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Franklin County offers 'one-stop shop' for kinship families

The Franklin County Department of Children's Services and the department of Jobs and Family Services is now partnering to offer a "one-stop shop" for relatives taking care of children in need of kinship care.

Franklin County Jobs and Family Services is now partnering with the Department of Children's Services to provide a one-stop shop for kinship families within the county.

"So what we've done is — we've placed a case manager in the building of Franklin County Children's services," said Joy Bivens, Director of the Jobs and Family Services for Franklin County. "And, what our case managers do, is we assist families with supportive services... whether it's cash assistance, child care, Medicaid."

The change is part of a county-wide push to ensure kids in need of guardianship can stay with their family members.

"When a child is removed from a home of a parent, it is best for the child to stay with the immediate family or a family member that they are familiar with because the connectivity of the family assists with the nourishment and the development of the child," Bivens said.

Since 2014, approximately 1,941 children have been placed in kinship care, meaning with a grandparent, aunt, uncle or close relative.

"It was really important," said Marie Wuelleh, who is caring for her two nieces with her husband.

"Ramyah came to live with us at the end of 2017. And Ra’Lasia came to live with us about three months later. They are just really a blessing."

Wuelleh says streamlining the process for county resources will be helpful and relieving for kinship families.

"There is so much to deal with when it comes to bringing someone into your house. And without their help — I mean we would get it done, but it would be so much more stressful," Wuellah said.

There is an ongoing need to find foster care homes in Franklin County. Anyone interested in learning more can call (614) 275-2711.