After a four-month national search for a new executive director for Summit County Children Services, a committee of the agency’s board of trustees has recommended a candidate from its own backyard.
Julie Barnes, 53, has been executive director of Stark County Job and Family Services since 2008. She was selected from a pool of 50 applicants.
“We looked at a number of candidates and asked the search committee to look at a slate of four finalists, and the search committee made its selection from there,” said Pat Prout, president and CEO of the Prout Group, a Cleveland recruitment firm that coordinated the search. “The person will be meeting with the public, and the full board will vote to approve the candidate after that date.”
Barnes, a Cleveland-area native, will meet the community at a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at Summit County Children Services offices, 264 S. Arlington St.
“I’m really pleased to be the recommended candidate and hopeful that all goes well and I’m there,” Barnes said Tuesday. “I used to work for Summit County Children Services for five years, so it’s kind of nice to come back to a place I know and to child welfare, which is really where my passion is and be able to focus on that.
“So it’s pretty exciting.”
Summit’s Children Services agency is Ohio’s fifth largest, Stark is seventh.
“We are a little bit smaller than Summit, but the makeup of the two agencies is a little different,” Barnes said. “In Stark, we are a combined agency; we are three agencies in one, triple combined, including Human Services, Child Support and Children Services. In Summit, Children Services is a stand alone. This agency is a little bigger in terms of staff because it is a combined agency.”
The Stark agency has a staff of about 475 members and works with an annual budget of about $50 million.
Prior to serving as director of the Stark County agency, Barnes served as director of foster care and adoption at Summit County Children Services from 2002 to 2007. Barnes also has experience in the child welfare field at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Geauga County Department of Job and Family Services.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hiram College and a master’s degree in higher education from Kent State University, specializing in social work.
John Saros, 69, will retire as Summit County Children Services’ executive director at the end of the year. He rejoined the agency in 2007 after retiring as head of Franklin County Children Services that same year.
Previously, Saros worked for Summit County as the agency’s associate director from 1977 to 1983.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.