March 2023 Newsletter

Director's Corner

March is Social Work Month! Social Work Month in March is a time to celebrate the great profession of social work. Thank you to all the hard working social workers. Ohio START appreciates you.

Ohio START believes in family, love, equity, and redemption. Together we have served over 1,000 families. We continue to work as a team, supporting and holding each other accountable.

“Offer your hand, not your judgement” - Unknown

From the Field: County Highlights


Welcome Ashtabula County's new Family Peer Mentor, Korey Stoneman.


Lucas County currently has 17 active cases between the two dyads.


Welcome to Danielle Kemp, Harrison County's new Family Peer Mentor.

Seneca County Success Story

Seneca County START is celebrating its first successful completion.

The team and community partners gathered at Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services to honor Alexandria Ray and her efforts to complete START requirements.

“We would like to take a moment to celebrate this family and the struggles they have overcome to successfully complete and graduate from the START program here in Seneca County. We are grateful for the team that worked beside them, our community partners and for the family’s dedication and persistence to making positive changes in their family to support their children,” said Kathy Oliver, director of Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services.

In Seneca County, START is a collaboration between Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services and Seneca County Family and Children First Council, with support from Sandusky Artisans Recovery Community Center, Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wyandot, Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services, Lutheran Social Services of Northwestern Ohio, Serenity Christian Counseling LLC, Highlife Recovery and more.

Seneca County START has served 10 families and continues to grow.

Many community partners have collaborated to support START families during the recovery process by providing beds, household items, school supplies, children's clothing, bicycles, Christmas gifts, gym membership and family photography sessions. Family photographs were incorporated into a slideshow during the ceremony.

Portage County Success Story

Portage County START Program Graduate Ready to Encourage Others

The smile on Jessica Ober’s face as she squeezes her children speaks volumes. This is a day she has worked hard for, but all the work has paid off. She has successfully graduated from the Ohio START Program through the Portage County Job & Family Services (PCJFS) Child & Adult Protective Services Division. This graduation comes with the most prized reward of brighter days ahead for her and her family.

Jessica enrolled in the Ohio START Program in September 2021,and, in the beginning, many doubted her success. “When I first met Jessica, she had no voice,” said PCJFS Supervisor Kaylyn Kane, “she was so scared. I saw her slowly begin to trust herself, eventually walk into the meetings, and start to move forward. She then learned how to trust her gut and speak for herself.” Today, Jessica has celebrated one year of sobriety and is working toward her GED. Jessica is also making fresh new starts with her two boys, Joey and Jamison. She spends every single day with her children now, and doesn't take one minute of that for granted. Jessica has also completed the courses for Peer Support certification and hopes to become a Peer Support like her Portage County START Program Family Peer Mentor, Ashley Mock. She is now ready to give back and encourage others. Jessica hopes to be able to speak with future Ohio START

Families about the program and her success.

Jessica knows that her success in the Ohio START Program required not only determination and hard work, but also having a strong support network behind her. In addition to a team from

PCJFS and Coleman, Jessica names her Aunt Tara and Uncle Mark as two of her biggest supports. “I couldn’t have done any of this without them,” she said. "I finally feel like I can’t wait to see what’s next!”

Share your success story to be featured in the next newsletter HERE.

Nominate an Ohio START staff member HERE.

Ohio START Summit

May 1, 2023

Fawcett Center at The Ohio State University

2400 Olentangy River Road

Columbus, Ohio

The 2023 Ohio START Summit Keynote Speaker is Dr. Brad Lander

Keynote: Dr. Brad Lander

Understanding Substance Use Disorders: Squirrel Logic

People addicted to alcohol and drugs baffle us. But when we become frustrated with them, the problem is not them, it is us. It is our expectations of what we believe they should be able to do that frustrates us so much. If we understand addiction as a “chronic brain disease,” everything begins to make sense. Using alcohol or drugs over time creates fundamental changes to the brain that lead to compulsive and self-destructive behavior. This presentation looks at the effects of alcohol and drugs on the brain, what addiction is neurologically, and the recovery process.


This year, Ohio START will be recognizing agency staff and partners for their outstanding service to Ohio families. The 2023 Ohio START Award winners will be announced during the 2023 Ohio START Annual Summit. Below is information about who is eligible to receive each award. Here is the link to make your award nominations. Deadline is March 17, 2023.

