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In-the-News

Summer Enrichment Program at Family & Children’s Agency Receives $20,000 Grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation

The Summer Enrichment Program, a component of the After School Program at Family & Children’s Agency (FCA), has received a $20,000 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF). The Summer Enrichment Program serves Norwalk youth for four days per week over the course of six weeks. The Program is expanding to serve 30 middle school youth this summer. The Program’s theme this year is “Heroes and Villains around the World,” which will be accompanied by engaging field trips and enrichment activities to keep youth actively learning throughout the summer.

“Family & Children’s Agency has a longstanding relationship with the Fairfield County Community Foundation, and we are grateful for their continued support,” said Robert F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA.

When children’s minds are not actively learning, they may not retain much of what they learned in the previous school year. This is commonly referred to as “summer learning loss.”

“Children need ongoing opportunities for daily reading and learning,” says Amy Jeffereis, Manager of the After School Program at FCA. “By providing educational, hands-on programs, summer can be a time for children to explore interests, develop new skills and participate in learning not typically offered in a classroom. Summer programs that offer enriching experiences engage children in practicing essential academic skills.”

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County.  Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds.  The Foundation also provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues.  It is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards for community foundations. The Foundation has awarded $168 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond.  For more information, please visit www.fccfoundation.org.

Family & Children’s Agency Receives Grant from the Connecticut Office of Policy Management to Support Inter-Agency Tech Collaborative

Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) is the recipient of a grant worth over $200,000 from the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to support FCA’s involvement in the Fairfield County Information Technology Collaborative (FCITC). The Collaborative is a partnership between FCA, Family Centers of Greenwich and FSW of Bridgeport to create a shared technology platform. This funding will support the purchase of both software and hardware, along with user-trainings as the Agency implements a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

“The VDI project is a critical component of Phase II of FCITC, which is centered on projects that will integrate and upgrade IT infrastructure and operations across the three agencies into a shared model,” said Robert F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA. “This will enable the Agency to replace our current in-house infrastructure with a more cost-efficient and high-quality performing IT infrastructure.”

VDI will allow the Agency to work more efficiently by increasing both automation of tasks and user mobility. Moreover, it will increase cost efficiency and is projected to reduce FCA’s annual IT operating expenses by more than 40 percent.

The goal of FCITC is to enhance the client experience, improve performance and develop best practices for the 45,000 area residents the three agencies collectively reach each year. This initiative will strengthen each organization’s position as a leader in social and mental health services throughout Fairfield County.

Family & Children’s Agency Kicks Off “Help Me Grow” Campaign in Greater Norwalk Region

Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) has been selected by the Children’s Trust Fund, a division of Connecticut’s newly formed Office of Early Childhood (OEC), to lead the Help Me Grow Child Development Campaign in Norwalk for children ages birth through 5-years-old. Help Me Grow is a statewide public awareness and outreach campaign designed to increase awareness of the critical need to implement universal developmental screenings and connect at-risk children to the supports and services they need to ensure optimum growth and development.Children

“All children can benefit from developmental screening. Screening lets us catch potential developmental delays early on and provide young children with the help they need to succeed,” said Myra Jones-Taylor, Executive Director of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.

The campaign will promote the use of a tool known as the Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) to help screen significantly more young children.

“The mission of Help Me Grow is to identify children who need this help early on in their development,” says Karen Foley-Schain, Division Director for the OEC’s Family Support Services Division, which oversees the Help Me Grow Campaign. “The best way to identify the children who need help is through developmental screening, the use of a formal screening tool to check on the child development periodically from birth to five years.”

FCA is committed to the healthy development of children through our work in Family Support & Prevention Services.

“Very often, developmental delays go undetected before children enter kindergarten,” said Robert F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA. “Children then enter the school system behind their peers academically and struggle for years to be on grade level. The Help Me Grow Campaign is designed to prevent these children from slipping through the cracks. Parents know their children better than anyone. We encourage them to trust their instincts and contact professionals to address their concerns.”

