Greetings Friends

Summer has arrived and we couldn’t be happier about it! Over the past couple of months, we have taken time to celebrate some pretty amazing people and bring awareness to very important causes. This edition of the JFS e-Link highlights our wonderful foster parents and awareness events for child abuse and elder abuse prevention. We also recap Family Fun Fest which is one of our favorite events of the year. None of this would be possible without the efforts and support of our staff and so many in our community who partner with us on a daily basis. We are so very thankful to all of you!

I hope you’ll take a few moments to see what we’ve been up to and if you have any questions or feedback, never hesitate to contact me directly. Thank you and Happy Summer!

Take care,
Corey Clark
Fairfield County Job and Family Services Director
OhioMeansJobs Makes a Difference
George visited our OhioMeansJobs Center in search of employment after losing a great position with a very large employer. He applied for unemployment benefits and was denied. As a married individual, with three children, he was the primary income earner of the family and needed to find employment quickly. He worked with one of our WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) Career Advisors during a visit to the OhioMeansJobs Center to discuss career exploration and the possibility of training in an in-demand occupation. He was instantly drawn to becoming a CDL driver. He had some barriers that we worked with him to overcome, but in the end, this was a big step in the right direction for George. The entire staff at OMJ Fairfield County had the opportunity to work with George and was cheering him on to be the best that he could be. He took a job at a Columbus hotel to make ends meet until he finished his training. He continued to stop into the OMJ Center during his 4-week training because he was overwhelmed. He wanted to give up at times and he didn’t pass his final driving exam, but due to our OMJ staff believing in him and encouraging him to retake the exam, he passed the driving exam and became a licensed CDL A driver! The next step was to find employment, George was driven to become employed knowing he had a family to support, he started a new job using his CDL A license within 10 days for a well-known over the road trucking company. George contacted us after working with this employer for a few weeks to let us know how thankful he was for the WIOA Program and everyone that works in the OhioMeansJobs Center. “I would not be where I am today, if it was not for all of you at OhioMeansJobs Fairfield County believing in me," George said.

In 2022, we conducted 139 WIOA Orientations, 26 participants enrolled and completed their credentials earning a license, certificate, or diploma in an in-demand occupation.
May has been recognized as National Foster Care Month. This year’s theme, “Strengthening Minds. Uplifting Families," highlights the need to take a holistic and culturally responsive approach to supporting the mental health needs of those involved with child welfare. On May 6, the Protective Services team hosted a banquet/training to celebrate the 30 agency foster homes licensed by Fairfield County. As of May 2023, Fairfield County agency foster homes are providing services for 26 children needing foster placement. Combined with the 44 children in network foster care homes, the agency has a total of 70 children in foster care. There is always a need for more homes to take placement of youth with a variety of needs. If you are aware of anyone who is interested in fostering or would like more information about the process, please visit or reach out to a foster care caseworker at (740) 652-7887. 
Child Abuse Prevention Month Update #OhioWearsBlue
On April 12, 2023, JFS staff and community members wore blue to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. A special thank you to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, SAFY, and the four Parent Partners who presented at the 2023 Child Abuse Prevention Month Awareness Breakfast.
Child Support Employees Visit
the Statehouse
Representatives from the Fairfield County Child Support Enforcement Agency participated in the Ohio Child Support Directors’ Association’s annual Statehouse Day on March 29. During various appointments scheduled at the Ohio Statehouse throughout the day CSEA Deputy Director Patrick Welsh, CSEA Manager of Operations Kelly Shoemaker, and CSEA Managing Attorney Jim Nietz met with State Senator Tim Schaffer, State Representative Jeff LaRe, and State Representative Kevin Miller. Fairfield County CSEA leadership used this time with our legislators to highlight the importance of our state’s child support program, provide our input on pending child support-related legislation focused on the program’s budgetary allocation, a child support bill impacting non-legal custodian caretakers (House Bill 33), and two Driver’s License Suspension Limitations bills (House Bill 29 and Senate Bill 37). Patrick, Kelly, and Jim also expressed their gratitude to these public officials for their continued support for our program.  
A Great Success!
Warmer weather means lots of outdoor activities for the warmer months. Among the most anticipated events for our agency is Family Fun Fest. Since 2002, this event is held every year to provide the families of Fairfield County time to spend with their loved ones in a fun and FREE atmosphere. This event is only possible due to our generous sponsors (volunteers and community partners) who go out of their way to support the community.

Family Fun Fest 2023 occurred May 10th and was a collaboration with Fairfield County Job and Family Services and 41 local organizations and businesses who donated time and resources to make this event a success. More than 600 community members came together to enjoy the festivities.

Children and families were able to play a wide variety of games for all ages and win prizes. We were also able to provide food for all attendees, including hot dogs, cotton candy and popcorn. In additional to providing activities, many local organizations provided information about their organizations and additional resources that families could utilize. Fortunately, the weather was beautiful which helped ensure the event was a resounding success. We want to thank the community partners, volunteers and attendees who came out to support the event.
CSEA Legal Team Update
The Fairfield County CSEA’s Legal Department is fully staffed for the first time since June of 2022. Recent attorney additions Tyler Fisher and Heather Wharton have rounded-out this integral team of six. Managing Attorney Jim Nietz, who has guided this group through months of transition, is relatively new to Fairfield County employment as well. Jim possesses nearly fifteen years of legal experience as a Franklin County CSEA Attorney and graduated from the Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing, Michigan. Jim resides with his wife and two sons in Pickerington. Tyler Fisher is a recent graduate of the Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and resides with his wife and daughter in Lancaster. Tyler has been a tremendous addition to the CSEA and was recently recognized as their Employee of the Year. Heather Wharton began her career as a Fairfield County CSEA Attorney on May 15 and was raised right here in Fairfield County. Heather, a practicing attorney for over ten years, resides in Amanda and is a graduate of the Ohio State University Moritz School of Law. Legal Specialists (Jenice Pickering, Laurie Hunter, and Kim Kirchgessner) have been the team’s stalwarts throughout the department’s recent transformation. The Fairfield County CSEA has benefitted greatly from the veteran presence and institutional knowledge possessed by these three individuals: Jenice Pickering, Laurie Hunter, and Kim Kirchgessner.