Programs

For most people, the Holiday Season is full of hope and happiness, but for children in foster care and group homes, the holidays can feel sad and lonely.  In an effort to make the holidays a little brighter for children who cannot be with their families, the New Hanover County Department of Social Services, New Hanover County Department of Human Resources and the Guardian Ad Litem Association have partnered to bring gifts and good cheer to these very special children. During the month of October, children in foster care will create wish lists which are then attached to a Gingerbread boy or girl and placed on one of three Christmas trees. The children are primarily under the age of 18 years, however, we have a few children who have remained in DSS custody until the age of 21 so that they can pursue educational or vocational goals.  People from the community then select the gingerbread boys and girls from the tree and purchase gifts for the children. Each lists identifies the child’s sex and age, and of course their wishes. Unwrapped gifts are returned to the agency and delivered for the children.  We also accept financial donations so that we can provide gifts to any children whose wish list was not selected from the tree.  For more information, please contact Alice Moore at amoore@nhcgov.com or (910) 798-3566.

Why Do We Need You?

Church congregations already serve families in various ways and are vital resources in our community.

Faith-based organizations have unique strengths that agencies cannot duplicate. They hold the trust of their community, neighbors and leaders. Most importantly; they hold the sense of mission from which their work translates into a unique approach to service delivery, a dedication of service to others, and a cultural awareness of issues and relationships specific to their surroundings.

How Can You Support and Strengthen the Community?

Some opportunities for ministry:

  • Faith Community Fund: donate money to be used to assist clients in need.
  • Adopt-a-Family: volunteer to mentor a family in our Work First Program.
  • Summer Camp Opportunities: donate money to allow foster children the opportunity to attend camp.
  • Luggage Program: donate luggage to foster children.
  • Foster Children Christmas Party: donate money for this annual event.
  • Foster & Adoptive Parent: become a foster or adoptive parent to children in need.
  • Adopt-a- Foster Child for Christmas: volunteer to provide Christmas gifts for a child.
  • Life Guide: provide support as a mentor to a child aging out of foster care.
  • Assist Foster Parents: offer church facilities for training; support foster parents in your congregation.
  • Backpack Program: provide new school backpacks for children in foster care.
  • School Supplies: provide school supplies for children in foster care.
  • Photo Albums: provide new photo albums for foster & adoptive children to make their own personal Life Books.

For more information contact:
Angelina Bernard, Community Services Coordinator (910) 798-3710
New Hanover County Department of Social Services
1650 Greenfield St. P.O. Drawer 1559
Wilmington, N.C. 28402

Background

Data on welfare participants reveal a clear link between under education and chronic, intergenerational welfare dependency. The Reading for Results program began in January 2005 as a collaborative effort between the New Hanover County Department of Social Services (DSS) and the new Hanover County Public Schools to address this issue. Serving children and families who utilize DSS Prevention and Child Welfare Services, the goal of the program is to promote family literacy and encourage family participation in their child’s learning. Initially the NHC Public Schools provided training to DSS social workers on reading techniques, choosing age appropriate books and building vocabulary and oral language. With an ongoing goal of promoting early literacy skills in “at-risk” children in New Hanover County, the Reading for Results program continues to serve children and families receiving services through DSS Prevention and Child Welfare units.

Vision

The vision for the Reading for Results program is to assist in breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy by encouraging reading, enhancing oral and language proficiency, and developing early literacy skills. Starting Right: A Guide to Promoting Children’s Reading Success (National Research Council, National Academy Press, 1999) states, “Strong language and literacy environments are especially effective for young children who need an extra boost to promote their later success in reading. It is especially important for children who live in low-income communities…”. Welfare reform data shows that people with strong basic education and literacy skill work and earn more than individuals with low skill level. In the Cape Fear Region, 24% of adults read at or below 5th grade level and 29% of adults read at or below 8th grade level. These stats tell us that over 50% of adults read at or below age level. Fostering family literacy in the everyday activities of these families will assist low income individuals in providing more positive interaction with their children, will ultimately help deter intergenerational poverty, and will bring about the child’s future academic success thus addressing inadequate literacy skills later in life.

Goals

The goals of the program are to encourage reading through increased access to age appropriate books within the family unit and improve the worker-client relationship between DSS social workers and the families in need of our services.

This program is based on a meet, model and motivate concept:

  • Meet: Families are met by staff at either DSS or in their homes. DSS clients receive an initial visit by their social worker who introduces the program to them to determine the family’s interest.
  • Model: When the program is first introduced to the DSS client, social workers will model basic reading and literacy skills learned from the new Hanover County Schools training session. They will also give the family one free, new, age appropriate book per child when they conduct the home visit. At subsequent visits, additional books will be given to each child.
  • Motivate: Each parent served by Reading for Results will participate in or learn about creative ways to motivate young readers. When a child and family are met in the home, DSS staff will share ideas with the family members on how to make reading fun. In addition, by giving the books to the family, the parents will have the resources and opportunity to read with their children, increasing not only literacy but creativity and imagination.

If you would like to make a difference in a child’s life, please send new books or a check in any amount to:

NHC Dept. of Social Services
Reading for Results
P.O. Drawer 1559
Wilmington, N.C. 28402

For more Information call:
Angelina Bernard @ 798-3710

Our Children Need Your Support

You can help give our children the opportunity for an unforgettable camp experience. They will certainly be enriched with positive energy. They will learn new things and make new friends. This experience is desperately needed for our children who have had serious family problems. Unfortunately, we have a large number of children who have been abused or neglected who are now living in foster homes or with relatives. The cost for camp is $100/week for one child.

If you would like to make a difference in a child’s life, please send a check in any amount to:

NHC Dept. of Social Services
Summer Camp
P.O. Drawer 1559
Wilmington, N.C. 28402

For more Information call:
Angelina Bernard @ 798-3710

LifeGuide is a mentoring program that offers individual’s ages 16 to 21 years old a caring adult to give support and life-skills education as they transition to adulthood. The needs of the youth vary from budgeting and seeking employment to finding an apartment and cooking.

For this to be a successful program, we need community volunteers to work on a one-on-one basis with individuals. All youth referred are in need of a caring adult in their lives to serve as friends and mature role models. Qualities of caring, consistency and understanding are important and necessary characteristics in all of our volunteers.

Volunteers will receive training from the Program Coordinator and learn the responsibilities of becoming a mentor to a young adult.

Make a difference in someone’s life; become a volunteer

The LifeGuide program will begin in partnership with the New Hanover County Department of Social Services with the potential to develop into a stand-alone non-profit organization.

CONTACT US TODAY:
New Hanover County Department of Social Services
1650 Greenfield Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone: 798-3503
Fax: 798-3563
lhuffman@nhcgov.com

A comprehensive program created to assist in removing barriers for noncustodial parents who pay child support. You must have a open child support case to participate in this program. The program goals are to increase child support payments and encourage fathers to have a positive relationship with their child/children. For more information contact Angelina Bernard @ (910) 798-3710 or Larry Mays and Sylvester Ballard @(910)798-3554.

Social Services: 1650 Greenfield Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-3400 • Fax 910-798-7824