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Student Spotlight 2013 – 2016

The following students participated in the Mann Externship Program during the Spring 2013 – Spring 2016 semesters. This program, sponsored by Robert and Carol Mann, places students with area organizations to gain hands-on experience in the areas of research and policy related to child well-being. Thank you to all the organizations and individuals who supervised and mentored these students!

 

 

Spring 2013

Christie Ellis (center) with externship supervisors Elizabeth Cornachione (left) and Joan Englund (right), Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition.

Christie Ellis was placed with the Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition (MHAC) and supervised by Joan Englund and Elizabeth Cornachione. During the semester, she researched many different areas of policy ranging from programs that revolved around children and mental health, such as the BEACON project and closely following the Attorney General’s child safety summits on foster children. Her largest project dealt with Governor Kasich’s budget, and the (at the time) impending discussion in the Ohio House of Representatives regarding Medicaid expansion.

The Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition (MHAC) fosters education and awareness of mental health and addiction issues while advocating for public policies and strategies that support effective, well-funded services, systems and supports for those in need, resulting in stronger Ohio communities.

“I was exposed to a variety of policy players who shared concerns about mental health policy and I was able to fully appreciate the impact that each player can have. In the future, I would like to begin a professional career revolving around advocacy work so that I can someday influence policy.”

Fall 2013

 

Srita Chakka (center) with externship supervisor, Trista Piccola (right), and Patricia Rideout, Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services

Srita Chakka was placed with the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services and supervised by Trista Piccola. Srita analyzed survey data to create a snapshot of older foster youth transitioning from foster care and their struggles as they deal with life after care. She compiled all the data in a meaningful format and was able to report out the findings to an internal committee. In addition, Srita identified some policy recommendations for improving youth experiences as they transition out of foster care. She also attended social worker trainings and various staff meetings to learn more about serving this population.

The Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services is dedicated to assuring that children at risk of abuse and neglect are protected and nurtured within a family and with the support of the community. The Division of Children and Family Services embraces the philosophy that children grow better in families and support this by keeping children close to their families whenever possible through neighborhood foster care. Their programs have the goal of stabilizing and reuniting families that have been weakened through poverty, illness or crisis, resulting in neglect of abuse to children.

“I was surrounded by people who genuinely care for kids, and this experience enabled me to explore my own interests and passions.”

Spring 2014

 

Eva Cuollo (right) with externship supervisor, Tamara Chapman-Wagner (left), Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services

 Eva Cuollo was placed at Cuyahoga Country Division of Children and Family Services, supervised by Tamara Chapman-Wagner, Deputy Director of Administrative Services. In addition to shadowing social workers answering the KIDS Hotline, she was a member of the agency Human Trafficking Taskforce, and conducted research determining how human trafficking affects children under agency custody. With this research, she found children whom are considered “high risk” for involvement with trafficking and gathered a set of common risk factors. She worked with the taskforce to create a new agency policy to help employees and social workers manage human trafficking cases, and provide for the victims. The Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services is dedicated to assuring that children at risk of abuse and neglect are protected and nurtured within a family and with the support of the community. The Division of Children and Family Services embraces the philosophy that children grow better in families and support this by keeping children close to their families whenever possible through neighborhood foster care. Their programs have the goal of stabilizing and reuniting families that have been weakened through poverty, illness or crisis, resulting in neglect of abuse to children.

I was included in the agency’s Human Trafficking Taskforce, and conducted research to determine how human trafficking affects children who came to the attention of our local child welfare agency.

 

Brittany Rattliff (right) with externship supervisor, Karin Wishner (left), International Services Center

Brittany Rattliff externed at the International Services Center under the supervision of Karin Wishner. During the externship, Brittany focused on the experiences of young adult and teenage refugees in both Cleveland and Lakewood City Schools. She wanted to know what drove them to either go directly into the American workforce or stay in school. She participated in case management activities including home visits and school enrollments and gained a deeper understanding of the importance of securing employment that will allow clients to become self-sufficient without stressing their families, as she found that some clients left school to help support their families.The International Services Center’s mission is to protect the rights and address the needs of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide and support their transition to a dignified life.

“My externship was an incredible experience. Working with staff and meeting directly with families new to this country gave me the opportunity to better understand not only what the refugee resettlement process is like, but also the unique challenges and experiences of children and young adult refugees.”