As a part of the campaign, FCA will be hosting a variety of community events to reach families, with the first event to be held Thursday, April 3 at Stepping Stones Museum for Children.  The Agency will also be reaching out to childcare providers, preschools, pediatricians and other providers who serve young children in the community in an effort to enroll more Norwalk children in the ASQ Monitoring Program.

Two ASQ registration events will be held, which will allow parents to receive questionnaires periodically in the mail to track their child’s development until the age of 5.

Thursday, April 3
4-7 p.m.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Ave. in Norwalk

Saturday, May 10
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Ave. in Norwalk

Three Community Café evenings will be held, as well, for parents to participate in guided discussions about child development.

Thursday, April 10
Topic: Healthy Living & Wellness
4-6 p.m.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Ave. in Norwalk

Wednesday, April 16
Topic: Healthy Living & Wellness
5-7 p.m.
Family & Children’s Agency
140 Water St. in Norwalk

Wednesday, April 30
Topic: Literacy
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Tumble Bugs Day School
11 Allen Road

To RSVP for a Community Café event, please contact Liliana Rodas at (203) 523-5315.

Family & Children’s Agency Awarded Grant to Launch Caregiver Support Teams

Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) is the recipient of a grant from the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) to create Caregiver Support Teams, a new component of Family Support & Intervention Services. The role of the Caregiver Support Teams is to provide early, intensive home visitation and support to caregiving families for children who have been removed from their parent’s custody and placed with them. Ultimately, the goal is create a network of support for the families, increase placement permanency and produce a safe environment with as minimal disruption as possible for the child. This is a three-year contract from DCF, and FCA is the only agency throughout Fairfield County to have received the grant. FCA is in the beginning phases of rolling out this new program.

DCF has placed a heavy emphasis on supporting kinship caregivers through the Caregiver Support Teams and keeping children with family members.

“Children succeed best when they are familiar with their surroundings,” said Robert F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA. “The Caregiver Support Teams will offer robust support and work closely with these families during this transitional period.”

The FCA Caregiver Support Team staff will offer support around the clock, seven days per week for families. The goal is to work with upwards of 35 families when the program is at full capacity.

“These teams will work with families to see what barriers they’re facing, what needs should be addressed and if there are cases of intergenerational trauma,” said Tiffany McCarthy, Director of Family Support and Intervention at FCA.

Family Support & Intervention Services at FCA assists families with issues that have led to DCF involvement. The goal is to promote the safety and well-being of all family members by maintaining and building on primary family connections, while connecting families to community resources as needed.

Foster Care youth take a weekend visit to Camp Jewell

Overnights at camp, whether for a weekend or the summer, are normalizing parts of childhood for so many of us. It’s a chance to explore, laugh, play, grow and learn with new friends. Whether you loved it or hated it, for a short imagesperiod of time you were taken out of your element and came out knowing more about yourself and others. Youth in the foster care system more often than not never have a chance to experience these opportunities. On Feb. 21, however, 24 adolescents, and their dedicated FCA staff and parent volunteers, were taken to Camp Jewell in Colebrook, Conn. for a weekend that was nothing less than extraordinary.

Although this winter has been especially brutal, it did not hinder the fun to be had at Camp Jewell. The youth participated in a range of activities including snow tubing, rope climbing, rock climbing and broom ball on ice. The youth dined together, participated in team-building exercises, had a dance party and huddled together in sleeping bags for a scary movie night. After all, what’s camp without a few ghost stories?

Moreover, these activities allowed the youth to enhance such skills as problem solving, conflict resolution, team building, public speaking and strategizing.

“It was wonderful being able to watch the youth build positive relationships with their peers, learn to appreciate the difference in others while building confidence and self-esteem about the young adults they are becoming,” said Janeen Reid, Specialized Foster Care Adolescent Services Supervisor. “Youth in foster care need to be able to feel and experience normality like other youth, and our Adolescent Programming unit is committed to doing just that.”

Click here to learn more about Specialized Foster Care at Family & Children’s Agency.

