HCJFS veteran leader promoted to director

Hamilton County Commissioners voted today to approve the promotion of Michael Patton, who has worked for Hamilton County Job and Family Services since 1993, to agency director. He has held many executive roles, including leadership positions in Child Support, Children’s Services Program Support, Workforce Development and Public Assistance. His most recent title was Assistant Director for Child Support, Building Services and Fatherhood Initiatives.

His JFS career highlights:

  • He led the implementation of a metro county toolbox for Child Support agencies that streamlined and automated processes. It’s still in use in many counties across the state of Ohio.
  • He partnered with a local non-profit to provide early intervention services to non-custodial parents new to the child support system. Those service included employment, co-parenting and legal support.
  • He started the push for programming to help fathers, which has grown into the successful Fatherhood Collaborative of Hamilton County. The collaborative recently held its first major event, honoring seven fathers for their work in the community. It also holds monthly events where dads can network and talk about issues that make being a dad difficult, from the pandemic to divorce and poverty.
  • He’s currently helping lead the agency’s efforts to become more equitable and inclusive. The team’s plan is being developed now by a diverse group of employees with hopes to put it into practice by summer.
  • He worked with a cross section of agency employees to develop and implement Project M.O.R.E., the agency’s first formal mentoring program. The first cohort of participants is due to complete the 12-month program this spring.

“JFS is a large, complex organization that provides a lot of help for people in need in our community,” he said. “My years of experience have prepared me to take on this role. I’m ready to go to work.”

“We are so excited to have Michael lead our largest organization,” said Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas. “He has a passion for helping Hamilton County families, especially during these hard times, and he understands that our most valuable resource is our employees. Michael will be the agency’s first African-American director.”

“Today is historic. We are thrilled to have selected and promoted a qualified and seasoned professional who can hit the ground running to help the thousands of citizens and children in need,” said Commission Vice President Alicia Reece.

“We are confident that Michael has the skills and the commitment needed to carry out our vision of working collaboratively towards a community free of abuse, neglect, and financial need,” said Commissioner Denise Driehaus.

As the agency’s first African-American director, he is proud of that achievement and credits a list of previous HCJFS leaders who helped inspire and teach him. He hopes to help foster the same kind of mentoring for others.

The appointment is effective immediately. It comes after a months-long search that involved many interviews with county leaders as well as community stakeholders. He takes over from Amy Story, who has been interim director since August.

Patton and his wife, Bridget, have two adult children. She works as a community engagement and policy professional. He’s a University of Cincinnati graduate and a U.S. Army Reserves veteran, where he was a gunner and started his leadership career as a platoon guide.

HCJFS is the largest department within Hamilton County government, with more than 750 employees. It has served Hamilton County residents since 1947 and is one of few quadruple-combined public human services agencies in Ohio, meaning it provides public assistance, children’s services, child support services and workforce development.

by Jane Prendergast

Filed Under: News