children Services would love to come speak with your community group about how to recognize and prevent child abuse. For more information, please call (740) 592-3061 and ask to speak with Laura Bobo.

Contact Us

If you suspect 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)


Foster Parent Appreciation Banquet 


ACCS Case Review Coordinator Susan Ballard, left, congratulates Foster Parents of the Year, Laura and Alfred Clapp.

Our annual Foster Parent Appreciation Banquet was held on Friday, May 25 at the Ohio University Inn & Conference Center. ACCS staff, board members, and interns gathered to give thanks to our foster parents for their hard work.

Thanks Andrea!
Management and supervisors including Sheila Shafer, Otis Crockron, Laura Somers, Andrea Reik, Donna Robison, Laura Harms, and Laura Bobo.
Our Executive Director, Andrea Reik, retires today after 34 years of service to Athens County. Andrea has been a strong advocate for children and families throughout her career, and we cannot thank her enough for her service!

Please continue reading for a brief message from Andrea:


As I retire from Athens County Children Services, I want to express my gratitude to you, the Athens County community. Your ongoing support through the years has allowed this agency to put into place strong and innovative services for the protection of children. 


I am excited to watch the expansion of School Outreach Caseworkers to all five school districts in the county, the development of a community volunteer program, the development of educational supports for youth in agency custody, the creation of an Alternative Response team, as well as all the other services designed to keep children safe.


I am proud to have been the Director of Athens County Children Services for these last seven years. Having started at ACCS as a student intern when I was in college, I find it commendable that even though the agency has grown so much our focus has always been and remains to be on the children. This is an excellent agency with dedicated staff, and I know that they will continue to provide valuable services to families!


Stay tuned for our September e-newsletter in which we will introduce you to incoming Executive Director Cathy Hill.

Changes for Help Me Grow

After 12 years, Athens County Children Services (ACCS) ceased to be the administering agency for the Help Me Grow program. A program of the Family and Children First Council, Help Me Grow is not disappearing but is morphing into a two-pronged program operated by Tri-County Mental Health & Counseling Services and Integrated Services of Appalachian Ohio.


The first part of the program, as operated by Tri-County Mental Health and Counseling Services (TCMHCS) will be a Part C Early 

Help Me Grow

Intervention program providing services to children with disabilities 

under the age of three. The second part of the newly-retooled Help Me Grow, operated by Integrated Services of  Appalachian Ohio, will provide Home Visiting services for first-time parents of newborn babies. Program referrals that stem from ACCS will still be accepted.


The original Help Me Grow program had an overwhelmingly positive effect on families in Athens County over the last twelve years, a trend that program administrators know will continue. As many former Help Me Grow staff took jobs at ACCS, they reflected on their years and accomplishments in the program.


"The biggest impact I feel Help Me Grow has had on families is giving them hope. Hope that they can be the best parents they choose to be. Hope that whatever they want for their child can be obtained," said Laura Harms, former project director of Athens County Help Me Grow. Harms joined the staff in 2010, after serving as Project Director of Vinton County Help Me Grow for eleven years. Harms recently accepted the position of Family Support Unit Supervisor at ACCS. Harms continued, "Help Me Grow is a program that has a rippling effect. We touch the lives of children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors."


The positive impact that Help Me Grow can have on not only children, but parents, is evident in Rebecca Layton, a former Help Me Grow service coordinator who has recently joined the staff of ACCS as the Academic & Life Skills Caseworker. Layton worked for Help Me Grow from 2005 to 2012, but this was not her first experience with the program. Layton participated in the Help Me Grow program as a teen parent from 1999 through 2001. She reflected, "My favorite moments were watching teen parents walk through their high school graduation and go off to college. Breaking the cycle of poverty is a huge accomplishment!"

Upcoming Events
August 8, 2012
Children's Games at Athens County Fair 
Join ACCS staff and volunteers as we host the children's activities at this year's Athens County Fair Kid's Day!

August 14, 2012
Lace Up For Kids!
Families who have signed up through the Lace Up program will be able to pick up their shoes at The Plains Elementary School on this date.
August 15, 2012
Heritage Health Fair
Join Doctor's Hospital and 15+ area organizations to receive free health information, samples, and more! The Heritage Health Fair is located in the "Library Junction" at the Parade of the Hills.


P.O. Box 1046 Athens, Ohio 45701

Phone: (740) 592-3061 Fax: (740) 593-3880