With a heart-warming and inspiring vision of developing a healthy family for every child through education and support, The Children's Bureau stands out among its non-profit peers as an organization making a difference in our region and the rising generation.
By Kyle Morey, Madison County Chamber
Children's Bureau Director Jama Donovan and Team by Dale Pickett Photography
I like working for a non-profit. It brings some meaning to my day-to-day job of connecting business and creating commerce. It feels good at the end of the day when I reflect on the services we offer the business community, the recognition we give, and the bottom-line we can positively impact. I am often quoted saying that for a community to thrive it needs a thriving economy. I have come to learn that for a community to survive, it needs the support of our social-based non-profits! As much as I feel that we do a good service in this community as a chamber of commerce, I don't bring too many tears of gratitude to the faces of those I serve nor do I spend every hour fighting child abuse and other very critical social issues we face all around us.
That is why I am so excited about working with Nancy Vaughan at the United Way of Madison County to launch the first ever award honoring our incredible non-profits in Madison County! They all deserve recognition and applause! And who better to recognize as one of our first finalists than The Children's Bureau/Exchange Club Family Resource Center! With a 96% success rate in combating child abuse through their programming right here in Madison County, Children's Bureau served over 30,000 children and families across the state of Indiana. 30,000 children! Think of it. Can one even fathom the consequence of such work and the lives that will forever be touched? I am thrilled to see The Children's Bureau as a finalist and possible winner of the inaugural MCC Non-Profit of the Year award. I will be keeping my fingers crossed...
Interview with Director Jama Donovan
Kyle: What year was your organization founded?
Jama: Children’s Bureau was founded in 1851 and the Exchange Club Family Resource Center was founded in March 17, 1982. We joined forces and began delivering services together in 2003.
Kyle: What are the primary services and populations served?
Jama: The focus of the Center is parenting education in the hopes of reducing child abuse in our community. The programs currently offered in Madison County are: Supervised Visitation, Home-based Casework (Any Child), Home-based Therapy, Child Care Vouchers (CCDF), Fatherhood Engagement, Post Adoption support, Therapeutic Foster Care, Older Child, Safe Sleep and Community Partners for Child Safety. We provide preservation and prevention services for all of Madison County and have extended our services from the Center to Hamilton, Hancock and Tipton Counties. Our programs provide services to families with children prenatal to 18 year of age.
Kyle: What is your organization vision?
Jama: Our vision is “To develop a healthy family for every child.”
Kyle: What are the greatest challenges of your work?
Jama: The greatest challenge that we face is the tremendous number of families that are seeking help who have considerable needs in multiple areas of their lives who are coming to us at a time when we are challenged to try to we provide more services for them with less funds available for those services. There have been so many cuts to funding for the various services that are supporting children and families over the past several years that it is hard to find providers who have the capacity and funding to deliver needed services.
Kyle: What was your greatest achievement as an organization in 2012?
Jama: The greatest achievement for the Center in Madison County has been the continued growth in services that we provide to Madison County. Our home-based program has a 96% success rate with having no substantiations of child abuse or neglect while in our programs.
For the Children’s Bureau as a whole 2012 was a wonderful year. We were fortunate to have served more than 30,000 children and their families across the state of Indiana through delivering a combination of prevention services, community based intervention services (like home-based counseling), foster care, shelter care, transitional services for youth aging out of the child welfare system and residential services for children and youth with significant needs.
Kyle: What are your organization goals for 2013?
Jama: It is our goal to continue to support families and children across the State of Indiana, and specifically in Madison County by providing effective services to assist families in becoming self-sufficient, confident in their parenting skills and their abilities to appropriately care for their children. We also plan to continue to educate the communities that we serve regarding Child Abuse Prevention throughout the coming year. In 2012, our agency served more than 30,000 children across the state, we plan to continue to increase that number by seeking additional contracts and grants that will allow us to better serve our communities.
As an organization, the Children’s Bureau is working toward expanding the scope of our services in some of our services areas to expand the use of evidence-based practices to more effectively treat children and youth who have suffered traumatic events in their lives such as sexual abuse, domestic violence and the traumatic loss of caregivers. We are also investing in implementing a model called Trauma Informed Care throughout the organization to ensure that our approach to caring for children and their families is more sensitive to understanding the challenges and traumas that so many of them have experienced.
We would also like to improve our use of technology to provide improved efficiencies for the staff, foster families and families that we serve to improve our outcomes and the financial performance of our agency.
Kyle: What would be your ideal vision of your organization in 2025?
Jama: The ideal vision for our agency would be what our vision is and that is: “To develop a healthy family for every child.” We would like to help be a leader in identifying trends and unmet needs in the community and how to identify the solutions to the issues that families in our county and state face. To see prevention services to be in the fore front and putting dollars in preventing the maltreatment of children before the problem arises. I envision us continuing to be a leader of education and support of families and the community.
Kyle: Why Madison County?
Jama: We chose to serve Madison County because this Center was created by the people that work and live in this community. The Center was created by people who want to protect children and support families. The community in Madison County has taken an active interest in preventing child abuse and it is our privilege to be a part of the solution by joining forces with other individuals and agencies in this community in that effort. It is also consistent with the mission and vision of the Children’s Bureau to assist communities by providing the services to support and educate families by helping them to develop the skills that they need to appropriately care for their children.
Kyle: What is one interesting fact about your organization that most people don’t know?
Jama: The first fundraiser that occurred to help fund the creation of the Center was a radio auction.
Kyle: What single word best describes the culture or attitude of your organization?
Kyle: Mac or PC in your offices?
Jama: PC-will be moving towards laptops for the staff that are the field.
About the Award
Developed with the guidance of United Way of Madison County, the Non-Profit of the Year award honors a non-profit agency serving Madison County that makes a positive community impact, employs accountable business practices, has an engaged board and strong leadership, and values partnership and collaboration. In addition, the award will honor an agency that focuses its efforts on one or more of the three critical areas of education, income, and/or health outcomes.
The Children's Bureau, along with Second Harvest Food Bank and the YMCA of Madison County, will be honored as a finalist and possible winner of the 2012 Non-Profit of the Year. Winners of this award, as well as the Small Business and Emerging Business of the Year, will be announced at the Madison County Chamber's Annual Awards Gala held on February 28, 2013 from 6 to 9 pm at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Anderson. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling Tina at 765-642-0264.