Children’s visitation area at DHS gets upgrades

Every Child, an advocacy group for children, leads the effort to improve old space

April 14, 2018 — The Department of Human Services (DHS) received assistance this month in an upgrade to its facilities at 3180 Highway 101. A new organization to Florence, Every Child, spearheaded the refurbishment of one the areas used to work with marginalized youth.

Cathy Coontz is the director of the Florence Chapter of Every Child and she wants residents to know about the work the child advocacy group is involved with in this area.

“When Every Child starts in a new community, raising money and doing the makeover is one of its first main activities. It is a great way to become known in the community, and to establish a relationship with the DHS staff,” Coontz said.

Every Child’s website  shares the group’s mission statement, goals and objectives: “Every Child  aims to provide love, care and support for vulnerable children and families in Oregon in partnership with Oregon’s Department of Human Services.”

According to the website, Every Child states it will fight relentlessly for children in crisis and that it is committed to finding safe places for children to be nourished and supported.

“Every Child just started here in Florence in November 2017,” Coontz said.

Coontz continued, “We held an initial orientation and had almost 40 people express interest in being involved in the organization to support foster families and foster kids.”

When Every Child branched out to Florence, the group’s leadership team began talking with the Florence Visitation Supervisor at DHS.

After viewing the one room for child and family visitations, it was identified as needing a makeover. The visitation room, like many in the DHS system, had become out of date and was not a welcoming site to families in the foster care system.

This fit with Every Child’s desire to make foster care, and support for unprotected children, a priority for the community. It also led to the effort to raise the funds necessary for the facilities upgrade.

The group began fundraising for the DHS makeover in December. The upgrade to the office was completed with the assistance of a number of  individuals and  some local companies, like Top Hydraulics.

“Since November, we have hosted a handful of other activities while doing the fundraising for the makeover. Every Child will continue to be involved in recruiting and supporting foster families and respite care workers, offering training, support and hospitality to DHS staff,” Coontz said.

The visitation room now has new furniture and an improved seating area for clients.

There is also a new section of the room with games, books and drawing materials. This area is used to assist with interviews and to help children acclimate to the stresses associated with discussing and overcoming difficult  family issues.

For more information

on Every Child, contact [email protected]

The Central Coast Resource Center DHS office is open Monday to Friday. It provides help with food benefits, cash for families, child care assistances and refugee services.

For more information, call 541-997-8251.


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