March is Women’s History Month—Spotlight on Girls’ Challenge

Since 1987, March has been designated as Women’s History Month, a time to highlight and acknowledge the contributions of women to events in history and society. Family & Children’s Agency nurtures young girls to become strong, successful leaders in the community through the Girls’ Challenge program, a component of the After School Program. This program helps girls in middle school explore issues and topics relevant to their lives, such as self-esteem, body image, peer pressure, self-care and stress management. They also work on team building, cooperation and communication to build leadership skills.

This past month, the girls wrote “Just Because” poems to express how they feel.

Just because I’m quiet
It doesn’t mean I’m not sociable
Doesn’t mean I’m hiding something
Doesn’t mean I’m not loud
Doesn’t mean I’m not fun
Just try talking to me instead of just looking
Just because I’m quiet.
-M.J.  Age 12

Just because I’m tough
It doesn’t mean I can’t love
Doesn’t mean I can’t have fun
Doesn’t mean I can’t smile
Just because I’m tough.
-C.B.  Age 12

Just because you think you’re ugly doesn’t mean you are
It doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy
Doesn’t mean you will always be sad
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL
Just because you don’t have friends
It doesn’t mean you don’t have me
Doesn’t mean you will be lonely forever
Doesn’t mean you will always live like that
YOU HAVE ME; I’m here as you are here for me.
-M.P.  Age 13

Just because I am weird
It doesn’t mean you can bully me
Just because I’m different
Doesn’t mean you can treat me different
Just because we are us
Doesn’t mean you can change us
Just because we are who we are
Doesn’t mean we can’t make a team.
-M.G.  Age 12

Last chance to register for the Korean Roots Tour!

Attention all families who have adopted through Family & Children’s Agency’s Korean Adoption program! You are invited to participate in the 2014 Roots Family Tour this summer.

Contact Lisa Habasinksi for more details at (203) 523-5735 or email lhabasinski@fcagency.org.

Dear Families,

We invite you to join the 2014 Roots Family Tour to Korea this summer from July 1 through July 13. You and your family will be traveling throughout Korea, experiencing its rich history and culture, while reuniting with Korean Children 2old friends and making new ones.

As you return to your child’s country of birth, Korea’s many sights, sounds and tastes will enrich your journey. You will also explore your child’s beginnings by visiting the Social Welfare Society (SWS). The visit will include one of the SWS maternity shelters and baby reception centers. Your family may have the opportunity to make arrangements to meet your foster family and visit your bithplace. If your child was not adopted through the SWS, we will help you in making contact with the appropriate agency during your visit in Seoul.

During the trip you will be accompanied by an agency staff member and an English-speaking Korean travel guide. In preparation for the trip, you will be invited to an orientation workshop at Spence-Chapin Services, Family & Children’s Agency, or Americans for International Aid and Adoption. Join us in giving your child the gift of this special travel experience.

 

Click here to view the full itinerary for the 2014 Korean Roots Family Tour.

Click here to download registration papers.

Thank you to all who supported FCA on March 7 for Fairfield County Gives!

ScreenCaptureThank you to all who donated to Family & Children’s Agency this past March 7! 

 

 

On March 7, Family & Children’s Agency is joining hundreds of nonprofits throughout Fairfield County for Fairfield County Gives. Sponsored by the Fairfield County Community Foundation and Bank of America, Fairfield County Gives is a 24-hour period to give where you live.

FCA will be joining–and competing–with hundreds of nonprofits to garner the most donors.

What it is

  • The goal of Fairfield County Gives is to raise $1 million for nonprofits throughout Fairfield County.
  • Prizes will be given to nonprofits throughout the day, with the largest prize–$25,000–awarded to the organization with the most donors.

What you can doTell two friends

  • All donations must be a minimum of $10 and made through www.FCGives.org within the 24-hour period of March 7.
  • Tell a friend. In fact, tell two friends. Then ask them to tell two friends!
  • Get creative! Want to give $50? Give $10 five times to increase FCA’s donors.
  • Don’t forget to share this on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Why you should donate

  • 89 cents of every dollar donated to Family & Children’s Agency goes directly to helping our clients.
  • It’s a fun way to come together as a community and reinforce the philanthropic spirit of Fairfield County.

Click here to donate to FCA on March 7!

