Columbus, OH — The Franklin County Commissioners are taking steps to integrate county human services systems to better meet the needs of residents. The Board today announced Joy Bivens, currently the director of Job and Family Services (JFS), will begin serving in the new role of deputy county administrator for health and human services.
In addition to continuing to lead JFS, the county’s largest agency and core social safety net, Bivens will also oversee the county’s Office on Aging, Child Support Enforcement Agency and Office of Justice Policy and Programs. She will officially begin her new role with the administrative team that runs the county on a day-to-day basis Oct. 19.
Bivens first worked at the county in 2004 before leaving to begin her own healthcare administration business. She returned to JFS in 2015, and was appointed director of the agency in 2016. She has also served on the Whitehall City School Board and holds leadership positions with the National Association of Counties and the Ohio Job and Family Services Directors’ Association.
“Joy Bivens has been a tremendous leader for JFS,” said County Administrator Kenneth N. Wilson. “And we’re thrilled that she’ll be bringing the energy and expertise that she has shown there to all of our human services agencies. The Board of Commissioners endeavors to serve every Franklin County resident every day, and nobody embodies that spirit more than Joy.”
Bivens was tasked with leading the development of the commissioners’ Rise Together Blueprint, a community-wide, collective impact initiative to address challenges of poverty and create opportunities for families to thrive. The Blueprint, which was released last year, highlighted the role of siloed systems in perpetuating racism and inequality and paved the way for Franklin County to become the first in the state to declare racism a public health crisis.
She was also instrumental in standing up the county’s new Family Stabilization Unit, a pilot program that works across county government agencies to provide wraparound assistance for Black boys involved in the juvenile justice system and their families. The pilot reflects the holistic, person-centered approach she will bring to her new position.
“Many people are eager for a ‘return to normal’ from this pandemic, but I can tell you that ‘normal’ was not working for poor people, for Black and brown people or for our most vulnerable,” Bivens said. “Our commissioners recognize that now more than ever, we need a system that is centered around families and their needs. I am grateful for the trust they and Administrator Wilson have put in me and I’m eager to take on this new challenge.”
The three-member Board of Commissioners is the administrative body for the county, and the budgetary authority for the county’s $487 million General Fund and nearly $1.6 billion All Funds budgets. The county administrator is the senior unelected county official and, with a team of three deputy county administrators, oversees the leadership and staff of 14 separate county agencies, including nearly 1,500 employees.
For more information about the Board of Commissioners’ structure, leadership, and budget, visit commissioners.franklincountyohio.gov.