Press release provided by the office of the Seneca County Commissioners Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services Director Kathy Oliver was named Ohio's DJFS Director of the Year Friday by the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors' Association. Oliver, who has been the county's director since June 2003, was given the award Friday at the OJFSDA Annual Recognition Banquet in Columbus. "It is an absolute honor and blessing," Oliver said. "There are so many talented, skilled and innovative directors in Ohio. I consider myself fortunate to get to work with them on various committees, task forces and work groups." The award recognizes a director who, through dedicated efforts throughout their career, exemplify the professional qualities and achievements of an outstanding director. OJFSDA received nominations for director of the year through the end of October. As part of Oliver's nomination, other directors and staff members recognized Oliver for her hard work. The letter she received informing her that she was selected as director of the year states, "your commitment to the residents of your county, as well as your involvement in the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors' Association, is greatly appreciated. Your peers described you as open, kind, hard-working and a steadfast advocate for the well-being of your customers. It is fitting and with great honor that we recognize you for all your dedication to your agency, community and the entire job and family service system." Oliver credited DJFS staff for allowing the department to succeed. "We are successful because of our staff's commitment to helping individuals and families with the services we provide," she said. "We have skilled, talented and trained staff. We are fortunate that we have an excellent workforce who constantly adapts to new rules and regulations to provide the best service possible. We also work with amazing community partners that are interested in finding solutions and implementing best practices." Ginger Mack, of Seneca County DJFS, said she was happy Oliver received the recognition. “Kathy is a respected leader in our agency, community and the state," she said. "I don’t know anyone who is more deserving of this award.” Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas said Oliver deserves the award. “Seneca County is proud to have Kathy Oliver leading our JFS agency,” he said. “Her guidance has led to best practices being implemented across our system, this is reflected in recent outstanding audits from the state of Ohio. We are thankful that she continues to serve some of our most in need populations. Oliver said many changes and improvements have been made during her time as director. "We started electronic imaging shortly after I became the director," she said. "That project freed up space for offices for our staff instead of having file rooms. We also created an agency database that holds all types of documents, guidance and rules for ease of our workers to quickly find what they need to do their job." Oliver also said two call centers have been implemented to provide better customer service. "There is a call center for public assistance and one for child support. Both have less than a minute wait time. We have also implemented a human resources software, which allows us to efficiently process payroll and electronically submit it to the auditor’s office," she said. Oliver said 2018 has been a busy year for Seneca County DJFS. "We are implementing state-wide imaging solutions for public assistance, child care, child protection and child support," she said. "Also, we completed the transition to the state-wide public assistance system called Ohio Benefits. We have been part of many committees locally and in the state to better serve our families in Seneca County, by creating sound policy, systems and solutions. We continue to develop leaders within our staff by participating in Seneca County Leadership with some of our staff." Oliver said other strides are being made in the child support program, in the workforce program and in several others. "In the child support program, we are in the process of preparing to implement new state legislation which provided technical fixes and update to the child support guideline," she said, adding that the changes will be implemented in March 2019. "In the Workforce program, we just completed work as part of a team with economic development, the chamber, local employers, community partners and Tiffin University for the 2018 manufacturing showcase event. Over ten schools and 750 students participated in learning about jobs in manufacturing here in Seneca County. We were also one of the first apprenticeship programs with employers in Ohio as part of Area 7. We continue to assist individuals with training and on-the-job training needs." Oliver also said many families have been helped with winter clothing through a partnership with local retail stores. "We have also been able to help families with training, car repairs, gas vouchers, heating and other services to help families who are eligible,” she said.