Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Send us your nominations for Parents of the Year

It’s time once again to send in your nominations for Foster Parent of the Year, Kinship Parent of the Year, Adoptive Parent of the Year, Staff Person of the Year, and Association of the Year.  Please send us the names of those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty over the past year to help those in need. Awards will be presented at the 2010 TFACA Fall Conference. The final date nominations will be accepted is August 9, 2010.

Click here for  nomination information.

Click here for nomination form.

Odessa Krech

Mark Your Calendars

The 2010 Tennessee Foster and Adoptive Care Association Conference is on the horizon:

Sept. 17-19 at the Sheraton Music City Hotel.

Click here for your own copy of the brochure, in the handy Portable Document Format.

Click here for this year's online registration. (The deadline is August 15.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wilder’s Weight Loss Challenge

Michelle Sangster, Keith Waldron, and Kimberly Boone
On April 1, 2010, 19 staff members at John S. Wilder Youth Development Center took the weight loss challenge.  On July 1, the challenge ended, and the total combined weight loss was 228 pounds.  The overall weight loss winner was Keith Waldron who lost 50 pounds in 64 days.  George Hale came in a close second with 44 pounds lost.  

Special thanks to Kimberly Boone, Michelle Sangster and Emily Harville for their organization of the event.  Another event is planned to begin in August and an idea of challenging other institutions is in the works.

Good job to all the participants, keep up the good work and encourage someone to improve their health.

Guide to New Legislation

Each year, the Tennessee General Assembly makes changes to the law that impact our work at DCS.  As DCS staff, it is critical that we know when changes have been made and fully understand their impact to those we serve.  This year, we have developed a report which groups changes in the law by program area. 

 We hope this makes it easier for you to identify the changes which most directly impact your work.  (We have also added hyperlinks to the Public Chapter number so you can quickly view the legislation in its entirety.)

Get your copy of the 2010 legislative rundown here.

Aaron Campbell
DCS Legislative Director

Thursday, July 15, 2010

COA. It's Time to Revisit!

We have been on such a exciting Journey to Accreditation for the past  five years.   Having seen the evidence of how the COA standards of best practice have influenced the work we do and how we provide services to children and families, everyone should be extremely proud of their role in making COA accreditation of DCS a reality. 

Now,  it is time to begin to think about Reaccreditation.  Plans are underway for our Maintenance of Accreditation phase and the development of resources to support each region as we prepare DCS for reaccreditation.   Gathering a group of trained Peer Reviewers who can assist their regions with those preparations will be critical to our future success.   In that regard, plans are being developed for a COA Volunteer Peer Reviewer training that will be conducted in Nashville in early August.   For those of you who are not really sure about their role, Peer Reviewers volunteer their time and expertise to participate in COA's accreditation process in agencies across the country.  They receive no monetary compensation and are reimbursed only for the expenses incurred related to the site visit.  According to COA data, each peer on average contributes more than 50 hours per site visit in familiarizing himself or herself with the organization's self-study, in carrying out on-site activities, assessing compliance, and in completing the report. 

The Initial Peer Reviewer Training will be a one-day onsite training preceded by three self-paced trainings and learning assessments.   In order to be eligible to become a Peer Reviewer, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • A graduate degree in a human service discipline, or a non-human service degree and service management experience
  • At least five years of continuing management experience. This should include experience in budgeting, CQI, governance, or other administrative responsibilities. 
  • All newly trained Peer Reviewers are required to accept a site visit assignment within 90 days of completing training.

If you meet the eligibility criteria and you are interested in becoming a COA Volunteer Peer Reviewer, please contact Brenda.B.Bell@tn.gov by close of business Friday.   We still have three class slots available for staff from the regions.

Brenda B. Bell

Adoption Assistance Update

July 15 -- All but 521 adoption assistance payments processed successfully this morning.  Payments will be deposited into bank accounts tomorrow (for those who receive payments via ACH).  Those receiving paper checks should receive them one day late as well (Saturday, Monday at the latest depending on their location.)  

The department is working diligently to process the remaining 521 adoption assistance payments.  


Erika Conwell, MSSW
Office of Child Permanency

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Pay Run for Adoption Assistance Payments Is Delayed

Due to unforseen reasons, adoption assistance subsidy payments for the first pay run this fiscal year are going to be delayed.  The pay run was scheduled to be complete by July 15th, but at this time the Department of Finance & Administration is still processing payments through Edison. 
We do not have a date of when the adoption assistance payments will be made to adoptive parents, but our hope is that subsidy payments will go out the earlier part of next week.  As the Office of Permanency, Division of Foster Care & Adoption and the Office of Finance and Program Support learn more information from F&A about the target date for payment, information will be shared with regional staff working with adoptive parents who receive adoption assistance payments.   
As you receive these calls, please be respectful,responsive and empathetic to the challenges this creates for our adoptive parents.  Our hope is that will be resolved quickly and that this delay creates limited complications for any of our adoptive parents affected.

Please direct any calls concerning late subsidy payments for adoption assistance to the regional adoption assistance designee.  Contact names and phone numbers are listed below.
Erika Conwell, MSSW
Office of Child Permanency 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gratitude at the Mountain View Banquet

On June 21, 2010, Mountain View YDC held its annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet.  This year’s theme was an “Attitude of Gratitude”. Our guests of honor were all the volunteers who donate resources and countless hours of service to the students at Mountain View.  Our special musical guest was the choir of Martha Davis Baptist Church of Jefferson City. The distinguished guest speaker was Jefferson County Juvenile Judge Ben Strand, whose message was one of thanks to all of the Mountain View Volunteers who selflessly demonstrate the their volunteer spirit through work with our students.  Culinary Arts teacher Robert Adams and his students amazed us yet again with ambrosial cuisine and desserts.
Special thanks and recognition go out to CM 3 Roxanne Bowen, Volunteer Coordinator David Bugg, ASA Kathy Ridenour, Food Service Manager Robert Adams, and CM 3 Don Burnette for their hard work in making this year’s banquet a festive occasion.

Awards were presented to the following volunteers and organizations for outstanding service and contributions to our program:

Partnership Award:
Smoky Mountain Knifeworks
Bib Boys of White Pine

Pioneer Award
People Serving People
Allen Ramey Volunteer of the Year
Mount Zion Church of Knoxville

Steve Collier

Congratulations, Annakiya!

Annakiya Sauda

Cheatham County's Annakiya Sauda is the AdoptUSKids' Caseworker of the Month.

" 'It’s obvious Annakiya has a passion for children, especially the difficult ones that others seem to have given up on. This 15-year-old girl went through multiple placements and was rejected by everyone who is supposed to love and care for her,” said David and Sonya Sherman of Nashville, Tennessee, who nominated Sauda."

Read on here.