Who We Are
Public Children Services Association of Ohio is a membership-driven association of Ohio’s county Public Children Services Agencies that advocates for and promotes child protection program excellence and sound public policy for safe children, stable families, and supportive communities.
PCSAO is a nonprofit 501c(3) organization and member of the National Foster Care Coalition and the National Association of County Human Services Administrators.
Learn more about PCSAO’s members and about the public child protection system in Ohio.
- PCSAO 2017-18 Strategic Plan
- PCSAO Bylaws
- 2016 Annual Report
- PCSAO Audit Report for Year Ending Dec. 31, 2016
- PCSAO 990 Tax Filing for Year Ending Dec. 31, 2016
- PCSAO on GuideStar
- PCSAO on The Giving Store (The Columbus Foundation)
Board of Trustees
Catherine Hill, MSW, LSW
Beginning in May 2008, Hill was appointed executive director of Athens County Children Services Board in 2012, prior to that she was the Director at Hocking County Children Services.
A social worker in central Ohio for many years, Hill is honored to have returned to contribute to her hometown. In addition to running a busy rural agency in Appalachia, Hill remains an active volunteer in her community by serving on the United Way board, Empty Bowls steering committee, Family and Children First Council, and as a volunteer gardener and artist with Bishop Educational Gardens in Rockbridge, Ohio. Hill holds a Master of Social Work from The Ohio State University and a BA from Wright State in Dayton. Remaining active in administration and direct service throughout her career, Hill began her service in a battered women’s and children’s shelter and rape treatment center in the early 1980s. Working in a variety of settings from inner-city hospital social work to corporate employee assistance program management, Hill kept in touch with her early direct service background in crisis and trauma through volunteering with various community boards and agencies including CHOICES and the critical incident stress management team in Franklin County. She is a licensed social worker and has advanced certification in critical incident stress management.
Kathi Spirk, BA
Kathi Spirk became the Director of Clinton County Job and Family Services in December 2013. Her career in child protection began in 1987 in Clinton County as a child abuse and neglect investigator and generic caseworker. In the last 28 years, Kathi has been involved in most facets of child protection and was a supervisor for foster care, adoption and kinship care.
Kathi also served as the CCJFS Deputy Director and has been involved with numerous organizations and committees, including the Early Childhood Collaborative Council, Head Start, Elderly Services Board, Family and Children First Council, Solutions Community Counseling Center Board of Directors, Regional Advisory Council (WIOA), Workforce Policy Board, and the Regional Continuum of Care for Rural Homelessness.
Kathi has worked as a Licensed Social Worker and Adoption Assessor and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Services from Wilmington College.
Kate Offenberger, BA
Kate Offenberger was named the director of the Carroll County Job and Family Services in January of 2002. She began her career as a student intern at Stark County Department of Human Services while she completed her bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Akron.
Upon completion of her degree, she was hired as a children services intake investigator at Stark County. In 1985, she began working at Carroll County Job and Family Services as a children services worker. She later became the Social Service Supervisor, Assistant Director and then the Director of the agency and is responsible for public assistance programs, workforce services and social services, including children services. Offenberger, who is a life-long resident of Carroll County works collaboratively with local community partners to improve service delivery to families and children. Offenberger is active in her church, serving as a past session member and currently as the church treasurer. She and her husband have four children and two grandsons. They enjoy spending time and working at their family farm with family and friends. Offenberger also enjoys gardening and quilting.
Julie Barnes, M.Ed., LSW
Julie Barnes became Executive Director of Summit County Children Services (SCCS) in December 2013. As SCCS Executive Director, Ms. Barnes leads a child welfare agency with approximately 330 staff and an annual budget of $45 million that provides Intake and Protective Services, and Placement and Permanency Planning Services, such as Foster Care, Kinship Care and Adoption.
