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December 2019 Newsletter

This month we celebrated the 15th anniversary of our organization. Hard to believe it's been that long. Tim and I are so grateful for the support you all give to the families all year long. Looking ahead to 2020, we are proud to say that we will also be celebrating the 15th work anniversary with 23 of our amazing Respite Caregivers who have been with us every step of the way. 

2020 is also going to bring a lot of exciting new changes to the company for all of our staff, families and individuals we support. Please plan to attend our all staff meeting for all the details.

Save the date! Jan. 23rd, 2020 - RSVP for Annual All Staff Meeting. All Respite Caregivers and Independent Living Specialists are strongly encouraged to attend. The meeting will be from 6pm-8pm and doors will open at 5:30pm for everyone who has made a dinner reservation. If you have recommendations for a food provider this year, please reply and we'll check them out. The meeting will consist of important announcements, staff recognition and training, inspirational speakers, and tons of raffle prizes too. Everyone who attends will be receiving a FREE limited edition CISS Respite Hero T-Shirt in honor of our 15th anniversary. 🥳

RAISES! - Beginning January 1, 2020, all CISS Respite Caregivers will receive a $0.50/hour raise! Our new starting wage will be $16.50/hr, which is well above the starting rate of other organizations. If you work in our Enhanced Respite and Independent Living Services programs, you will receive an email soon regarding your rates.

On behalf of our entire family and administrative team, we wish you a VERY happy holiday and New Year!

Sharon M. Francis
Co-Founder & CEO
Channel Islands Social Services

PS - Follow us now on Instagram 😊 
Please give a few minutes of your time to help shape our organization in our Annual Staff Survey!

Click the image to go to the survey now.
We really appreciate it!
Have room in your schedule and your heart to help another family?

We update our Recruitment Board every few weeks to show a sample of those families currently needing respite support.

You can always find the latest info on the Staff page of our website. 

Click the image above updated 12/9/19 and call the office for more info today!


Date: Wed. 1/23/2020, 6pm-8pm
Doors open at 5:30pm. Dinner available for those who register.

This is a paid staff meeting with important updates, training, and inspirational speakers, as well as fun raffle prizes and staff recognition! 

Everyone in attendance this year will receive a FREE "Respite Hero" T-shirt in honor of our 15th anniversary.

Click the image above to RSVP. 

Welcome Jocelyn
Hi everyone! My name is Jocelyn Lugo and I am the new Family Support Assistant. I am very excited to be a part of the Admin team and I look forward to getting to know all of you soon! Prior to this position, I had various job experiences including being a Respite Caregiver for CISS. Through all the different job opportunities I gained experience in working with others, organization, and meeting different types of needs. Through respite care I further developed my patience, selflessness, and my joy of helping others grew. I enjoyed working with the family I supported for about 4 1/2 years. It made me happy seeing the family have relief in knowing their child was taken care of while they took a break. 

This opportunity opens many doors and helps build great connections with different people. I truly love working for CISS and I look forward to assisting our office team, as well as our staff, in my new role when you give us a call!"
December Staff Reminders
  • Plan Ahead! - With Winter break coming up, it is best to talk to the families you support and encourage them to schedule with you soon. Our office will be closed on 12/24 and 12/25, and on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Timesheets are due next on Monday, December 30th and it is VITAL that we get them all on time due to the very short processing week. Please mark your calendar!
  • Help Wanted / Update Availability - We continue to be blessed with referrals. If you have any additional time each week to support another family, please contact our office to update your schedule. Do you also work at a school, day program, or residential facility? Mention the benefits of working part-time at CISS and encourage friends and co-workers to apply today and you could receive a $50 referral bonus!
  • Self Referral Bonus - We have current openings in the Enhanced Respite & Independent Living Programs. We are offering $100 self referral bonuses to current CISS Respite Workers who apply by 1/10/2020, are hired on, complete training & 60 hours of work in the program. ILS staff are expected to work at least 10hrs/week.
    To apply complete the online application request form at
Meet Sara V. 😊 
2+ Years of Respite Care

"Starting in the field of caregiving with my aunt who has Down syndrome, I know how important it is to create a bond with whomever you provide care for, as well as form a close relationship with the family. One thing I love to do is make up new games as well as play out the games that are in the minds of the little ones I care for.
Their imaginations always amaze me. Seeing their eyes light up when I make a castle out of cardboard, to defeat the evil villains of course, or when I make up a new song that is catchy and rhymes - that's the best feeling. The greetings I get from the children I provide respite for are heart-warming. From the screaming of my name, the attack of little ones grabbing my legs and toys, excitement over new books to read, and even their subtle excitement. It makes my day seeing that my presence makes a difference in their lives. While most people would find it easier to care for a child who is easily adaptable and immediately friendly, I find that after providing respite care for over 2 years now at CISS, and meeting with all different individuals, it can be even more rewarding when I get someone who is considered quiet. When I finally do get them to play a game of Legos, or even listening to them excitingly open up and explain how much they love Minecraft, it’s like you see a part of them that not everyone gets to catch a glimpse of. 

I love to see how each of the children learn to overcome any obstacles that are put before them. A young girl on the autism spectrum whom I have cared for now for over two years has shown me that despite her differences in learning, there really is nothing that can hold her back when she is determined to learn. I’m constantly amazed at her memorization skills and often find myself having to ask her questions I don’t know the answers to! 

