Greetings Friends

Spring was a busy time here at JFS as we celebrated Child Abuse Awareness/Foster Care and Adoption Months. We are appreciative of the community support we receive as we call attention to these important initiatives. This edition highlights some of the celebrations that took place. You will also find information about our expanded PRC Program to help families with housing, utility assistance, and car repairs. Please feel free to pass our newsletter along to anyone who may be interested.

At JFS, we are committed to the agency vision of safe children, stable families and a strong community.

Andrea N. Cordle, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Fairfield County Job and Family Services Director
Heather O'Keefe Promoted to
Deputy Director
Heather has been with Fairfield County Protective Services for 23 years, and previously worked in the Department of Social Services in Massachusetts serving children and families. In her time with Fairfield County Protective Services, Heather has held various roles within the agency, including Intake Case Worker, Independent Living Supervisor, and most recently Assistant Deputy Director. Along with her 25 years of child welfare experience, Heather has previously served as a licensed foster parent for both Fairfield and Pickaway counties. Heather is looking forward to the opportunity to serve the residents of Fairfield County in her new role.
On May 7, 2019, Fairfield County Commissioners Steven A. Davis, David L. Levacy, and Jeff Fix, issued A Proclamation recognizing May as Foster Care & Adoption Recognition and Recruitment Month. This year’s theme for the month is “It’s All Relative: Supporting Kinship Connections.” In Fairfield County and across Ohio, there is an ongoing need for both foster care and kinship homes, with 15,842 children currently in foster care in the state and 7,800 available foster homes. As such, the Proclamation identified the ongoing need for placement families and encouraged residents who may be interested to reach out to Fairfield County Protective Services for more information.

Fairfield County Protective Services currently has 36 foster homes, with 33 children placed in those homes. Additionally, 47 more children are placed in network foster homes. Kinship caregivers provide placement for 53 children also, with 24 of those children in the temporary custody of kin while their family works with Protective Services. As part of May’s activities, agency foster parents received training from The Center of Family Safety and Healing regarding developing strategies to help teach and modify behavior. Using positive behavioral techniques, such as those provided, can help to address the trauma impacting many foster children. 

Fairfield County Protective Services has great gratitude and appreciation for every foster parent and kinship provider, who do such hard work every day. If you have an interest in becoming a foster or adoptive parent and would like more information, click here or call (740) 652-7889 and ask to speak to a member of the foster care team.
Child Abuse Prevention Month Update #OhioWearsBlue
Each year, Protective Services looks forward to Spring – not just for the emergence of flowers and warm weather, but to once again recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The events and activities planned by Protective Services provided opportunities for members of the Fairfield County community to recognize the shared responsibility we all have to offer hope to those who have been victims of abuse and neglect.  We held the following events during April in recognition of Child Abuse P revention Month: 

  • Blue Ribbon Art Contest: St. Bernadette’s and St. Mary’s Schools participated in the Blue Ribbon Art Contest where community members were invited to vote on the best blue ribbon artwork. The winners were Lillian Carpico and Jade Pico.

  • Wednesday, April 10: We celebrated the state-sponsored Wear Blue Day (#OhioWearsBlue) to help raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. Stakeholders and community members forwarded pictures to Pictures were shared on the FCJFS social media pages. 

  • Wednesday, April 10: We also held our annual Child Abuse Prevention Kick-Off Breakfast. We were pleased to have LeeAnne Cornyn, Director of Children’s Initiatives from Governor DeWine’s Office who spoke about upcoming changes related to the Governor’s proposed budget. Kristi Burre, Director of Children Services Transformation, spoke about the overarching goals for her newly appointed office. Judge Terre Vandervoort discussed implementation of the Early Warning System and the Federal QIC-CCCT Grant received in collaboration with Protective Services. This grant will bring updates and enhancements to Family Court as well as implementation of Plans of Safe Care within the community.

  • Thursday, April 25: Job and Family Services held Circus Night at the Fairfield County Government Service Building. Held since 2002, this event is designed to celebrate families with activities, games, free food and entertainment.

