A Word from the Program Director
I want to start off by thanking all of you for the support and advocacy that you provided to Children’s Service Society of Utah (CSS): GRANDfamilies Program during the 2022 Legislative Session. With your support we received legislative funding to support the GRANDfamilies Program for fiscal year 2023. Although we did not receive the full amount that we asked for, the amount that we received helps bring us closer to meeting our budget needs to maintain all program services. Additionally, thanks to your support and advocacy we were able to be a part of House Bill 458 not passing. This bill sought to limit the rights of relatives to seek placement of a relative child in foster care, in addition to restricting the Division of Child and Family Services and the juvenile court system from giving preferential placement of children in care to relatives.

As we move closer to July, the start of the new fiscal year, we at CSS are working hard and applying for grants and contracts that if awarded, will not only allow for the continuation of existing program services, but hopefully we will be able to add some additional supports and services that have been asked for by the families that we serve. Additionally, we are pleased to announce that after years of hard work to expand the GRANDfamilies program to other parts of the state, we are preparing to open an office in St. George. Updates on when the office will be opened with the office location will be posted on our social media accounts and on our website.

Lastly, please join me in congratulating Children’s Service Society of Utah: GRANDfamilies Program in celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. We are working on setting up some fun events that will help us to celebrate this milestone with you. Please stay tuned!
Rich Johnston, CMHC
GRANDfamilies Program Director/Adoption Program Director
April is Strengthening Families Month
Each year in the month of April, Children’s Service Society joins other non-profit and child welfare agencies in raising awareness for child abuse prevention. This year, Utah child welfare agencies are shifting the focus from child abuse to strengthening families. Throughout the month of April, Children’s Service Society will be active on social media, educating the community on the 5 protective factors and suggesting activities that you can do at home to strengthen your family. Additionally, GRANDfamilies staff and clients will be displaying awareness signs in their yards so community members across the state will recognize April as Strengthening Families Month.

We invite you to follow along with us on Facebook and Instagram @cssutah and share our posts with your networks. Join us in promoting strong, healthy families. 

GRANDfamilies Director, Rich Johnston and Assistant Director, Alyssa Craven, spoke with ABC4 Utah following a press release by Children’s Service Society on April 1st. Visit https://cssutah.org/familystrengthening/ to view the recording and learn more about the special planting event we have coming up. 
Thank You to Our Donors!
Community Partner Spotlight
Help Me Grow Utah is an information and referral helpline available at no cost for all families in Utah that are pregnant or have children birth through 8 years old. Call or text Help Me Grow Utah at 801-691-5322 to connect with one of our Parent Support Specialists that will:
  • Answer questions about pregnancy, parenting, and child development
  • Send screenings for you to complete in-home to check on your child's development
  • Send screenings to check on moms emotional wellbeing during and after pregnancy
  • Connect you and your child to community resources that benefit your family
  • Sign up for our monthly newsletter full of children activities and resources
For more information, visit our website helpmegrowutah.org or call/text us at 801-691-5322.

Complete a free child development screening with your child under 6 years now here https://helpmegrowutah.org/your-developing-child/developmental-screening

Pregnant or had a baby in the last year? Complete a free emotional wellness screening here https://helpmegrowutah.org/your-developing-child/pregnancy
The Last Three Months, GRANDfamilies Completed...
Upcoming at Children's Service Society
Get to Know GRANDfamilies Staff
My real name is Ellissa, but I have always gone by Ellie. I am from Grantsville, UT out in Tooele County. My family is completely rooted there. Both sides of my family are there and will probably be there until they die lol. I started my education up in Logan at Utah State and then transferred. I just recently graduated from Utah Valley University in Family Science. I am married to my husband; Josh and we have been married for just over two years. I met him on my church mission in Southern Spain. I have five siblings, two older and three younger and we are all super close. I love the summer and despise the winter, however, I do love Christmas time. After that, the snow can go. I love dancing and have recently gotten into making cakes. I enjoy learning how to do it and it has become a fun hobby. I love watching new girl, the bachelor, and criminal minds. Me and my husband love to play games like catan, Yahtzee, goat lords and code names. I have a hard time watching movies because I have to dedicate my focus for 2 hours, but I can binge tv shows for 12 hours straight. Don’t ask me how that works. I’m really excited to get to know everyone and to be working here at GRANDfamilies!!
My name is Brittany and I’m so happy to be a part of GRANDfamilies. A little about me is that I come from a family of 5. I have two brothers and am the only girl. I’m also a proud aunt to the cutest little twin boys who I am obsessed with. I grew up in the Ogden Valley and spent a lot of my time recreating outside. My absolute favorite thing to do is go boating and my favorite places to boat are Pineview Reservoir and Lake Powell. I also love travelling and being a part of new experiences. Some of my favorite places I’ve travelled to are, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands, and New York City. Some of my other hobbies include hiking, fishing, camping, and painting. I am very close to my family and have a very close group of friends. I love spending quality time with people, whether that’s going on a road trip, having a shopping day, going to dinner, or even just watching a movie. I will typically always choose going out and doing something rather than staying in. I’m not a homebody and tend to get bored easily. However, there are times I love to stay in to watch a good crime show and bake. I have a really big, sweet tooth and will never say no to ice cream. I recently graduated from Weber State University with my bachelor’s degree in Family Studies. I love learning and am currently planning on continuing my education. I’m so excited to use my degree and skills to further the work being done within GRANDfamilies. GRANDfamilies is such a great program and I’m so excited to be a part of it. 
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GRANDfamilies at Children's Service Society of Utah
www.cssutah.org | 801-355-7444