BATAVIA, Ohio — Clermont County began its search Tuesday for a new director of Job and Family Services.
The person who fills the position will be in charge of programs that affect some of the most vulnerable citizens: seniors, children in need of protection and workers in need of unemployment benefits.
JFS serves one in four people in Ohio, according to the Ohio JFS Directors’ Association. During the peak of the pandemic, the association said that number was more like one in three people. Scott O'Reilley, a former Clermont County prosecutor who worked with JFS in child fatality and abuse cases said the job is not easy.
“I feel nervous for the person that’s taking that role because it’s difficult,” O’Reilly said. “You think, maybe if we just find the right person, your problems will be solved, but that’s not the case. I mean, I think the Department of Job and Family Services, Children Protective Services, it’s a hard position to take over because of the constraints of the system."
On top of that, directors' association executive director Joel Potts said in any given year, Ohio has 10 to 12 directors leave the position.
“One of the issues you've got is it takes a lot of experience, a lot of background area of expertise,” Potts said.
Potts said often the person who accepts the job has already been in the field working for 30-plus years. That can lead to retirement soon after taking the job.
In Clermont County’s case, director Timothy Dick had been in place about three years before the county said he decided to move to a different role.
“It’s is a very hard job to fill because there just aren’t that many people who have that kind of experience, that kind of skill set, and it takes a passion and level of commitment that most jobs don’t require,” Potts said.
Clermont County would not comment on the new goals for the future director until after the person is in place.
“Whatever county is going to get a new director, you’ve got to be collaborative," O'Reilly said. "You’ve got to work with law enforcement. You’ve got to work with the hospitals. You’ve got to work with other non-profits because this is a multi-faceted problem."