Spring 2015

Henry Barr (center-left) with externship supervisor, Constance Walker (left) and colleagues, Starting Point

Henry Barr completed his Mann Child Policy externship at Starting Point under the supervision of Constance Walker. His work at Starting Point was focused on the expansion of the Boys’ Project and researching best practices for out of school time. Due to the success of the Boys’ Project in early childcare, Starting Point was expanding their program to out of school time programs. Throughout this semester, Henry learned a lot about the child care services that exist in Cleveland, and about the efforts to quantify the impacts of these programs.Starting Point links families to programs and services that meet their children’s early care/education and related needs, and strengthens the community’s capacity to respond to those needs.

“The experiential learning provided by the Mann Externship guided me towards a career in special education.”

 

Jasmine High (left) with externship supervisor, Zulma Zabala, East End Neighborhood House

Jasmine High was placed at East End Neighborhood House (EENH) and operated under the supervision of Zulma Zabala, the CEO. Jasmine’s policy research was in the area of early care and education.  She reviewed the various practice standards and created a crosswalk comparing the policies the early childhood center was required to operate by, according to Cuyahoga County’s Universal Pre-K (UPK) program, Starting Point’s Step up to Quality, and the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland’s Head Start. EENH will be able to utilize this document in training new daycare staff, as well as for ensuring quality administration. From the crosswalk, Jasmine was able to identify areas where EENH could update written policies to be more consistent with the above programs. She also composed a research brief on UPK and its effectiveness, thus far, within Cleveland. In addition, Jasmine was able to help EENH staff plan for community outreach events, scheduled to take place in the summer and fall. The work Jasmine contributed was focused on the needs of the community members, such as affordable food options.East End Neighborhood House’s mission is to provide the families of our community culturally diverse and compassionate social services, education and activities so that each member—from child to senior—can become self sufficient and thrive.

“I really appreciated the give and take of my externship placement. I learned so much from my coworkers but also felt able to make meaningful contributions to the organization. I hope to take the knowledge I gained with me on my path to becoming a pediatric clinician.

Amanda Richardson (center) with externship supervisors Renee Edel (left) and Tim McDevitt (right), Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court

Amanda Richardson’s placement was at the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court under guidance of Tim McDevitt and Renee Edel in the probation department. During her placement, she was able to observe hearings and shadow key players including a juvenile judge, attorneys, detention center and diagnostic staff and others throughout the court. Her policy research involved alternatives to detention for youth with a focus on the CALM (Coordinated Approach to Low-risk Misdemeanors) diversion program. CALM is a pilot program designed to divert low-risk juveniles where police are responding to a domestic violence call and offer immediate support services to youth and families through a community program. Amanda compared outcomes of youth who participated in CALM to youth placed in the detention center for domestic violence offenses. Preliminary findings were promising and the court plans to use this information to expand CALM to service the entire county in the near future

The mission statement of the Juvenile Court of Cuyahoga County is to administer justice, rehabilitate juveniles, support and strengthen families and promote public safety.

“I will use the skills and knowledge gained through the Mann Child Policy Externship to address juvenile justice policy during my graduate studies.”

Spring 2016

Olga Nazarenko (right) with externship supervisors Rosemary Creeden (center) and Jennifer Johnson (left)

Olga Nazarenko gained first-hand experience working in child crisis situations while conducting mobile crisis case assessments. She also learned about trauma intervention programs in Cleveland as an Extern at Frontline Service under the supervision of Jennifer Johnson and Rosemary Creeden. She took part in local focus group sessions to collect survey data for a research study designed by the Mental Health Response Advisory Committee of the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County on police enforcement involvement in crisis situations in Cleveland.

Description of Placement Organization: FrontLine Services has a mission of reaching out to adults and children in Northeast Ohio to end homelessness, prevent suicide, resolve behavioral health crises, and overcome trauma.

It was a truly incredible opportunity to take part in the Mann Child Policy Externship and to work directly with professionals who design, implement, and are effected by policies that directly impact children and their families in the Cleveland community.

Lacie Parham (right) with externship supervisor, Sam Amata (left), Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court

Lacie Parham was placed with the Public Defender’s Office of the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court under the supervision of Sam Amata. During her externship, she had the opportunity to receive a firsthand look at the operations of the juvenile justice system. She researched and analyzed information for use in planning trainings to improve parent representation in Dependency, Neglect and Abuse cases. She also participated in interviews the parents to discuss possible placement of their children prior to arraignment hearings.

The Cuyahoga County Public Defender Office of the Juvenile Court provides legal services to indigent juveniles charged with violations of the criminal code.

This experience allowed me to step outside of my textbooks and see how the legal system affects real children. At times, it was difficult for me to witness some things, but the commitment of the Public Defenders showed me that someone cares and tries to do what is best for them.”

 

 

Page last modified: May 16, 2018