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Making Cuyahoga County Better for Kids & Families


The Family & Children First Council has been shaping how your community cares for families for more than two decades.

Our Council members discover new ways to share resources and expertise to get better results for families.

See 20+ years of innovations sparked by our work:


1993 FCFCs are “born.”

Ohio’s state government has a Family & Children First Council, and so do all 88 Ohio counties. In 1993, FCFC became law. The law requires every county to “develop and implement a process that annually evaluates and prioritizes services, fills service gaps where possible, and invents new approaches to achieve better results for families and children.”


1995-1997 – Local collaborations focus on our smallest residents
As FCFCs were being established across the state, many of the early priorities were focused on infants and preschool-age children. A partnership with Help Me Grow was created.


1990s – Making more connections for children’s well being

FCFCs take action to coordinate services for the well being of all children. Locally, our FCFC becomes accountable for the Ohio Children's Trust Fund, a fund originally created in Ohio law in 1984 to help prevent child abuse and neglect. The Council was already accountable for Service Coordination for children with complicated needs, and for the Child Well Being Plan.


2000 – Cuyahoga County launches “Invest in Children”

Invest in Children, known originally as the Early Childhood Initiative: Prenatal–Three, is a community-wide, public/private partnership to help increase the development, funding, visibility and impact of early childhood services in Cuyahoga County.


2003 – Cuyahoga Tapestry System of Care is created to help children with complex emotional needs

Local partners launch “Tapestry” with help from a federal grant and insights gained from the System of Care approach to serving families that started in the 1980s.


2004 – Cuyahoga County recognizes the importance and unique needs of fathers
 
The Fatherhood Initiative seeks to strengthen families in our community by encouraging fathers to play a more active role in nurturing and raising their children. The initiative responds to escalating social concerns regarding “father absence” by providing fathers with access to services designed to prepare them to better meet the emotional, psychological, and financial needs of their children.


2004 – Neighborhoods have a new option for helping families in crisis

The Community Assistance Program provides funding for some family needs, after all other available funding options have been exhausted. It was developed by the Family & Children First Council, the Department of Children and Family Services and the Neighborhood Collaboratives to replace the Family Stability Incentive Program (FSIP). Each Neighborhood Collaborative has a Resource Specialist who provides information and assistance to families who reside in their community. These funds are also available to the public systems that participate on the Service Coordination Team. Funding for Community Assistance is considered a last-resort resource.


2008 – Partners launch “MyCom” for children and youth up to high-school graduation
 
MyCom stands for My Commitment, My Community (formerly known as the Youth Development Initiative: Kindergarten to Graduation). It is a network of people and efforts designed to connect resources by increasing access to existing opportunities for youth ages kindergarten to high-school graduation, as well as funding new opportunities. MyCom strengthens the resources in our neighborhoods in six key areas: youth engagement, youth employment, transitions (example: the change from middle school to high school or other difficult transitions in a child’s life), neighborhood engagement, out of school time, and advocacy.


2009 – Families design creative solutions to their needs
Family Centered Services and Supports (FCSS) is built on the foundation that family involvement in service planning and implementation is critical to successful treatment outcomes, strengthens the existing capacity of families to function effectively, and ensures the safety and well-being of each family member. FCSS funds are focused on maintaining children and youth in their own homes and communities by providing non-clinical, family-centered services and supports.


2010 – Schools and social service agencies join forces for Family and Civic Engagement (FCE)
This is a collaboration among schools, families, and community partners to develop healthy communities that lead to the academic success, safety, and well-being of youth to enable them to transition into productive and responsible citizens. FCE is led by the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County in partnership with the Family & Children First Council, with six local school districts, plus four specific neighborhoods within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.


Ongoing – Public systems work together to make family services better

The System Coordination Committee (SCC) is the policy implementation group that reports to the Family & Children First Council Executive Committee. The Service Coordination Team makes recommendations to the SCC based on service or system gaps and barriers. At the request of the Executives, the SCC is responsible for translating those recommendations into policy. The members of the SCC are empowered by the agency executives to implement policy changes within each system.


Ongoing – A team searches for new funding opportunities
With the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, the Family & Children First Council convenes a Grants Subcommittee to identify, share, and plan for new funding opportunities that can benefit systems serving young people and families.


See also the complete history on the state level.