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Changes mean new locale for CSEA and new philosophy for JFS

It’s been an eventful year for the Logan County Job & Family Services.

Long-time director Dan Willoby is gone and the Logan County Child Support Enforcement Agency has moved from the Carnegie Building to the JFS facilities at 211 E. Columbus Ave.

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“There will be significant savings in terms of utilities and leases,” new JFS Director Susan Bailey-Evans said, but there also is a change afoot in the JFS role.

The move, which came in August, puts all of the JFS-administered functions under one roof. This should improve communications among the entities which have a symbiotic relationship.

JFS helps with living assistance and jobs while the CSEA wants its clients employed and able to make the court-mandated payments to support their children.

Ms. Bailey-Evans said JFS also is making a slow but methodical change from a benefits-oriented operation into a job placement agency.

For CSEA Director Kim Kellogg-Martin, the move should help her agency’s efforts to communicate with clients.

JFS staff members are learning more about the CSEA role and visa versa as the employees interact with each other. As working knowledge improves, caseworkers will better know how to direct clients to services or to resolution of support problems.

Right now, the CSEA is focusing on telling clients about the change in office location and a new Web portal to help clients track payments, Ms. Kellogg-Martin said.

Cynthia Heffner, a staff attorney, said people who pay into CSEA and people who receive the payments can use the site to track payments and access information on services and frequently asked questions from any personal computers at their leisure.

Computers also are available at the Logan County District Libraries and the JFS offices.

Clients can register by going to the state JFS Website at http://jfs.ohio.gov and scroll through the Child Support tab under the top banner.

Ms. Heffner said thus far, reviews have been positive.

It gives the consumers more access to their information which can be critical for job, loan and public assistance, she said.

Ms. Kellogg-Martin said her staff of 10 continually try to reach out to the few people who owe child support, stressing it is important to open up dialogue.

“Avoiding it doesn’t make it go away,” she said.

In all, the CSEA handles cases equaling $809,000 a year. Of that, the agency is collecting nearly $600,000.

On the JFS side, Ms. Bailey-Evans is shifting the division to an employment services mindset.

It is philosophy that has been in place since the 1990s at the Champaign County JFS where she also serves as director.

“It’s still in its infancy,” Ms. Bailey-Evans said. “We have to change the mindset in-agency, then push it out into the community.

“Financial assistance programs are temporary benefits. We want to hook those clients into the one-stop office and get them a job so they don’t have to rely on public assistance.”

The WorkPlus One-Stop employment office is located in the northeast corner of the 211 E. Columbus facility. It has an entrance off the parking lot.

Logan County Commissioners Dustin Wickersham, Tony Core and John Bayliss are excited about the employee services approach and believe it will pay off in the long run.

Ms. Bailey-Evans’ experience in the area and the recommendation of the Champaign County Commissioners are two of the reasons local commissioners chose her over other candidates.

“I think we’re pleased with the improvement made thus far,” said Mr. Core. “The improvements are changes and efficiencies that needed to happen.”

The telephone number for the JFS or the CSEA is (937) 599-5165 or toll-free at (800) 598-5156

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