Minks to Sinks Gives its largest donation in the auxiliary’s history to Family & Children’s Agency

Minks to Sinks, the Wilton Auxiliary of Family & Children’s Agency (FCA), gave its largest donation in the auxiliary’s history to FCA at its annual kick-off meeting, held Jan. 29 at Trackside in Wilton. The auxiliary organization,

From left to right, outgoing 2013 Minks to Sinks Chair Meg Campbell, outgoing 2013 Minks to Sinks Chair and FCA Board of Directors member Trish Weber, Minks to Sinks Treasurer Yolanda Bonomo, FCA President & CEO Robert F. Cashel and FCA Board Chairman Julene Greenshields.

From left to right, outgoing 2013 Minks to Sinks Chair Meg Campbell, outgoing 2013 Minks to Sinks Chair and FCA Board of Directors member Trish Weber, Minks to Sinks Treasurer Yolanda Bonomo, FCA President & CEO Robert F. Cashel and FCA Board Chairman Julene Greenshields.

which has been in existence since 1931, has a longstanding tradition of supporting FCA. Meg Campbell and Trish Weber, outgoing chairs of Minks to Sinks, presented the donation of $100,000 to FCA President & CEO Robert F. Cashel at the organization’s annual meeting. Including this gift, Minks to Sinks has donated $120,000 to FCA this fiscal year.

Minks to Sinks hosts two semiannual tag sales in May and in October each year in Wilton. The event has taken place since 1931, and the name was derived in 1952 when one volunteer donated a mink, and another a sink. Volunteers donate a variety of household items, clothing, furniture, and toys for consignment. Today, the sales bring out nearly 200 volunteers from the community, many of whom have been involved in Minks to Sinks for over 30 years. The sales are held at the intersection of Route 7 and School Road in Wilton under the tents, and volunteers can be found wearing the red, white, and blue striped aprons.

“FCA would like to thank Minks to Sinks for their recent donation and their hard work yearlong to support the Agency’s work with the more than 10,000 children, families, youth, adults and seniors we help each year,” said Robert F. Cashel. “

The next Minks to Sinks sale will be held May 2-4, 2014. To learn more about Minks to Sinks, visit www.MinkstoSinks.info.

Family & Children’s Agency Receives a Grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation for Inter-Agency Tech Collaborative

Family & Children’s Agency (FCA), along with Family Centers of Greenwich and FSW of Bridgeport, is the recipient of a $25,000 grant from the Fairfield County Community Foundation (FCCF) for the Fairfield County Information Technology Collaborative (FCITC). The Collaborative is a partnership between these three nationally accredited family services agencies to create a shared technology platform. Ultimately, the goal is to enhance the client experience, improve performance and develop best practices for the 45,000 area residents they collectively reach each year. This initiative will strengthen each organization’s position as a leader in social and mental health services throughout Fairfield County. The grant will support the Collaborative and will equally benefit the service delivery of the three agencies.

(left to right) Dr. William Hass, President & CEO of FSW, Robert F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA, and Robert M. Arnold, President & CEO of Family Centers.

(left to right) Dr. William Hass, President & CEO of FSW, Robert F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA, and Robert M. Arnold, President & CEO of Family Centers.

“FCA is grateful for its longstanding partnership with FCCF and their support of the inter-agency IT Collaborative,” said Robert. F. Cashel, President & CEO of FCA. “This grant will support the continued work of the Collaborative to work toward delivering high-quality, cost-effective and outcome-driven programming.”

FCITC is concluding its first phase of implementation, which included the customization of software and supporting systems. This initial collaboration has provided each partner agency with a client management database, electronic medical records and new financial management tools. The second phase of FCITC is centered on projects that will integrate and upgrade IT infrastructure and operations across the three agencies into a shared model.

The Fairfield County Community Foundation promotes the growth of community and regional philanthropy to improve the quality of life throughout Fairfield County.  Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds.  The Foundation also provides philanthropic advisory services, and develops and leads initiatives to tackle critical community issues.  It is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards for community foundations. The Foundation has awarded $151 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond.  For more information, please visit www.fccfoundation.org.

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