New official to review county office

Date: 2007-09-08


Teresa Alt will be assigned to review the embattled Children Services Division once she gets settled in her new post, said Human Resources Director Bonnie Richards.

Alt was most recently employed as a clinical director at the Richland County Children Services, a post she has held since 2003, according to her resume.

She also has experience as a social worker, quality specialist, home based counselor through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and a non-reporting probation officer at the Richland County Juvenile Court, according to her resume.

"She has a ton of Children Services experience," said Richards.

In addition to the various positions, Alt has held since graduating with a master's degree from The Ohio State University, she's also qualified to certify agencies for accreditation through the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, a division of Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, said Richards.

"That's a goal I'd like to see for this agency at some point," said Richards.

The agency has suffered heavy scrutiny during the past few years with high-profile cases being a spotlight on the department. The cases included incidents where children have died and the 11 adopted children of Michael and Sharen Gravelle, who were removed from the couple's custody.

The couple was found guilty of abusing some of their 11 adopted children and during the Gravelles' trial, documents showed Huron County Department of Job and Family Services had conducted home studies at the family's Clarksfield Township home.

Last year, the agency was ordered by a jury to pay $600,000 to the estate of Connre Dixon, an 11-year-old foster child who was stabbed to death by her foster father, Paul Efaw. The county is appealing the decision.

During the ongoing proceedings with the Gravelles, the administration and county commissioners spearheaded a review of the agency to improve its effectiveness. Since then, former Director Erich Dumbeck resigned; David Broehl retired and a number of staff cuts have been made in other divisions of the agency.

Richards and Interim Director Lowell Etzler are not saying whether to expect more cuts as the review continues.

However, Richards indicated Alt will be conducting the audit of the Children Services Division.

"When Teresa Alt gets on board, she'll be doing a more detailed review. I haven't really gotten to that one yet because the state scrutinizes it in so much detail," said Richards.

Broehl had offered to help out with the transition of administrators. Richards would not say why he wasn't kept on while Alt was trained and Broehl refused comment.


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