  • Ohio START Caseworker of the Year: Recipient must be a current Ohio START caseworker serving families.

  • Ohio START Family Peer Mentor of the Year: Recipient must be a current Ohio START family peer mentor serving families.

  • Ohio START Supervisor of the Year: Recipient must be a current Ohio START supervisor with a dyad actively serving families.

  • Ohio START Community Partner of the Year: This person is an integral part of the local Ohio START team and collaborates with the team to meet the needs of families. This could include a therapist, case manager, treatment supervisor/administrator, court personnel, direct line or steering committee member.

Hotel Information

If you plan on staying in Columbus the night of April 30th, rooms are available for reservation at the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton - 3160 Olentangy River Rd, Columbus, OH 43202 Please call: (614) 268-8700 for a rate of $119/night. Please reserve your room by Friday, March 31, 2023, by using the GROUP CODE: PCS Book your room online now.

Ohio START Summit registration will open soon.

Resources and Events

Please share upon completion of Ohio START 

You can now participate in a phone interview study about your experience. If you participate in an interview from Ohio University or Ohio State University, you will receive a $75 gift card.  

Interviews can be over the phone or via video conference call. 

If you are co-parenting, each parent that completes Ohio START can participate and receive a gift card. 

Your participation is voluntary.  

To schedule an interview text or call: 740-486-0065 

Each interview will last approximately 45 minutes. 

Or email: 

IRB Number: 19-F-40


Ohio START Job Postings

Do you have an open Ohio START position? Please send the details of your open positions to to post on the Ohio START website:


Attend Upcoming Learning Community Discussions

Learning Community Calls will be held quarterly for Behavioral Health Workers, Caseworkers, and Administrators. The Zoom calls will be held on the same date and time, the third Thursday of the month, from 9:00-10:00. The same link will be used for all learning community calls.

Calling all Behavioral Health Providers!

Please join us March 16, 2023, from 9:00 am – 10:00 am for the Learning Community Call when we discuss Drug Testing.

Zoom Link:

Here is the upcoming schedule:   

  • April 20th: Caseworkers
  • May 18th: Administrators
  • June 15th: Behavioral Health Providers
  • July 20th: Caseworkers
  • August 17th: Administrators
  • September 21st: Behavioral Health Providers
  • October 19th: Caseworkers
  • November 16th: Administrators

Calling all Supervisors!

Please join us Thursday, March 16, 2023, from 9:00 am – 10:00 am for the Supervisor Learning Community Call that is open to both PCSA and BH supervisors participating in Ohio START. We plan to discuss Supervisory Tools for Enhancing Proficiency.

Register here:


The Neurobiology of Addiction Webinar

Please join Advanced Recovery Systems and The Recovery Village Palmer Lake for a virtual continuing education medical education event. The Neurobiology of Use, Misuse and Addiction will be presented by The Recovery Village Palmer Lake Medical Director, Dr. Adam Richmond.

Event Details:

March 24, 2023

1:00PM-2:30pm EST

Register Here

At the conclusion of this event, participants will be able to:

  • Understand at least 3 neurotransmitters in the brain and how they related to addiction, mood and anxiety.
  • Describe medication interventions that can contribute to opioid use disorders and how they work.
  • Be able to describe the areas of the brain involved in reward, happiness and memory.

Questions? Contact Savannah Eckstrom at


Join a Sober Active Community

The Phoenix’s mission is to build a sober active community that fuels resilience and harnesses the transformational power of connection so that together we

rise, recover, and live. Find more information on their website.

Visit the training calendar below to register

Screening and Intervention of Substance Use Disorders (UNCOPE)

March 10 from 9 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Nurturing Parenting: Empathy & Personal Power

March 10 from 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Family Team Meetings: Applied Skills

March 23 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Nurturing Parenting: Discipline

March 24 from 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Family Toolkit: Genograms, ecomaps, and more!

March 27 from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

De-escalation with Compassion

March 29 from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Training Calendar
Ohio START is a program of PCSAO and an affiliate of the National START Model
Our Mission: We approach Substance Use Disorders with compassion, understanding and hope for recovery. We work as a team, supporting and holding each other accountable. We believe in family, love, equity, and redemption.
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