Family Involvement Recap 2015

As we near the end of Year 6 of the Clermont FAST TRAC System of Care grant, it is a time to reflect about what has been accomplished and to look at the future plans for provision of support and involvement for families in Clermont County.

Families Connected has been very fortunate as a family organization to be included to share our knowledge of lived experience. Peer support is based on that experience to provide support, empathy, and encouragement to families because we too have been there!   Everyone at Families Connected is a parent/guardian of a person with disabilities and our agency has been organized since 1999 to provide peer support in our community.

Peer support for families in the process of finding services for their child was a priority in the initial planning stages of the grant. In the past, families were not involved as an equal partner to determine the priorities for supporting the child and his/her family. The overall goal of the Peer Support Partner program is to support and empower families to advocate for themselves and their children in the community.

We have seen major changes, including families driving their plan, youth giving their voice, and teams compiled of members whom the parent selected to be at the table. Statistics from our last family evaluation brief, the FAST TRACker, reported that 84.3% of family members participating in Wraparound felt part of the process and 89.4% felt safe sharing opinion.

We have had family leadership training, conferences and mental health awareness events, monthly activities, participation in community activities, and trainings requested by families. Connections to resources has been an on-going support with 65.6% of family members reporting they have increased knowledge of resources available for their family.

Our family satisfaction surveys and family empowerment tools show that Peer Support has been instrumental in supporting families to make their voice heard on their Wraparound teams and in working with others within Clermont County.  We look forward to continuing peer support to families as the next year unfolds!

Jean Houston, LFC/ Director

Families Connected of Clermont County


Youth Summer Wrap-Up 2015

With summer wrapping up, it’s time to reflect on the things we’ve done. We had another successful year of Wrap Camp. This year could have been the most fun yet! On top of ScallyWag Tag and the YMCA, we had grill outs, played tons of games, ate some gross things like sardines and made some new friends. Another huge event we had in the summer was Independence City. To understand Independence City, you need to first think of a realistic “game of life” and then multiple it by 100. Around the room tables are set up with each table representing different things, like employment, utilities, transportation, etc. Youth and young adults were given IDs which indicated what their income was, if they had children, and if they had a criminal background. Then each person had to figure out how to live life with what they had. Another summer is in the books, but stay tuned for monthly youth newsletters. The fall has many activities planned, like our monthly cooking classes, our Halloween party, our annual chili cook off, and a lot more. One last thing! We are recruiting youth to participate in the Youth MOVE Advisory Board. As a member, you will gain leadership skills and help plan meaningful events and trainings. If you have any questions or are interested in the Youth Advisory Board, feel free to contact me, Danny Little, by phone 354-1307 or email  Thanks!

My Feelings are a Work of Art Gallery & Reception 2015

Children’s artwork created from My Feelings are a Work of Art projects will be displayed from September 21-24 at the Eastgate Mall from noon to 6pm. An art gallery reception will be held on Tuesday, September 22 from 2pm-3:30pm. This event is free and open to the public and children, youth and community are invited to attend. Light refreshments will be served so RSVPs are requested to 732-5400. This is Clermont FAST TRAC’s sixth year participating in the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day initiative, My Feelings Are a Work of Art, during May, which is also Mental Health Month.  The initiative raises awareness of children’s mental health needs, demonstrates how children’s mental health initiatives promote positive youth development, recovery and resilience and shows how children with mental health needs thrive in the community.  Click here for the event flyer.

Clermont FAST TRAC provided art supplies and support to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to nurture the social and emotional well being of children during special days of “art action” called “My Feelings are a Work of Art.” More than 800 children and youth and 200 adults involved with various agencies and schools across Clermont County participated in the national effort to use art to express feelings. Partner sites include:  Juvenile Court, Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Clermont Recovery Center, CEC-South, Boys and Girls Club, Child Focus Head Start and Bilingual Preschools and various school partners, including Batavia, Williamsburg and Amelia elementary schools, special education classes and Amelia Middle School.

“National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and Mental Health Month is really all about raising awareness that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth,” said Gretchen Behimer, Clermont FAST TRAC Project Director. FAST TRAC is a System of Care initiative of the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board, with the mission to provide a collaborative, sustainable mental health system of care that is family-driven and youth-guided, providing community-based and individualized supports and services that are responsive to the cultural characteristics of Clermont County’s multi-need children, youth and their families, strengthening them with hope and supporting them to lead successful lives.

The My Feelings are a Work of Art Gallery is located next to Sears and Willis Music in The EastGate Mall.