May 2023 Newsletter

Director's Corner

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.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

From the Field: County Highlights


Auglaize County is welcoming a new Family Peer Mentor to their START Team.


Dawn McDonald-Wycoff has been named as the new START Supervisor in Portage County.


Allen County has 7 open cases, including one newly opened case, and has served 11 total families.

2023 Ohio START Summit is a Success!

Ohio START hosted the 5th Annual Ohio START Summit May 1 at the Fawcett Center in Columbus with more than 200 START team members in attendance. Dr. Brad Lander from OSU kicked off the day with a keynote address, followed by a panel of START parents discussing their START experience and then several breakout sessions. Congratulations to the winners of the first Ohio START staff awards!

2023 Ohio START Award Winners:

  • Community Partner of the Year - Bethany Bolin of Gallia and Meigs Counties
  • Family Peer Mentor of the Year - Lyndsey Graham of Brown County
  • Supervisor of the Year - Ann Lynch of Ashtabula County
  • Caseworker of the Year - Beth Smyntek of Summit County

Ashtabula Holds Community Luncheon

On April 19th, Ashtabula County Children Services held their annual “It Takes A Community” luncheon which was attended by approximately 100 community members. Ohio START Technical Assistance Consultant, Kathi Spirk, provided a motivational keynote address. Kathi is pictured with the Ashtabula START team. 

Trumbull County FPM Wins RUMO Award

Trumbull County Children Services Ohio START team’s Family Peer Mentor, Jennifer Barbera was selected as one of the Agency’s Rising Up and Moving On (RUMO) Award winners in April. RUMO is an annual event that Trumbull County holds every April during Child Abuse Prevention Month to honor individuals who have overcome challenges and have been successful in their work with our Agency. 

Barbera was nominated due to her previous personal involvement with the Agency. She had experienced a drug overdose which led her infant daughter, Rockie to be placed into foster care. Barbera was one of the first clients to be paired with a peer recovery coach at our Agency through a previous Federal grant (QIC grant). She was very determined, working closely with her SUD provider and peer supporter. She was successful in reunifying with Rockie in just 4 months and credits the close working relationship she developed with not only her peer supporter, but also Rockie’s foster parents.

Barbera is now a Family Peer Mentor for our Ohio START team and is paired with a caseworker, Angela Cochran, who used to be her peer supporter. She continues to work a strong Recovery program and is very active within the local sober support community.

Employee Spotlight

Sarah DeBruyne, START Caseworker in Ottawa County

Sarah goes above and beyond for every one of Ottawa's START Cases. She never loses hope on her clients, and always puts families first, making sure they have everything they need to succeed. She never loses hope in her clients.

Amanda Grey & Tammy Burson, Family Peer Mentors in Hamilton County

Amanda and Tammy are the two Family Peer Mentors in Hamilton County. Recently, there has been a lot of change within START management in Hamilton, and there has been some caseworker turnover. Amanda and Tammy have shown their strength and resilience throughout the changes. Their colleagues are grateful for the support and compassion they've provided their START team and the families they serve. They’ve used the changes as motivation to come together as a team and uplift each other. Amanda and Tammy inspire growth in others each and every day.


Nominate an Ohio START staff member to be spotlighted HERE.

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

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 a.m. The same link will be used for all learning community calls.

Calling all Administrators!

Please join us Thursday, May 18, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Zoom Link:

Here is the upcoming schedule:   

  • 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, May 18, 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 Reflective Supervision (Part 2).

Register here:


2023 Peer Recovery Summit 

Save the date! OhioPRO (Peer Recovery Organizations) will host the 2023 Peer Recovery Summit, Ohioans Thriving in Recovery, on Aug. 16-17 at the Marriott Columbus OSU. This event will serve as a place where certified peer supporters can gather to network, learn, and grow in a space dedicated to their advancement. Registration for the summit will open in May and be limited to 400 attendees. Attendees will receive continuing education credits (CEUs). If you have any questions, please email OhioPRO Executive Director Michael Krause at


Upcoming Introduction to eCPR Classes

The P.E.E.R. Center, in conjunction with OhioMHAS, has announced Emotional CPR (eCPR). eCPR is an educational program developed by the recovery movement designed to teach people to assist others through an emotional crisis by three simple steps: C = Connecting, P = emPowering, and R = Revitalizing. The Connecting process of eCPR involves deepening listening skills, practicing presence, and creating a sense of safety for the person experiencing a crisis. The next training will be held May 25 from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Please note that these are introductory classes, and do not certify you in eCPR; however, participants will receive 6 hours of CEUs.

Register here:

Visit the training calendar below to register

Nurturing Parenting: Appropriate Expectations & Family Roles

May 12 from 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Family Team Meetings: Facilitator Skills

May 17 from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Introduction to START for New Staff

May 18 from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Supervisor Professional Learning Community: Reflective Supervision (Part 2)

May 18 from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Nurturing Parenting: Empathy & Personal Power

May 19 from 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Supporting LGBTQIA+ Families

May 24 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Motivational Interviewing: Practical Application Practice

May 26 from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Substance Use Disorders 101

May 31 from 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 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.
Visit our website