Starr Van Wert hosts OACCA Community Roundtable Event

Starr Van WertMeeting the needs of local youth and families despite budget cuts

A community roundtable on children and family services was held Friday, Aug. 21 at the Starr Van Wert campus with the Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies (OACCA) facilitating the event. Executives from public and private child and family service and mental health agencies and local politicians met at the Beckmann Family Center on the Starr Commonwealth campus along Lincoln Highway.OACCA logo

The goal was to learn more about the state of child and family agencies in Ohio, including the challenges and opportunities for service providers during the current economic recession.

“It’s important that policy makers understand that they are under funding the child welfare and child safety net in the state of Ohio,” said Bryan Brown, Director of Public Policy and Business Development for Starr Commonwealth. “We need the federal and state governments to fund the services we know work and achieve positive outcomes for children and their families.”

Mark Mecum, Associate Director for Government Relations with OACCA, facilitated the conversation among attendees, which included State Representative Lynn Wachtmann; Kim Mullins, Executive Director of The Marsh Foundation; Scott Ferris, Director of Allen County Children Services; and Dru Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY), as well as other local and state leaders concerned about the future or children services.

OACCA is hosting roundtable discussions like this throughout the state and working toward a shared priority list and unified recommendations for reform as public and private agencies advocate for what’s in the best interest of Ohio’s youth and families.

“The time is now for public and private agencies that serve children to work with policy makers to figure out how to weather this economic storm,” Mecum said. “Several ideas have been identified at the roundtable events that aim to cut costs for agencies without lessening the quality of services to children. We look forward to working with Starr and other organizations to pursue these opportunities.”

OACCA is a statewide association of private and public agencies that provide a wide array of services to children and families across the state. Learn more at

Starr Commonwealth is internationally recognized as a leader in transformational programs for children, families, schools and communities. Founded in 1913, Starr’s treatment philosophy is rooted in seeing something good in every child, which serves as the guiding principle in its strength-based approach. Starr offers a full spectrum of community-based early intervention and prevention services along with specialized residential programs. Through the Starr Institute of Training, parents, clinicians, educators and childcare professionals now have access to Starr’s highly successful and innovative techniques aimed at bringing out the best in every child. For more information about Starr Commonwealth, please call 800-837-5591 or visit


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