A visit from the new ODJFS director


Matt Damschroder, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, visited Cincinnati today to meet with leaders of Hamilton County JFS for a conversation about successful programs and emerging needs.

He wanted an “in-person understanding of what you face and what needs you have,” he told Interim Director Amy Story and a group of managers.

Among the successes presented by Hamilton County was the Ohio START Program, which stands for Sobriety, Treatment and Reducing Trauma. It’s a family-centered approach built on recognizing that addiction is a family disease.

Of the Hamilton County participants, 50 percent maintained custody of their children while in recovery and most of those were able to keep the children in their home. We just hired our second START caseworker and peer mentor so we can serve more families.

Matt Damschroder, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

They also discussed our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, including our equity study group, upcoming listening sessions and equity in hiring and promotions.

He was also interested in hearing about Ohio ASAP, which is a safety review system for cases that are deemed to be at high risk for child fatalities. Our data shows that the program has reduced subsequent reports about the same children and reduced the number of cases transferred for ongoing monitoring.

Other topics: our new mentoring program, Children’s Services virtual reality training, Safe Sleep, our involvement with the 513Relief bus and our Child Support amnesty program, which we advertised more extensively this year.

Officials discussed our workforce shortage and declining applications for open positions.

Damschroder is new in the position. He was named interim director in March, then director in July.

He also addressed the American Public Human Services Association’s IT Solutions Management for Human Services group at the Duke Energy Convention Center. There, he shared how JFS is using technology to improve all aspects of the agency, from creating more user-friendly applications to offering virtual reality so counties can successfully recruit and retain children services staff.

by Jane Prendergast

Filed Under: News