JFS Announces Strategic Initiatives
Job & Family Services (JFS) Leadership recently completed months of research, collecting feedback, and staff discussions culminating in the development of Fairfield County Job & Family Services Strategic Initiatives . The result is a collection of programs and projects that will be accomplished over the next 2-3 years, in pursuit of the agency vision of Safe Children-Stable Families-Strong Community.

In early 2018, JFS completed work on the Strategic Plan 2015-2017 and started preparations for the next endeavor. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) developed a timeline for the rest of 2018 that would dictate the necessary steps for the strategic planning process.
First, SLT members discussed the core values that made up the Strategic Themes of previous Strategic Plans and decided that they remained of paramount value to the agency. These themes are:
  1. JFS responsibly obtains, maximizes, and allocates financial resources
  2. JFS values and respects employees as our greatest asset
  3. JFS measures performance in all areas and supports continuous quality improvement
  4. JFS provides exceptional customer service
  5. JFS promotes community collaboration and partnerships

The next step was to engage all levels of staff and solicit their feedback on what the agency is doing well, what could be done differently, and what new initiatives should be pursued. SLT members, along with agency managers and supervisors, facilitated brainstorming groups and utilized the Stop, Start, Continue method to gather their feedback.

Once all the data was collected, SLT members analyzed the results and had a series of discussions about the projects and programs that were already underway, or would be in the near future. The result of all of this research, staff feedback and data analysis is the new Fairfield County Job & Family Services Strategic Initiatives and is available for review on the agency’s website ( click here.)
Helping High School Seniors Find Careers
Ohio Means Jobs Fairfield County, The Fairfield 33 Development Alliance and the Fairfield County Educational Services Center, have been working together to develop the Fairfield County Career Readiness Endorsement which connects students graduating from local high schools to local businesses.

This program was created to help prepare students to be work ready and to provide proof to local employers that these students can be successful in their company. This program requires seniors in high school to work with their school counselor to complete the following: an organized tour of a local business, perform at least 20 hours of community service, pass a drug screen test, be on track to receive a high school diploma, attend at least one job fair, attend one mock interview, and complete the OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal. The OhioMeansJobs-Readiness Seal is a designation a student can earn by demonstrating the professional skills that are required for success in the workplace.

Upon completion of the program students are guaranteed an interview with one of the program’s employer partners. These are employers that have full-time, full-benefit positions for individuals with a high school diploma.

Ultimately, companies who participate in the Fairfield County Career Readiness Endorsement help fill the jobs of the future for their company and provide a great service to local students that will be staying in the community. 

Companies interested in participating in the Career Readiness Endorsement should contact Rick Szabrak at rick.szabrak@
Community Services Expands PRC Program To Help Eligible Families With Housing and Utility Assistance and Car Repair
Community Services can help eligible families through the PRC Program for rent or deposit, utility assistance, household appliances, car repair, and employment-related services.
Eligibility requirements include:
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a social security number
  • Family gross income less than 200% of federal poverty guideline
  • Last 30 days income required
  • Child in the family under 18 or a full-time student older than 18, who will graduate before the age of 19
  • Pregnant woman

Families can access a PRC application by CLICKING HERE.

Contact Sarah Kauffman, PRC Specialist for more information at
740-652-7667 or email at
A Great Success!
Circus Night drew a great crowd this year thanks to the many staff and community partners who participated in this annual event. The event is a celebration of families in the community and a child abuse prevention outreach event. Approximately 1,000 families attended the event. We are always thankful for the community partners and other individuals besides staff who volunteer or donate their time to this event: BSS Waste, Chuck Molendick, Conns Potato Chips
Cosi, Kroger, McDonalds, Miller Insurance-Rita Heston, Taylor’s Party Rental, South Central Power, Walmart, Columbus Zoo, Brownie Point, Promotions By Design, AHA!, Stoneburner Family, Lancaster City Schools and more!

Their support means so much to people in need who count on our event for a fun night out. From a staff perspective, EVERYONE who helped this year deserves a pat on the back. Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed.

You definitely LIVE THE CODE!