ABC's and 123's:

A Blog by Action for Children

IMPACT STORIES: Children Services Hub


All children deserve to have safe, nurturing home environments to grow up in. But not all children get to experience that. In Ohio, there are 16,000 children in the foster care system. 4,200 of them are in Franklin County and the six surrounding counties that Action for Children serves. Action for Children is aiming to change that by supporting and empowering foster, adoptive, and kinship parents to meet the needs of children across central Ohio.

For families who choose to explore alternative care, it’s often a complicated process. There are a myriad of agencies to choose from, a wide range of sometimes conflicting information, and many ups and downs throughout. No matter the stage in the process, having a listening ear, a partner to help navigate available resources, and flexible, individualized support can be a game changer for families who may not otherwise become licensed. For Matt and Laura, Bethany, and Nikki and Nicholas, Action for Children has been the partner they needed to take the next steps in their fostering and adoption journeys.

Nikki and Nicholas

Nikki and Nicholas knew they wanted children, but also knew they couldn’t have any of their own. In their first meeting with Jenny, a Family and Community Support Specialist at Action for Children, Nikki and her husband were surprised by how many roads there were to adoption. “We thought it was very cut and dry, but it is not!” Nikki shared. This was just the beginning. When it came to getting licensed, the process proved challenging and confusing until they received guidance from Action for Children. “There were a bunch of hoops that we had to jump through that we had no idea existed and weren’t being explained well,” Nikki explained. When they shared the situation with Jenny, she immediately began building bridges for open communication with the couple’s chosen agency, speeding up the process and encouraging the couple to stay the course. “With Jenny’s help, we were able to get past the communication barriers and stay with the adoption agency that we selected,” Nikki said.

Since that initial meeting, the support that they’ve received from Action for Children has motivated them to keep going. “Get somebody on your side like Action for Children. It’s a very overwhelming process and there are times where you will feel alone,” Nikki shared. “We know that Action for Children will continue to be in our corner to listen to us and support us, and that has been a big help.”


Two years into their journey to welcome children into their blended home, Bethany and her husband found themselves in a situation similar to Matt and Laura’s. Despite working with a third party for over two years, they found the process extremely difficult and were devastated when they were dropped from the third party agency with any notice.

In what felt like a last-ditch effort, Bethany found Action for Children through a national adoption website, and was put in touch with Linnae, another Family and Community Support Specialist at Action for Children. Linnae helped Bethany expand her options and get her licensed for fostering and adoption with a reliable agency that she’s still with today. “It doesn’t hurt to just ask for information – find a partner,” Bethany shared. “Linnae has been not only a mentor, but also a friend to lean on. She helped us find our way.”

Matt & Laura

When it comes to foster, adoptive, and kinship care, questions can still linger even after choosing a route to pursue – and Action for Children is here for that too. Matt, who is himself an adoptee, and his wife Laura, knew that they weren’t done growing their family after the birth of their first son. When they met Jenny, they had already decided that fostering or domestic adoption was the right path for them to expand their family but were unsure about what that might look like in reality.

Their first video chat with Jenny was a major turning point. “She listened to our thoughts, concerns and questions, and made it an open and inclusive environment for us to ask anything.” Matt shared. “I struggle with anxiety and one of the concerns I brought up was cross-transference. Jenny was graceful and wonderful in her response.” Throughout their time together, Jenny provided more than just resources and a listening ear. She helped them focus on the key goal of providing children with safe, loving environments – even if it’s temporary – empowering the couple to move forward knowing they could provide that and more.

Matt and Laura have since accepted a foster placement and welcomed two little girls into their home. Their son has been loving it, and he’s not alone! “We’ve gotten to be supportive and create a fun environment for them. It’s a privilege to play a part in their journey and create a somewhat redemptive experience,” Matt said. “With Action for Children, we received reassurance and connections to resources to prepare us above and beyond what we could’ve expected.”

Learn more about Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Care

Action for Children is committed to helping families learn more about these critical caregiving roles! Here are a few resources we suggest:

  1. Children Services Hub at Action for Children
  2. It Takes Heart Ohio website
  3. Eye on the Community interview with Jenny and Linnae
  4. BLOG: Kinship Care (Action for Children)
  5. BLOG: How You can Make A Difference Through Fostering (Action for Children)
  6. BLOG: 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Fostering in Ohio (Action for Children)

Author: Christiana Sallard, Marketing & Communications Manager at Action for Children
Action for Children would also like to thank Nikki, Nicholas, Bethany, Matt, and Laura for sharing their stories.
Action for Children’s foster, kinship, and adoption support services are an initiative of the Ohio Department of Children and Youth and are locally supported by Action for Children. Learn More.

Action for Children is the local child care resource and referral agency for central Ohio, and is committed to assuring quality early learning experiences for all children. Our services focus on transforming the lives of children by supporting the everyday heroes who most influence our children’s early growth; care givers, educators, parents, and guardians. Learn More. 

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