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Fall 2013

L. I. N. K.

INSIDE: Get Involved; Family Photos; Thank You, Volunteers; How YOU helped in 2012; Leslie’s Letter...and more!

A Day in the Life of the FAIR program The FAIR (Family Assessment and Intervention Response) program is a partnership between Children & Families First and the Delaware Division of Family Services, working to prevent teens from entering the foster care system. FAIR workers focus on each family’s individual strengths and needs using two model programs – Family Keys and Functional Family Therapy.


eing a FAIR caseworker isn’t a 9-to-5 kind of job. It’s an on-call, working late, working early, working whenever-the-client-needs-you kind of job. In contrast to many 9-to-5 jobs, where the majority of time is spent in the office in front of a computer or in meetings, most of a FAIR caseworker’s time is spent in the field. This means a typical day is spent driving to multiple locations and meeting at the homes and schools of a number of clients. We recently spent the day with one FAIR caseworker, Leah Gilliam, to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the FAIR program. In most cases, Leah and other members of the FAIR team work as mediators with parents/guardians and teens who are struggling to communicate effectively and coexist peacefully. The main goal is simple: keep families together and keep teens out of foster care. Here’s a snapshot of what it’s like working this hectic yet rewarding schedule: Monday, September 23, 11:00 am: Leah arrives at our Wilmington office to begin her day. It’s going to be a long one, so she was able to flex her time and arrive later than the typical 9am start time. She goes through emails, makes calls and organizes everything she’ll need for today’s scheduled visits. 11:30 am: Leah heads to a local correctional facility for her first appointment with a troubled teen and his father. Part of Leah’s job is to assess the youth, to measure the severity of the parent-child conflict and determine if the child has suicidal tendencies, is abusing drugs, or is living in an abusive or otherwise unsafe environment. For the most part, Leah meets with low-risk families who can be helped with counseling and resource assessment. There are times, however, when she needs to refer higher risk clients to our Functional Family Therapy (FFT) program, where families are provided with extensive coaching and support to achieve and maintain positive change. In extreme cases, Leah will refer the family to the Department of Family Services (DFS).

Above: Leah has an office in one of our Wilmington locations – but more often than not, you’ll find her in an agency vehicle on her way to visit with clients.

2:00 pm: Leah’s second appointment is at William Penn High School. “I help families who are having a difficult time with their teens, increase their support networks and utilize family members to prevent foster care involvement. In this case, I’m helping a legal guardian transfer guardianship of a teen to another family member,” Leah explains. With this, comes a change of address for the teen and thus, a change of school district. Leah is here to support her client and ensure a smooth transition for this child into her new school, William Penn. “Leah’s been wonderful,” says Ishia, the guardian. “Changes are stressful and her support has been very helpful.” 3:00 pm–8 pm: Leah’s final two appointments for the day are family meetings where she helps mediate between parents, children and siblings. These meetings tend to involve quite a few people, so they take the remainder of her day to complete. At the end of the day, Leah is certainly tired – but also fulfilled. In only one day, she has helped a number of families who are in desperate need of support. Leah’s work is very important in keeping a family together, maintaining the integrity of what is often a fragile and complicated structure. The smiling faces of Leah’s clients clearly indicate positive results and their gratitude for Leah’s hard work. All of us are grateful too. For more info on the FAIR program, visit:

GETINVOLVED There are many ways

you can support Children & Families First: Donate to our annual

Friends Campaign, which directs your gift dollars to where they are needed most.

Create memories! Support a great cause! Join us for


e a part of Children & Families First’s upcoming Family Photo Album. Capture your family’s special moments while helping other families in need! Talented local photographer Elisa Komins Morris donates her time to take beautiful family photos in a gorgeous setting— White Oak Landscapes! Photos of participating families are compiled into a keepsake album distributed at our Spring 2014 annual fundraising event, A Taste for Art. Additional photos may be purchased directly from the photographer and make great gifts!

