Mercer County is “Wearing a Little Purple with their Pink”
October 1st kicks off the beginning of Domestic Violence awareness month. The campaign encourages public, private, and non-profit entities to raise awareness of the issue by embracing the color purple – the symbolic hue for domestic violence awareness – by wearing purple or sponsoring awareness events. Flyers raising community awareness on this topic will be showcased by local businesses throughout this month.
It takes a coordinated effort by all corners of the community – law enforcement, advocates, community groups, and schools – to combat the scourge of domestic violence and declare that it will not be tolerated in our community. All Ohioans are being asked to wear purple on Thursday, October 22 to help generate discussion and awareness of domestic violence and dating abuse.
Since this past January, Mercer County’s Family Crisis Network answered 1,106 hotline calls, provided legal advocacy to 34 clients, and supplied 13 clients and their children with safe emergency housing. Family Crisis Network, one of OUR Home’s family of programs, has been providing services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Mercer County for more than 35 years. Services include emergency shelter, case management, peer counseling, legal advocacy, and safety planning. The hotline number is 419.586.1133, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All services are free and confidential.
Our 2015 DV Census Count Day is here! We are excited to capture the needs of survivors in our community to show the importance of funding and legislation to address domestic violence. Today, nearly 2,000 programs across the country count the services they provide to domestic violence survivors. Last year, Ohio served 1,839 victims in just one 24-hour period. We count because all domestic violence survivors count! Take a look at more of last year’s Census statistics.
OUR Home has received a grant of $400 from the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to support OUR Home’s assistance programs. Each year, the church organization’s Northwestern Ohio Synod chooses an agency in each of its seven conferences “that assists women and children in crisis.”
OUR Home provides safe shelter and advocacy for domestic violence survivors, food and emergency assistance for low income individuals, and a supervised visitation center for distressed families who need a neutral place for children to spend time with their parents. The goal for all these programs is to help people get past the crisis they are facing so they can move on with their lives in peace and with confidence.
The grant will be used in OUR Home’s Direct Services program, which gives emergency financial assistance to low income individuals and families, a program entirely funded by local church support and small private grants.
R.A.F.T. – Why Supervised Visits or Exchanges?
Both Supervised Visits and Supervised Exchanges are designed to assure that a child can have safe contact with an absent parent without having to be put in the middle of the parents’ conflicts or other problems. It is the child’s need that is paramount in making any decisions regarding supervision of the visit or the exchange.
However, there are also some significant benefits to parents. It is our hope that no one will look upon supervised visitation or exchange as a negative or stigmatized service. It is a tool that can help families as they go through difficult and/or transitional times. Some of the benefits for the various family members are as follows:
For The Children:
Supervised Visits and Exchanges allow the children to maintain a relationship with both of their parents. They can anticipate the visits without the stress of worrying about what is going to happen, and enjoy their time in a safe, comfortable environment without being put in the middle of their parents’ conflict and/or other problems.
For the Parents or Guardians with whom the child resides:
The children’s primary guardian can feel comfortable allowing their children to have contact with their non-residential parent. They can feel confident about the child’s safety without having to communicate or have contact with a person with whom they are in conflict or by whom they might be frightened or intimidated.
For the Non-Residential Parent or relative:
They can be sure that their contact with the children does not have to be interrupted regardless of any personal or interpersonal problems they may be having or conflicts with the children’s caretaker(s). If allegations have been made against them, they can visit without fear of any new accusations because there is someone present who can verify what happened during their time together.
**Please contact the office for questions pertaining to R.A.F.T. eligibility at 419.586.4663 ext. 1006.
The world of early intervention can be confusing. There are a lot of myths about the services involved and parents and children’s rights. Here we set the record straight.
Myth #1: Early intervention is only for kids with disabilities like Down syndrome.
Fact: Kids, 3 years old and under, are eligible for early intervention if they have a disability or developmental delay. This includes children who haven’t reached certain developmental milestones, including communication or social-emotional milestones.
Myth #2: My child isn’t eligible for early intervention services. I guess there’s nothing I can do.
Fact: If you disagree with the results of an evaluation, you can challenge the decision. You can request to meet with officials to talk about concerns (mediation). You can also request an impartial hearing (due process).
What if you agree that your child isn’t eligible, but feel you still need help? Ask the service coordinator to help you find services in your community. Learn more about what to do if your child doesn’t qualify for early intervention.
Myth #3: Parents don’t have much to do with early intervention. The experts will handle it.
Fact: Nothing could be further from the truth. You are an essential partner in early intervention. You have the right to be involved each step of the way. This includes being involved with your child’s evaluation and Individualized Family Service Plan. For example, you help decide what services your child and family need, what results you want to see and who will provide the services.
Myth #4: There’s no way to stay informed about your child’s early intervention services.
Fact: According to the law, you have to be informed before anything happens. This is called prior written notice. Prior written notice explains what’s happening and why. In some cases, you must also officially consent for services to start or change.
Myth #5: Nothing is private anymore, including my child’s information.
Fact: The law has a lot to say about this. There are strict requirements to keep your family’s information private. Evaluators, service providers and service coordinators must carefully protect all your information. And they have to get written permission from you in order to release information about your child. You can change your mind at any time about who has access to this information
Myth #6: Once you have a plan for early intervention, you can’t change it.
Fact: Think of the Individualized Family Service Plan as a “living” document. You and the team review it every few months to make sure it still makes sense for you and your family.
And you can request changes any time you feel that it’s necessary. It’s a good time to regroup and revise if your child already met the goals you set and you need to add new ones. You might also request changes if it seems like something isn’t working well for your child.
Myth #7: Early intervention services can be delivered anywhere.
Fact: This isn’t exactly true. Services must be provided in what’s called “natural environments” whenever possible. Natural environments are familiar places. They’re environments where your child, family and care providers can participate in everyday activities.
**Please contact the office for questions pertaining to Help Me Grow eligibility at 419.586.1721.
Domestic violence survivors are some of the strongest people we know!! Even after leaving an abusive situation the healing process isn’t over. A strong support system of family, friends, and local advocates & by taking time for yourself and doing what makes you happy can also be helpful in gaining back your own sense of self.