Knox County Family and Children First Council

Mission Statement:
To promote and facilitate collaboration among community agencies serving children and their families.

Knox County officially formed a local Council in February 1995 in response to state legislation mandating all 88 Ohio counties to organize a local Council. The authority and responsibility of local Councils is defined in Section 121.37 of the Ohio Revised Code.

The purpose of the Ohio Family and Children First Initiative is to streamline and coordinate existing publicly funded services to help families seeking assistance for their children. This initiative is a partnership of government agencies and community organizations committed to improving the well-being of children and families. The focus is on the following shared commitments to child well-being:

  • Expectant parents and newborns thrive
  • Infants and toddlers thrive
  • Children are ready for school
  • Children and youth succeed in school
  • Youth choose healthy behaviors
  • Youth successfully transition to adulthood

These commitments are used to organize Ohio’s budget and mobilize community partnerships.

The major source of funding for the Council is through the numerous state and federal grants available to develop and administer specific programs. Several local Council agencies also contribute local dollars to purchase services for multi-need children.

Membership - State statute mandates representation from the following:
At least 3 Family Representatives
Mental Health and Recovery Board
County Health Department
Department of Job & Family Services
County Board of Developmental Disabilities
Largest School District
Other School District Representing the County Schools
Largest City
Department of Youth Services
Local Non-Profit Organization
County Early Childhood Coordinating Committee
County Commissioner
County Head Start Program
Children’s Services, if not part of DJFS

Local membership has been expanded to include the following agencies:
American Red Cros East-Central Ohio Chapter
Behavioral Healthcare Partners of Central Ohio, Inc.
The Freedom Center
Interchurch Social Services of Knox County, Inc.
Knox Area Transit (KAT)
Metropolitan Housing Authority
NAMI of Knox/Licking Counties
New Directions Domestic Abuse Shelter of Knox County
OSU Extension
Pathways of Central Ohio
The Salvation Army of Mount Vernon
The Village Network
United Way of Knox County, Inc.

The Executive Directors from these agencies sit on the Family and Children First Council.

Council Meetings:
The Council convenes meetings on the third Wednesday of the following months from 1-3 p.m. February, April, June, August, October, and December. Currently, the meetings are held at the Department of Job and Family Services, Third Floor Conference Room - East A, 117 East High Street. The meetings are open to the public.

Officers/Executive Committee for fiscal year 2019:
Kay Spergel, Chair, Mental Health and Recovery for Knox and Licking Counties
Kristin McCloud,Vice-Chair, Pathways of Central Ohio

Members of the Executive Committee include the Chair and Vice Chair as well as the following: PamRose,MountVernon City Schools; Matthew Kurtz, Knox County Job and Family Services; Misty Griffith, Parent Representative; Peg Tazewell, Knox County Head Start; Lori Jones-Perkins, New Directions Domestic Abuse Shelter and Rape Crisis Center of Knox County; and Colette Hart, Council Coordinator (Ex-Officio).

Click on the following links for more information:
Knox County Family and Children First Council Fact Sheet
Knox County Family and Children First Council Bylaws
Knox County Family and Children First Full Council and Executive Committee Meeting Schedule
Invitation to Parent Representatives and Application to Serve on Knox County Family and Children First Council
Knox County's Operational Capacity
Building Funds Grant - SFY 2019
Knox County's House Bill 289 Shared Plan
Knox County's Service Coordination Mechanism - Community Team Manual

How to Contact and Refer to the County FCFC Service Coordination Process - Contact Information

For more information, contact Colette Hart, Council Coordinator, at 740.397.6300 or

Find out about resources for Ohio children and families at red