100% of the sitting fees benefit Children & Families First! APPOINTMENTS:

9:45am–4pm (15 minute sittings) LOCATION DATES (rain or shine):

Oct. 20; Nov. 3; Nov. 10; and Fri., Nov. 29 19 Owls Nest Road | Wilmington, DE 19807 To schedule your appointment, get more info, or view our most recent Family Album go to Click on Events/Upcoming Events. Or Call Karen Graham at (302) 479-1583 Above: The Cartwright Family

Consider making plans for a bequest!

Find out more at Support the United Way

Designate a gift to C&FF through: • United Way of Delaware: #299 (partner agency) • United Way of Southeastern PA: #1466 • Combined Federal Campaign of DE: #50028 • State Employee Charitable Campaign: #50300

Donate critically needed items such as: Diapers | Baby formula | New baby clothes New toys | New/gently used children’s bicycles New elementary school uniforms (sizes 5-14) for the Community Schools project

Shirts (polo or button down, in white, navy, or light blue) Pants/shorts/skirts/jumpers (in navy blue, khaki) Sweaters (crewneck, v-neck, or cardigan, in navy blue)

Give the gift of


Become a Children & Families First volunteer! Our team of volunteers is made up of people like you, who give the gift of time to help us help Delawareans in need. Opportunities change frequently, so please contact our volunteer coordinator, Kathie Stamm, at (302) 777-9762 or

It’s not just our name,


Healthy Babies | Early Childhood | Supporting Teens | Positive Parenting Family Resources | The Workplace | Older Adults

WWW.CFFDE.ORG | (800) 220-3092 Children & Families First strengthens Delaware families by delivering an innovative and effective continuum of community-based social services. In existence for more than 125 years, CFF builds the foundation for strong communities with child-centered and family-focused programs.

THANK YOU to all of

the volunteers who donated school supplies to help children and families in Delaware! Clockwise from top left: Volunteers from AstraZeneca, DuPont, JPMorgan Chase, Fluor Corporation, and many others supplied backpacks and supplies galore for children in our Community Schools programs.

THANKS TO YOUR SUPPORT in 2012, we helped strengthen thousands of children and families.

With YOUR help: of babies born in the Nurse Family Partnership program had a healthy birth weight, a significant indicator of infant health. of teens discharged from Seaford House went to a level or less-restrictive placement. of special needs adoptions were finalized without disruptions.

We’d love to count on your support during our 2013 Friends Campaign! Together we can make 2013 brighter for children & families in Delaware! To view our full 2012 Annual Report and see more of your efforts in action, visit:




his has been an exciting few months for Children & Families First. Thanks to some new opportunities, we will be able to help more children and families than ever. Here are just a few highlights….

NOVEMBER 19TH, 6PM at the Barclays Rock Center

125 South West Street, Wilmington, DE 19801

Please join us as we honor Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn with the 2013 J. Thompson Brown award and the Delaware Youth Advisory Council with the 2013 Muriel E. Gilman Family Advocacy award. For ticket information, contact Karen Graham at (302) 479-1583 or

WE’RE A TOP WORKPLACE! For the third year in a row, Children & Families First has been recognized as a top workplace in delaware by The News Journal. This year, we placed in the top 10 mid-sized companies and were the only non-profit to place in the top 5! We are so proud of this accomplishment! To view job openings in our offices, visit:

SAVE THE DATE DECEMBER 3, 2013 Children & Families First is proud to partner with #GivingTuesday! #GivingTuesday is a special call to action and creates a national day of giving around the annual shopping and spending season to inspire giving every day.