One thing I’ve heard a lot since joining CISS is whenever a stranger asks me what I do for work, and I reply that I'm a Respite Caregiver for children with special needs and those in foster care, more often than not, the response I get is, “I could never do that. You must have a lot of patience.” But the truth is that I get so much more back from the children than I ever dreamed. I think all Respite Caregivers and staff at CISS would agree, that although we will all face challenges, these children are AMAZING in every way and I wouldn’t change anything about them or the precious moments I’ve shared with them and their families."


With gratitude for all you do!
* Ava A. *
* Linda F. *
* Sarah V. *
*AnnMarie B. *
*Manuel R.*
*Ping X.*
*Karla G.*

🎁 Meet Ellen F.🎁
10 Years of Respite Care 
"In high school, I volunteered with the Special Olympics. I planned to make a career of helping those with special needs but went into the study of law as a paralegal by completing my education at UCSB. After many years pursuing that career, I left to care for my family. I began working at my children’s school on the playground and realized how much I loved working with children and those with special needs. It took my husband seeing the advertisement for CISS's Respite Care program to motivate me to go back to what I loved.
I started supporting one family at the RAIN Transitional Living Center, where CISS provides onsite childcare for families who have experienced homelessness. The children I helped included a young boy with autism who was non-speaking, and his two siblings. I absolutely loved interacting and playing games with, and getting to know the children. I occasionally care for a young teen on the autism spectrum. I currently spend my weekdays working at CAPE Charter school in Camarillo. I’m hoping to begin working, as needed, with a new CISS family next week.

When not working, I enjoy reading, working out, going to the beach, watching my son play club soccer, and my daughter wrestle at ACHS. After 20 years in Camarillo, we moved to Somis about 4 years ago and love the quiet, farm-like life. I have to say one of the things I loved about working for CISS at RAIN was welcoming a new family. The children would be apprehensive about visiting the playroom, not wanting to interact with myself and other children. I’d work hard in small steps to ask about their day, their school, favorite subjects, and sports and we'd play games. Soon they’d be running down the hall to greet me when I arrived in the evenings. 

There are so many more experienced caregivers than me. I guess the only advice I would give, is to love what you do with a passion. Let your love of what you do shine through with those you care for."

Celebrating 10 Years of Respite Care! 
Maria R. & Joseph B.

Celebrating 5 Years! 
Britanny V, Shellane S, Ping X, Jessalin K, Darien D,
Martha V, Ellen F & Ella Mae L

We are so grateful for all you do to support our families!
WOW!!! How would you like to wake up on payday with your paycheck already in your bank account? How convenient!

Only 50% of our staff have enrolled in Direct Deposit. What are YOU waiting for? It takes 2 full pay cycles for it to take effect, so don't delay and sign up today!
Before clicking the photo link above:
1) Register on our payroll website using company #N2014.
2) Have a voided check prepared, or a printout from your bank (which you can download for direct deposit showing your name, routing number and account number).

Can I mail or fax the form instead?
Yes, click to download and print the form in English or Spanish, or call the office and request one be mailed to you. Complete it and attach the required proof of account and either bring it by the office, mail it, or fax it to our secure fax line at (805) 299-0600. 
The October Monthly Staff Training focused on techniques and strategies for teaching independent living skills during respite. One of our ILS Specialists and Respite Caregivers, Ammie, shared activities that staff can do during respite to help with developing everyday life skills for individuals of all ages and abilities. Some key points made by the guest speaker and group discussion were:
  • You can start working on independent living skills at any age. Teaching individuals to do simple tasks such as cleaning up after themselves during respite can make a big difference in the long run.
  • Communication is key! Helping kids and teens build on their communication skills, whether they are verbal or non-speaking, will help in their overall independence. 
  • Whenever possible, make learning fun and give choices. Create a game out of sorting clothes or roll play being at a restaurant to teach social interaction skills. Providing choices helps build a sense of autonomy, individuality and builds confidence.
  • Incorporate teaching money management skills during respite - have individuals practice counting money, have them carry their own money if parents allow it, or pay the cashier when out in the community if appropriate.
The training concluded with a video and group activity identifying 8 skills needed for long-term employability. Skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, taking initiative and planning are all skills that can be developed throughout life and are needed to for employment. Staff were encouraged to try new strategies and if interested, to apply to work in our ILS program as the need is high.
😄 Recent Praise Received 😄
Abigail R: Parent recently commented that she is very happy with her caregiver Abbey and has no complaints.  Abbey works very well with her daughter and they have a great relationship. She has never seen a caregiver build such a close bond, understands her needs, and is there for whatever she might need.

Melissa S: The family said that things are going great with Melissa. She has been doing a great job and really trusts her with her child. Melissa knows how to work with her very well and they are very happy to have her.

Jovanna A: Enhanced Respite Behavioral Consultant Laurie Singer, BCBA, recently commented "I met with Jovanna and she is wonderful.  It was such a pleasure to see how much improvement (the child) has made from the time we did our intake."

Arisa N: Kinship Family wanted to let us know "Arisa is amazing, she's come over twice and the kids loved her! They sat with her and chatted for a while about their favorite things and school. The kids mentioned they had a good time with Arisa. I wish she would live next door."
Copyright © 2019  Channel Islands Social Services. All rights reserved.

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Channel Islands Social Services
4000 Calle Tecate, Suite 200, Camarillo, CA 93012
(805) 384-0983   Fax (805) 384-0986 

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