HCJFS has hired a senior-level administrator to coordinate and manage the agency’s behavioral health work as the agency attempts to serve more families and children with greater emotional and mental health needs.
Nina Lewis joins the agency after many years of leadership in behavioral health care. She will lead the agency’s behavioral health transition to Medicaid managed care for foster children, with a focus on multi-system partnerships, community-based programs and in-home services that strengthen the agency’s behavioral health offerings.
In addition to her behavioral health work, Lewis will consult with providers about culturally-informed best practices.
Lewis previously directed provider relations for Hamilton Choices, an organization specialized in managed care for youth with severe emotional and mental health needs. She also served as a deputy director at the Hamilton County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board and, for the past eight years, chaired the Union Institute and University’s Undergraduate Social Work Program.
“Nina has a great and diverse background, and she can help us move forward on many fronts,” said Moira Weir, agency director. “We are seeing so many more families and children with great mental health needs that it was imperative we get an appropriate level of leadership and coordination in that area. Nina’s experience will be a great fit for one of our most pressing needs.”
The agency served more than 20,000 children in 2017, a jump of nearly 3,000 from the previous year. Margie Weaver, assistant director – Children’s Services, said those children, and their families, often have far more severe mental health needs than in years past.
“Behavioral health is one of the key components to ensuring children are safe and parents are able to meet their needs,” Weaver said. “We have always focused on the emotional and mental health needs of children, but, as those needs have become more challenging, we have realized we need to step up our services.”