The agency also offers other specialized programs including: Alternative Response (AR) – a less-investigatory/more-collaborative family oriented child welfare protection service model – the Serious Trauma Assessment Team (STAT), which specializes in cases of suspected child sexual abuse, and a community-wide fatherhood initiative called The Father Factor, which identifies and engages fathers of children in agency care. Prior to joining SCCS, Ms. Barnes served for more than five years as Executive Director of Stark County Job and Family Services (SCJFS) and before that served for one year as Deputy Director of Children Services there. Ms. Barnes also served as Director of Foster Care and Adoption at Summit County Children Services from February 2002-May 2007 and she gained additional experience in the child welfare field through earlier positions at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Geauga County Department of Job and Family Services. Ms. Barnes has served on many committees and boards at the local and state level, and is presently on the Board of Trustees of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO) and the Board of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund (OCTF). She has a B.A. Degree in Psychology from Hiram College and a M.Ed. Degree in Higher Education from Kent State University.
Matthew Kurtz, BA
Matthew Kurtz has been director of the Knox County Department of Job and Family Services since April 2010. His 20-year career with Knox County began as Chief Financial and Technology Officer.
Over the years he has served on a number of committees with ODJFS that included development of the current TSSP process through the Office of Information Services and the CFIS financial system through the Bureau of Finance and Technical Assistance. He has been a member of the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association’s Fiscal Committee since 2005 and presented on fiscal issues at many of OJFSDA’s events. Most recently he has been a part of the Collabor8 pilot project that created a virtual call center between his and six other DJFS agencies in central and northwest Ohio. His experiences give him a unique perspective on the operation of a triplecombined agency. Kurtz holds a Bachelor of Arts in religion from Mount Vernon Bible College.
Susan Bailey-Evans, MSW
Susan Bailey-Evans has been the director of Champaign County Department of Job & Family Services since May 2008. She brings more than 29 years of DJFS experience to PCSAO, including 13 in child welfare. Bailey-Evans received her undergraduate degree from Urbana University in 1993 and her Master of Social Work from The Ohio State University in 2002.
Deborah Forkas, M.Ed.
Deborah Forkas is the executive director of Stark County Job & Family Services (SCJFS). Deborah has over 30 years of extensive experience and commitment to children, including previous employment as Director of Children, Youth and Families in Fairfax County, Virginia; Director of Children and Family Services for Cuyahoga County, Ohio; and Deputy Executive Director of Social Services for Summit County Children Services. She was a 10-year employee at Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Juvenile Division as a deputy director and has extensive financial auditing and program development experience.
As the executive director of SCJFS, she is responsible for a triple-combined agency with an annual budget of $53.2 million that includes human services, child support and children services. The agency provides a variety of programs and services including Medicaid, Food Assistance, Child Care, Ohio Works First, establishment, enforcement, collection and disbursement of child support orders, assessment of child abuse and neglect, foster care and adoption services. Deborah is active on many committees and boards at the local level, including a board member of Stark County Family Council and Stark County Community Action Agency. She was recently awarded the OACCA (Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies) Public Partner of the Year Award for 2015.
Deborah grew up in Lakewood, Ohio, and graduated from Lakewood High School. She earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Toledo and a Master’s in Education from John Carroll University. She enjoys reading, gardening, cooking and entertaining with her husband, Ronald A. Perger, at their Westlake home.
Lorra Fuller, Ph.D.
Dr. Lorra Fuller has been the director of Scioto County Children Services since April of 2012. She earned her Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from Capella University in 2010 and her Master of Science degree in Educational Psychology from Capella as well in 2005. She has a varied background in direct service and administration.
She began her career in the chemical dependency field and provided both residential and outpatient counseling in Portsmouth, Ohio. From there she went to work for the Adams, Lawrence, Scioto Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board as Program Director of Consumer and Institutional Relations. Through her work there adult consumers of mental health services created a consumer operated thrift store and drop-in center that still exists today. She left the ALS ADAMHS Board to pursue her doctorate degree. She completed both her practicum and internship with Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility. These experiences lead to full-time employment there in the psychology department. Dr. Fuller worked there until its closure in September of 2011. Having worked with the incarcerated adolescents that were unsuccessful in the foster care system it ignited a passion to help change children’s lives that are in the child welfare system today. Through the role of director in Scioto County and serving on PCSAO’s Board of Trustees, Dr. Fuller hopes to help shape change in Ohio’s child welfare system one child at a time.
Patricia Harrelson, MSSA, LISW
Patricia Harrelson has served as the executive director of Richland County Children Services since February 2013.
She obtained a Master of Science of Social Administration from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in 1998 and has been an Ohio Licensed Independent Social Worker since 2008.
