“I have a passion and desire to see families flourish and ensure the child’s safety,” she said.
Having worked as an assistant prosecutor in Erie and Lucas counties, Reed said she’s seen “the aftermath” of families struggling with issues such as drugs and poverty.
“I want to be in the forefront,” added the Bowling Green resident, who wants JFS to be proactive. “The impact an agency like this can have is exponential.”
Reed, who was born in Bellevue, is working with Jill Nolan, whose last day in the office as the JFS director is Dec. 21.
Nolan, of Wakeman, has overseen the welfare angency since November 2011, when the Huron County commissioners named her the JFS interim director. In May 2012, she took over on a full-time basis.
“I came to the agency in November 2011,” Nolan said.
“I was at OSU as an associate professor for 35 years and I was ready to retire. I made that trek to Columbus too many times,” she added. “I wasn’t ready to retire. I had the position as the (JFS) interim director and I decided I liked it.”
This time, Nolan, 64, said she believes her retirement will stick.
“I look forward to casual coffee with my husband (Mike) in the morning; that hasn’t happened in 40-plus years. He just retired from Otterbein College,” she said.
Her husband was the associate director of development for more than 18 years.
Looking back on her time at JFS, Nolan said the agency is full of hard working and “very professional” employees and she is appreciative of the commissioners selecting her to oversee the department.
“I’m grateful to work with the staff here. I’ve learned a great deal about public service,” she added.
Reed’s experience as an attorney will bring a “legal perspective” to JFS, Nolan said, since the agency handles many cases that are linked closely to the Ohio Revised Code.
“She comes from a child welfare background; she has that skill set,” Nolan continued. “Plus I think Jennifer has a good experience working with the media.”
Reed, who went to high school in Kentucky, earned two bachelor of art degrees from the University of Kentucky — in political science and psychology. Her juris doctorate is from The University of Toledo.
For two years, she worked as an investigator and ongoing case worker for Erie County Children Services. During law school, Reed worked for the Lucas County Children Services legal department.
Reed also has been a court-appointed special advocate and guardian ad litem in Erie, Hancock, Lucas and Wood counties.
“Then I was an assistant prosecutor in Erie County and I represented Erie County Children Services,” she said.
For the last four years, Reed was a Lucas County assistant prosecutor. She said she was the child-victim prosecutor who handled sexual abuse cases and those involving “serious physical harm of chidren.”
“Jill is leaving the agency in a good state. I hope I can continue that; I hope we continue to grow,” Reed said.