In keeping with our belief that all children deserve to be raised in a loving, supportive home, we are partnering with the Division of Family Services to stabilize and strengthen families: FAIR (Family Assessment and Intervention Response) serves families with teens who are at risk for being placed in foster care following a report to the Child Abuse Hotline. Families voluntarily agree to receive services in the community using two evidence-based models: Family Keys and Functional Family Therapy. (Our cover story profiled Leah Gilliam in this program.) Parent Aide services, which launched in August, will target families to either prevent their children from entering care or to help them reunify from care. Trained parent coaches will work closely with parents using tested service-delivery models developed by the Devereux Foundation. Our Community Schools programming, which started in three elementary schools in the Christina School District in 2009, continues to expand. We are now offering services in the Red Clay and Seaford School Districts as well, serving children and families at four additional schools. We are grateful to dedicated partners like JPMorgan Chase, Capital One, Bank of America, and the United Way for their support in helping students and families succeed. We’re making improvements at our Seaford House Residential and Day Treatment Center. Operating in its current location since 2000, Seaford House has experienced the wear and tear you might expect at a facility serving teenagers. Thanks to the generosity of local funders that include the Crestlea Foundation, the Delaware Community Foundation, the Ernest E. Stempel Foundation, the Welfare Foundation, and Chicks for Charity, plus a cadre of excited volunteers, we’ll be make significant upgrades and updates to the building – all to create a safe, welcoming, and intellectually stimulating environment for the teens we serve. We continue to look forward, seeking opportunities to meet the needs of children and families in Delaware in new ways. We are honored to be part of such a vibrant, caring community, and we’re thankful for your support. Children and Families First… it’s not just our name, it’s our promise! Best,

Leslie Newman CEO

For more information on Children & Families First, or to see how you can help, please visit our website at



2005 Baynard Boulevard Wilmington, DE 19802 New Castle County (302) 658-5177 Kent County (302) 674-8384 Sussex County (302) 856-2388


Jennifer B. Jonach, Chair Katy Connolly, Vice Chair Barbara S. Ridgely, Ed. D., Secretary Peter A. Hazen, Treasurer Paul L. McCommons, Assistant Treasurer


Sandra H. Autman Jessica C. Bain Sherry Brilliant Don C. Brown P. Clarkson Collins, Jr., Esq. Thomas P. Collins, Esq. Sally DeWees Gayle Dillman José F. Echeverri Veronica O. Faust, Esq. George W. Forbes III Gary M. Golden Patricia Walther Griffin, Esq.

N. Christopher Griffiths, Esq. Pamela E. Harper Betsy A. Holden Nancy Karibjanian James G. Klabe, Jr. Ellen K. Levin Anthony J. Lewis Casey E. McCabe Shauna B. McIntosh, M.D. James H. McMackin, III, Esq. Wilma Mishoe, Ed.D. Heather A. O’Connell Kim Zeitler Robbins John F. Schmutz, Esq. Gina S. Schoenberg, Esq. Janice Rowe Tigani, Esq. Lee A. Wheeler


Angela B. Case Mary Jo Chandler

Karen D. Doherty Megan T. Goeller Ted Kaufman Pauline D. Koch Hon. Jane P. Maroney Robert R. Meade Stephen M. Mockbee Elizabeth T.B. Pierson Gilbert S. Scarborough III Joanne K. Sundheim, Esq. K. Jean Williams

HONORARY BOARD Carol Harlan Aastad Max S. Bell, Jr., Esq. Joan McD. Connolly Dr. Lozelle J. DeLuz Glenn M. Engelmann, Esq. Katherine L. Esterly, M.D. Gloria S. Fine Carol A. Gausz

Larry D. Gehrke James H. Gilliam, Sr. Edward W. Goate, Ph.D. Susan A. Herrmann Hon. Mary M. Johnston John W. Land Stephen R. Permut, M.D. June Jenkins Peterson David B. Ripsom, Esq. Barbara F. Soulier


Leslie Newman




Children & Families First helps families develop solutions to meet challenges and embrace opportunities.

Communities where children are nurtured and safe, individuals are valued, and families are strong.

Healthy Babies | Early Childhood Positive Parenting | Supporting Teens Family Resources | Workplace Older Adults

It’s not just our name, it’s our promise

Children & Families First strengthens Delaware families by delivering an innovative and effective continuum of community-based social services. In existence for more than 125 years, CFF builds the foundation for strong communities with child-centered and family-focused programs.

Community L.I.N.K.  

CFF's Fall 2013 L.I.N.K.