She has operated a training and consulting business, specializing in child welfare and human services related practice since 1996 and serves as an adjunct instructor for the Mandel School.
Her professional interests include addiction studies, trauma and its impact on staff and organizational development. She volunteers with a dog rescue in the Toledo area and shares a Yellow Lab (Luke) and a Golden Retriever (Joey) with a partner.
Jacqueline Ringer, MPA
Jacqueline Ringer is the Executive Director of Marion County Children Services. She received a B.S. degree in Social Work from The Ohio State University and a Master’s degree of Public Administration from Kent State University.
In addition, she has maintained a License in Social Work through the State of Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist Board. For the past 15 years, she has worked in various areas of child welfare including investigations, foster care and adoption case management and family support services. Jacqueline began her child welfare experience conducting child abuse and neglect investigations in which she found a true passion for child protection.
Cynthia Scanland, MSSA
Cynthia Scanland was named executive director of Allen County Children Services in June of 2014. She began her career in 1991 with the Hancock County Department of Job and Family Services where she worked as a line caseworker and supervisor in all child welfare program areas.
In 1999, she moved to state government and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services where she worked as a technical assistance specialist and technical assistance manager in the Office of Children and Families, Toledo Field Office. The field office provided oversight of social service programs for children and adults in county children service agencies and county departments of job & family services in the Toledo Region’s 27 county jurisdiction. She served in 2002 & 2008 as a State of Ohio Reviewer for the Child & Family Service Federal Reviews for the United States Department of Health & Human Services. She returned to county government in 2011 as the Intake/Assessment, Family Support and Quality Assurance Department Director for Allen County Children Services. She earned bachelor’s degrees in the fields of psychology and counseling from Southern California and a Master of Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Her professional affiliations have included the Western Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers. Her volunteer work includes the Crime Victim Services Board, the Children’s Developmental Center Board and Teddy’s Rescue Animal Sanctuary.
Timothy Schaffner, M.Ed., LSW
Timothy Schaffner was named Executive Director of Trumbull County Children Services in November 2012. As a leader in behavioral health and residential care for children, Schaffner has provided consultation and training for many educational, residential and child welfare facilities and brings a wealth of management and child mental health treatment experience to his role as executive director.
Schaffner had been the executive director of Valley Counseling Services prior to joining Trumbull County Children Services (in April 2012), from 1995 to 2006 served as Corporate Director/Corporate Clinical Executive for the Center for Behavioral Medicine at Forum Health, and prior to that he was director of youth services at Tod Children’s Hospital in Youngstown. Schaffner brings a total of 37 years of experience in professional child care to his position.
Corey Walker, MS
Corey Walker has been the director of Paulding County Department of Job and Family Services since 2005. Walker brought more than 17 years of experience in the community behavioral field with him to PCDJFS.
He has served as a chief executive officer, executive director, therapist, and case manager in Ohio agencies and as chief operating officer at a behavioral health agency in Indiana. He has extensive experience in developing comprehensive systems of care based on best practices and consumer outcomes. Walker has served on several boards, most recently Focus on Friends in Findlay, Ohio, and the Paulding County Carnegie Library. He obtained his master’s degree at the University of Dayton in social agency counseling and received his undergraduate degree in communications from Defiance College.
Moira Weir, MSW, MBA
Moira Weir, named director of Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services in 2007, worked her way up from being a children services line worker, a position she accepted when she joined the Department in 1993.
She now leads a department with a $1.3 billion annual budget that is responsible for local child protection, elder protection, child care, child support enforcement, workforce development, cash assistance, food stamp disbursement and Medicaid disbursement. A reform-minded leader who has made the department more accessible and accountable, Weir has a vision for Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services to be the center of a collaborative effort that draws together and leads social service agencies, businesses, governments, families and other community stakeholders to tackle the community’s toughest social problems, such as poverty and child abuse. Weir has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Boston’s Simmons College, a Master of Social Work from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Business Administration from Thomas More College.
David Wigent, BA
Dave Wigent received his Bachelor’s degree in 1985 from Oakland University. He has served in the social services for many years, starting as a juvenile probation officer in Lucas County where he served for three years.
