Spring 2015 News & Updates from CYFS
CYFS to Operate Volunteer Program
The Corporation for National and Community Service recently awarded one of its 2015 Senior Corps RSVP grants to The Center for Youth and Family Solutions (CYFS). As the new administrator of RSVP, CYFS will find volunteer opportunities for adults, ages 55 and older, in the areas of Healthy Futures, Capacity Building, Education, and Environmental Stewardship. Volunteers will choose from a variety of opportunities with partner organizations, agencies, and schools in Peoria and Tazewell Counties. The grant period will begin July 1, 2015.
“We are excited to start RSVP here at our agency and are looking forward to increasing the capacity to serve our community through volunteerism,” said New Day Senior Services Program Coordinator Ruth Urbanc. “This grant will help us build and support volunteers and assist all non-profits in our community.”
Established in 1971 and now one of the largest senior volunteer programs in the nation, RSVP offers a diverse range of volunteer activities that serve communities to create measurable impact, benefit volunteers through the service experience, and create community capacity. RSVP volunteers serve with commitments ranging from a few hours to 40 hours per week
Five Children, Two Homes, One Family
The Richardson* children were placed into foster care five years ago due to environmental neglect. The three youngest were placed with their great aunt and uncle, and the two older children were place with Mr. Thomas*, a traditional foster parent. Both sets of foster parents worked closely with CYFS to ensure that the children were getting everything they needed to adjust. Mr. Thomas enrolled the oldest two kids in several after-school activities and the oldest boy, Scott, was referred to counseling to address some of the issues he had been struggling with since the children’s father had been incarcerated. Mrs. Richardson and the CYFS Family Worker also worked together to find a daycare close to her office for the three little ones so she could be close by if they needed anything.
Though the children were apart, Mr. and Mrs. Richardson and Mr. Thomas made sure that they had the opportunity to see one another as often as possible. The two oldest adjusted well in their new school and looked to Mr. Thomas’ older children as role models. Scott continued his counseling and as time passed, his issues significantly improved.
When they were told that the children would not be returned home, both the Richardsons and Mr. Thomas began the process to adopt the children into each of their respective families. All three parents agreed that the best thing would be to make sure that the siblings stayed close and to continue letting them spend time together on a regular basis. They all wanted to make sure that the kids knew that even though they lived in separate houses and would have different last names, they would always be a family.
After the adoption was finalized, their Family Worker remarked at how happy she was for this family to be moving forward in their journey and how significant it was to have two sets of foster parents working together to make sure the kids remained so close. “These kids have such a strong bond even though they don’t live under one roof anymore, and that’s largely due to the commitment from all three parents to keep it that way,” she said.
*Names were changed
CYFS Adds to Its Board of Directors
The Center for Youth and Family Solutions is proud to announce the appointment of Marilyn Cagnoni to our Board of Directors. Cagnoni has 20 years of experience specializing in real estate management, strategic planning, fundraising and executing political campaigns.
She is the owner of MMC Consulting, an associate for the DMM Group, and co-owner of Springfield-based Cagnoni Development. She has been active on community boards in Springfield, focused on historic preservation and the arts.
“As a long time civic leader and Springfield resident with multi-generational family ties to the area, Marilyn brings a deep understanding of the needs, challenges and opportunities of the region to the CYFS board,” said Janet Mathis, Board President. “On behalf of the entire CYFS team, I’m happy to welcome Marilyn to our board.”
Letter of Gratitude: A Mother’s Thank You to Her CYFS Family Worker
Foster parenting is never easy, but when trust is built with a family, it makes all the difference in making their journey a success. One foster mother recently expressed her feelings toward her Foster Care Family Worker in her blog, and shared some of the journey her family has taken.
Thank You to Our Supporters
Thank you to CEFCU for their donation of $3,000 to our Springfield office visitation room renovation. The donation will cover the costs of renovating the room, which is used as a meeting place for children in foster care who are spending time with their biological parents during supervised visitations. For the well-being of the children, it is important that the rooms offer a home-like, safe and inviting environment, rather than an institutionalized one. The renovations will allow The Center for Youth and Family Solutions to achieve this goal by updating the rooms, which are currently furnished with outdated furniture and donated toys.
A representative from CEFCU presented the donation to staff during a check presentation on March 10. “We have children coming to our office, sometimes on a weekly basis, to see their parents for visitations, so we try really hard to make it feel like home when they’re here,” remarked CYFS Foster Care Supervisor Tracy Cashman. “We truly appreciate the donation from CEFCU, and are excited to get the renovations started so that we can provide our families a great, updated visitation room.”
CYFS Brings Awareness to Youth Violence and Delinquency Prevention
As a part of Youth Violence Prevention Week, Doug Braun and Charlene Thompson from the CYFS Youth, Family, and Community Outreach Services Program sat down with WCIA News Champaign to discuss the program’s role in diverting youth from the child welfare and juvenile justice system. View the entire interview here.