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Fall 2012

L. I. N. K. INSIDE Get Involved A Taste for Art Family Photos Leslie’s Letter ...and more!

Adoption Through the Generations


annah Draper believes in the power of creating families through adoption, which makes sense, since adoption is a tradition in her family. Hannah was adopted as an infant through the Children’s Bureau (which is now Children & Families First), her mother was adopted as a young girl in Dover, and her grandmother was adopted too. Now it seems that even her great-grandmother may have been adopted as well. Hannah loves to talk about adoption, and was excited to let her mother take the spotlight to share her own story. Jane Draper, born in Crisfield, Maryland, was the daughter of an Eastern Shore waterman. Her birth mother grew weary of life on the water, so moved out with Jane and her younger brother to a small house by the railroad tracks when Jane was just 3-years-old. She says, “If it weren’t for the men on the trains, my brother

and I would have starved to death. They made sure we had food and milk.” One day, a social worker, Mrs. Rawlins, came and placed her with a new family, who loved her dearly and offered her wonderful opportunities. In fact, Jane was one of the first women to graduate from the Law School of William and Mary. In Hannah’s words, “It was a real rags to riches story.” Sadly, Jane has never learned what happened to her baby brother. When Hannah and her partner Debbie Jones were ready to become parents themselves, calling Children & Families First was only natural, thanks to Hannah’s personal connection with the agency. The couple began working with Mike McHugh, a social worker in CFF’s Foster Care and Adoption Unit. Hannah and Debbie were open to parenting all different kinds of children, but were clear on one detail: the children had to be school-aged.  So when Mike called looking for a placement for three school-aged brothers, Hannah and Debbie were ready. That placement only lasted 24-hours – the birth father was able to take the boys. Not long after, Mike called asking Hannah and Debbie to provide respite for three school-aged sisters – but again, the placement was short-lived. Mike wasn’t about to give up – he knew the right match would come along. In spite of the couple’s stated restriction against young children, Mike called them about a 2-year-old boy and his 8-year-old sister. Hannah and Debbie didn’t think twice about it – without even seeing a picture of the kids, they agreed to open their home. They met the kids for the first time on July 21, 2010, and by the time school started that fall, the siblings, Hayden and Elizabeth, were with them full-time. On January 1, 2012, Hannah and Debbie were among the first couples to have a civil union when Delaware’s new law went into effect. On January 18, 2012, Hayden and Elizabeth’s adoption was finalized. The household bustles with activity. Hayden wakes up from a nap, and starts playing with action figures. Elizabeth hops off the bus with a smile, ready to have her picture taken. And remember how Hannah and Debbie only wanted school-aged children? They are now proud foster parents to a 6-week-old baby boy. As we gather three generations of adoptees – Jane, Hannah, and Elizabeth (pictured above) – under the blooming crape myrtle in the front yard, we take a moment to marvel at the wonder of family.

For more information on adoption, visit our website at

GETINVOLVED There are many ways

Children & Families First

invites you to a party (for a great cause!)

you can support Donate to our annual

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

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:


Children & Families First:

October 19, 2012 6–9pm, The Clubhouse at Baywood Greens

A unique culinary and creative arts experience! Savor signature dishes showcased by local restaurants. Mingle among the works of local artisans. Relax among friends. Shop 'til you drop. The place to be for a perfect evening! of art sales benefit Children & Families First

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit:


Diapers | Baby formula | New baby clothes New toys | New/gently used children’s bicycles New elementary school uniforms (sizes 5-14) for the Eastside Community School project

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

Give the gift of

Can you believe another year has come and gone? Our families continue to grow and change!

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

e’d like to invite you and your family to be part of Children & Families First’s upcoming Family Photo Album. Talented (and beloved!) local photographer Elisa Komins Morris donates her time to take beautiful family photos in a gorgeous outdoor setting, Rockwood Park and Museum! Photos of participating families are compiled in a keepsake album distributed in the spring. 100% of the sitting fees are donated directly to Children & Families First. Contact Joy Smoker at (302) 777-9768 or for more info or to book a sitting. Above photo: The Woods Family

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 goods and/or time to help children and families in Delaware! Clockwise from top left: Daryl Graham of JPMorgan Chase presents a supply-filled backpack to Stubbs Elementary school principal, Merridith Murray, and a student. Over 2,000 children in the Christina School District received backpacks thanks to JPMorgan Chase and a host of partners; AstraZeneca volunteers stuff backpacks with school supplies for Warner and Shortlidge Elementary Schools; Volunteers from Fluor Corporation donate backpacks for the new school year; The Secret Pals group at Bay Crossing in Lewes donate handmade blankets and personal items; ING DIRECT volunteers help get our Eastside Community School, Bancroft Elementary, spruced up and off to a great start!