He also worked as a child abuse investigator and welfare fraud investigator in Williams County for seven years. After four years as a network technician and manager in the Toledo are, he served as the assistant director for the Department of Aging of Williams County. He then came to Wood County JFS as the assistant director on June 25, 2005, and eventually rose to director on October 10, 2011.
Jerry Coleman, JD
Jerry Coleman has spent his entire legal career in child welfare.
After graduating from the University of Akron School of Law in 1999, Jerry served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Summit County. While with the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, Jerry represented the Children Services Board in dependency, neglect and abuse actions from 1999 until 2001.
In 2001 Jerry joined Stark County Job and Family Services as a staff attorney. In that position he was responsible for prosecuting dependency, neglect and abuse actions while also being responsible for the agency’s appellate docket. In 2007 he became the attorney supervisor of the Children Services Division. In 2013 Jerry was named chief legal counsel for that division. In May 2016, Jerry became the assistant deputy director of legal services for Stark County Job and Family Services. In this role he oversees legal services for the triple-combined agency.
Jerry has been a member of the PCSAO Legislative Committee since 2013. In December 2017, he was named chair of the committee. Jerry is also a member of the PCSAO Rules Review Committee. He grew up in Orrville, Ohio, and graduated from Orrville High School. He attended the University of Akron, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Juris Doctor degree.
Angela Sausser, MA, MSW, LSW
Angela Sausser is PCSAO’s executive director. Prior to coming to PCSAO in August 2014, Angela simultaneously held three positions with the State of Ohio.
Angela was the chief of the Bureau of Children and Families for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, overseeing funding, programs, and initiatives related to the mental health and addiction needs of children and their families. Angela served as the project director for the department’s four-year federal grant called ENGAGE (Engaging the New Generation to Achieve their Goals through Empowerment) focused on expanding systems of care for youth and young adults. Finally, Angela retained her governor-appointed position as the director of Ohio Family and Children First Cabinet Council, a post she held throughout her state government career of nine years. There, Angela worked in partnership with the health and human services Cabinet agencies, the Governor and First Lady’s offices, and the Office of Health Transformation to improve the coordination of services for children and their families. Angela was responsible for convening planning, policy, and fiscal teams to address cross-system issues; providing guidance and technical assistance to the 88 county Family and Children First Councils (FCFCs); and communicating with state officials, agencies, and community partners about issues, policies and funding impacting children and families.
Angela began her career as a caseworker and supervisor for a private foster care agency in Cincinnati. After receiving her graduate degrees, Angela became an independent management consultant for six years working with children services agencies throughout Ohio and across the country, including PCSAO. As a consultant, Angela provided strategic planning, grant-writing, best practice training and technical assistance, data analysis and advocacy. In addition, Angela formed the Council on Healthy Mothers and Babies in 2000, a Columbus-based nonprofit organization focused on reducing infant mortality.
Angela graduated from The Ohio State University with a Master of Social Work in Social Administration and a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Management. She received her Bachelor of Arts in social work and psychology with a minor in gerontology from Miami University. She is a Licensed Social Worker for the State of Ohio.
Scott Britton joined the staff of PCSAO in July 2011 as assistant director.
Scott moved to Ohio in 2002 from his native West Virginia, where he had spent seven years as program development officer for the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service. There, he monitored AmeriCorps National Service programs throughout the state, providing oversight, training, and technical assistance for a grant portfolio that increased from $368,000 to $3.5 million during his tenure. Traveling to half a dozen states and the District of Columbia, he coached his counterparts on audit preparation and standards of excellence.
In 2002, he became executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio, a statewide advocacy and voter-education organization. During his three years with the League, he increased member contributions to the annual fund, managed an ambitious judicial independence project, and coordinated direct and grassroots lobbying efforts on multiple good-government issues.
Scott then spent a year at The Columbus Foundation, where he helped launch PowerPhilanthropy (now known as The Giving Store), a nonprofit search engine for donors. The project involved coaching nonprofit executives through a complex organizational profile, evaluating audits and 990s, and troubleshooting technology. Analyzing collected data led the Foundation to identify strategies for increasing the institutional capacity of nonprofits in central Ohio.
In 2006, upon the birth of his son, Scott became a stay-at-home father. Seeking an opportunity to volunteer, he joined the board of the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus, where he led the redesign of the League’s website in time for the 2008 election; he continues to volunteer his time for the League.
