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Posted on: August 22, 2019

Chesterfield County Receives Visit from Martha Okafor

Social Services 

August 22, 2019

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — Today, the Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Department of Social Services hosted Martha Okafor, Ph.D., the regional administrator for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Region 3, which covers Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Okafor’s visit to Chesterfield County was prompted by the ACF’s recognition of the county as a model for social services programs and initiatives. Several innovative initiatives recently developed by the county yielded significantly positive outcomes for local children and families.

These Chesterfield County programs and initiatives include:

  • Chesterfield Employment Center, which offers a variety of employment-related services to interested citizens, including resources fairs, on-site pop-up employer recruitment, job lead distribution list, monthly workshops and short-term case management. Specific engagement efforts have been made with citizens receiving benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Medicaid Expansion.
  • Partnerships with Virginia’s Kids Belong and the national Forgotten Initiative program, which provides critical support to families served in the child welfare system. Several outcomes include the creation of a foster parent recruitment and support network, recognition events for child welfare staff, trauma-informed efforts to support child welfare staff, summer camp for children in foster care and support for relative caregivers and parents caring for children at risk of foster care or the subject of a valid child protective services abuse and/or neglect referral.
  • Local efforts to address the recruitment/retention within the child welfare workforce, which include a compensation study, the creation of a staff-led Trauma Informed Leadership Team, the creation of a special location for staff to decompress following exposure to a traumatic event and the development of a departmental internship program in collaboration with local colleges and universities.

Okafor was hosted by Sarah Snead, deputy county administrator for Human Services, and Kiva Rogers, director of Social Services.

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