J. THOMPSON BROWN AWARDS! NOVEMBER 13, 6-8PM $55 PER PERSON, LOCATION TBD This year we’re presenting the J. Thompson Brown Award to Rep. Terry Schooley for her commitment to strengthening family life. We’ll honor Patricia Dailey Lewis, Esq. with the Muriel E. Gilman Family Advocacy Award for her advocacy efforts on behalf of children & families.

THANKS TO YOUR SUPPORT in 2011, we helped strengthen thousands of children and families.

With YOUR help, we: •cared for 161 children in our welcoming foster homes... •helped 887 children in the Eastside Community Schools get afterschool programming, cultural enrichment, mentoring & more... •taught 20,698 teens about healthy behaviors & pregnancy prevention...and SO MUCH MORE!

We’d love to count on your support during our 2012 Friends Campaign! Together we can make 2012 brighter for children & families in Delaware!



f you’re at all like me, you have vivid memories of the first day of school….the smell of fall leaves in the air, a backpack filled with pencils and composition books slung over your shoulder, and butterflies in your stomach. As you can see in the wonderful photos on the opposite page, hundreds of Wilmington elementary students had special help getting ready for school this year, so that they could create memories of their own. Volunteers from across the state helped collect backpacks and school supplies, and others came out to spruce up the school buildings and grounds. What a great way to help students start off the new school term. Our Eastside Community Schools project has been working with the Christina School District in three Wilmington elementary schools since 2009 – elementary schools with high levels of poverty in neighborhoods with alarming rates of crime and violence. We have an incredible array of partners – local and national funders, school officials, parents, non-profit partners, and more – working together to create schools where children are ready and able to learn, where parents are valued as partners in education, and where neighbors have pride in their community. We are proud of the progress that we have made, but even prouder of the strides that our students are making. We can see improvement in DCAS scores and report cards for the children participating in afterschool, mentoring, and other services offered at our schools. For example, in 2011-2012, 66% of students participating in identified ECS services met or exceeded standards for the Reading DCAS, as compared to 43% of kids in the school overall. In addition, the number of individuals we touched through our ECS program doubled this past year, to include almost 2,200 members of Wilmington’s Eastside Community. Parents and community members are more engaged in the schools through recreational, instructional, and vocational training opportunities. Like our students and families, we have learned many lessons along the way, lessons that extend beyond the classroom walls. We are pleased to have the opportunity to share some of these lessons with new partners. We have joined forces with the Red Clay Consolidated School District, and will begin providing services at Warner Elementary this fall. Warner, located just around the corner from our Baynard Boulevard location, has nearly 600 students, more than 88% of whom are low-income. We are hiring a Site Coordinator to develop services and supports to improve student performance and parent engagement, and Big Brothers Big Sisters will be hiring a Mentoring Coordinator to bring quality mentoring services to students in need. We hope to be able to bring similar services to Shortlidge Elementary in early 2013. We are excited to keep learning. Thanks for your support.



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


Thomas P. Collins, Esq., Chair Jennifer B. Jonach, Vice Chair Katy Connolly, Secretary Peter A. Hazen, Treasurer Paul McCommons, Assistant Treasurer


Aguida Atkinson, M.D. Sandra H. Autman Jessica C. Bain Don C. Brown P. Clarkson Collins, Jr., 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 Nancy Karibjanian Ted Kaufman James G. Klabe, Jr. John W. Land Catherine LaPenta Ellen K. Levin Anthony J. Lewis Casey McCabe Paul McCommons Shauna B. McIntosh, M.D. James H. McMackin, III, Esq. Wilma Mishoe, Ed.D. Heather A. O’Connell Brian G. Pettyjohn Barbara S. Ridgely, Ed.D. Kim Zeitler Robbins John F. Schmutz, Esq. Janice Rowe Tigani, Esq. Lee A. Wheeler

ADVISORY BOARD Angela B. Case Mary Jo Chandler Karen D. Doherty Megan T. Goeller Pauline D. Koch Jane P. Maroney Robert R. Meade Stephen M. Mockbee Elizabeth T.B. Pierson Gilbert S. Scarborough III Joanne K. Sundheim, Esq. K. Jean Williams

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


Leslie Newman

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.




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.

Fall 2012 Community L.I.N.K  

Children & Families First's Fall 2012 Newsletter

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