In October 2010, he returned to work part-time as coordinator of Advocates for Ohio’s Future, a statewide coalition of health, human service, and early care & education programs, including PCSAO. The coalition’s advocacy efforts, grassroots mobilization, and media outreach resulted in increased funding in the FY2012-13 state budget to support long-term care for seniors, behavioral health, emergency food, home visiting, child welfare, and other programs for vulnerable Ohioans.
Born and raised in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Scott is a 1993 graduate of Drew University in New Jersey.
Mary D. Wachtel, MSW
Mary Wachtel is PCSAO’s legislative director. Prior to joining PCSAO in August 2014, Mary was director of access and coverage policy at the Health Policy Institute of Ohio.
Mary coordinated HPIO’s legislative outreach and worked with multiple stakeholders to lead the organization’s work to assure Ohioans have timely access to comprehensive, integrated and appropriate health services.
Prior to that, Mary was director of health policy for Voices for Ohio’s Children, advocating on behalf of child and family health issues with state legislative and agency officials. She also has served as health advocate for Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio and as director of policy and programs at the Association of Junior Leagues International.
A native of Ohio, Mary holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Akron and a Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. She also holds a certificate in theological studies from The School of Theology at Sewanee (Episcopal).
Jeed Jitprasert, MBA
Jeed Jitprasert has been with PCSAO since 2001. As the director of operations, she manages the daily business of the office and organization. She handles finance and grant reporting.
She has a wealth of experience in project and event planning. She leads and coordinates PCSAO’s annual conference. She also manages the organization’s websites.
Jeed has a master’s degree in international business from the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok and a bachelor’s degree in English and Japanese from Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya Rajabhat University in Ayutthaya, Thailand.
William M. Murray, M.Ed.
William M. Murray, IV, serves as state coordinator of Ohio Reach. Before coming to PCSAO, he spent three years as Coordinator of Student Life and Development at Central State University.
As the Ohio Reach Coordinator, William works to address the recruitment and retention of emancipated foster youth in Ohio’s higher education system.
William is a native of Columbus. He earned both his Bachelor of Science in education and Master of Education from Central State University. William’s previous experience in student retention, program design, and overall student development has been a great asset to Ohio Reach.
Fawn Gadel, JD
Fawn Gadel joined PCSAO’s staff as director of Ohio START in July 2017.
Fawn previously served as associate director and clinical supervisor of the Family and Youth Law Center at Capital University.
Fawn received her bachelor’s degree in marketing magna cum laude from Xavier University and her Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School cum laude, concentrating in children and family law. Outside of work, Fawn loves to spend time with her husband and two children. She is an avid Xavier University basketball and St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Bhumika Patel, MA
Bhumika Patel joined PCSAO in March 2018 to serve as Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator. In this grant-funded role, she serves as a training and technical assistance resource for those working with trafficked children involved in child welfare and juvenile justice.
Prior to joining PCSAO, Bhumika served as Regional Coalition Specialist in the Anti-Human Trafficking Program at The Salvation Army of Greater Cincinnati. At The Salvation Army, she facilitated training, awareness, and coalition-building activities in Southwest Ohio. Before joining The Salvation Army, Bhumika first learned about human trafficking as a Human Trafficking Education Specialist through the AmeriCorps Prevention and Awareness of Trafficking in Persons (PATH) grant program managed by the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services.
Bhumika attained her Master of Arts in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Cincinnati in 2014; she received her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Agnes Scott College in 2012. She is a first-generation immigrant, born in India, raised in Georgia.
Lucas is a graduate student at The Ohio State University, pursuing a Master of Public Administration.
He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Le Moyne College and holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia. He was born and raised in Syracuse, NY, and in his free time enjoys participating in the local arts community.
Jennifer is a second-year graduate student in The Ohio State University’s Master of Social Work Program.
A Cincinnati native, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati before working for three years as a case manager for adults with mental illness. While taking time out to be a full-time mom to her four-year-old daughter, Lily, she became a Red Cross volunteer, serving on first aid and disaster relief teams. She was also a volunteer mentor for several years in a program for children of incarcerated parents.
She enjoys spending time with her family and is an eternally optimistic Reds and Bengals fan.