Page 7 - AR 2019 Web
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“I was adopted as an infant, and in fact my adoption was arranged by   When Kalamazoo County Ready 4s reached out to Family & Children
            Family & Children Services,” Melinda says. “For me, it was a positive   Services for help, Nancy was ready to do her part.
            experience, but I always had this sense of loss because of it.”  “KC Ready 4s advances high-quality preschool education for children
            The loss, Melinda explains, is one she finds many adoptees    in Kalamazoo County,” Nancy says. “They needed help reaching
            experience as they wonder about their biological roots. “I get a lot   children with challenging behaviors. We did a pilot with them—
            of calls from people looking for their biological families,” she says.   I collected information about the children, did classroom observation,
            “Dealing with this loss, this curiosity, is a key piece of the process   and provided teachers with strategies and support.”
            with adoptees.”                                    Nancy noticed that one strategy was having particularly successful
            Melinda works with a team of five adoption specialists to assess the   results. She began to weave a strategy for Mindfulness into all of her
            needs of each child and the families seeking children. She works   children’s programs.
            closely with other agency programs to find that perfect family.   “Research shows that short, mindful moments can teach children
            In 2019, Melinda was awarded the Child Welfare Adoption    skills they will use for a lifetime,” Nancy says.
            Excellence Award, recognizing her high level of service to children.   When children get stressed, are upset or overactive, Nancy plays a
            Melinda says: “I am so humbled, so lucky to be a part of these    game called Cocoa. The children pretend they are holding a hot cup
            children’s journeys.”                              of cocoa in their hands. The teacher tells them to blow on the cocoa
                                      Nancy Mitchell,          to cool it, sip a tiny bit at a time and focus on breathing. Playing the
                                      Clinical Therapist       cocoa game helps the children take a pause, be in the moment, and
                                                               calm their bodies and their minds.
                                      Nancy Mitchell knew early
                                      on that she wanted a career   During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nancy also offers help through
                                      working with children. In 1984,   online workshops as teachers care for the children of essential
                                      she started working for The   workers during the workday.
                                      Counseling Center at Family &   “It’s a joyful experience,” she says. “There are so many people who
                                      Children Services, with    care deeply and want to help.”
                                      individuals and families in the
            areas of developmental disabilities, mental health, attachment,
            parenting, and behavior issues.

               2019 Agency Demographics                         Child Welfare
               7,414  individuals served                        Family Preservation and Parenting Support – 1,912 individuals
               4,356  children                                  Foster Care – 869 individuals
               76% income under 200% federal poverty            Foster Care Days provided – 69,176 days
               66% under age of 19                              Adoption – 210 individuals, 67 adoptions completed

               57% White/Caucasian       5% Hispanic/Latino     97% of high-risk families remained together after services
               20% Black/African         1% Asian               Behavioral Health
                                         4% Declined
                                                                The Counseling Center – 1,422 individuals
               13% Multi-Racial
                                                                Substance Use Disorder Services – 215 individuals
               2019 Program Outcomes                            Community Based Mental Health – 1,474 individuals
               Customer Satisfaction                            92% of youth /families improved or maintained functioning
               96% felt treated with respect
                                                                Crisis Services
               91% felt satisfied with all services
                                                                Mobile Crisis Response – 1,005 individuals
               92% felt staff were sensitive to culture/ethnicity
                                                                Crisis Residential & Respite – 262 individuals
                                                                Shelter Foster Care – 45 youth
                                                                96% of youth discharged as planned
                                                                99% of youth with no return after 90 days of discharge
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