WELCOME TO OHIOKAN

Region 7

Please learn about our region, our partners and services, and all of the resources we have available for you.

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We proudly serve kinship and adoption families throughout the state. Our OhioKAN Region 7 team specifically serves families in our area and is dedicated to making sure you get the resources you deserve.

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COUNTIES SERVED

Franklin


Fairfield


Licking


Madison


Pickaway

REGION 7 STAFF

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JoAnn Heichel

DIRECTOR

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JoAnn Heichel

Director, Region 7

JoAnn is a dedicated Licensed Social Worker with over 20 years of experience in the field of social work. She has also spent time working with youth and families in education, including a tenure as a preschool teacher and children’s librarian. Most recently, she served as a Licensing Specialist with The Buckeye Ranch, where she completed home studies with kinship and Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) families. Additionally, she was a Program Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters and has extensive experience in foster care and adoptions. JoAnn holds her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the Ohio Dominican University and is a certified Adoption Assessor. JoAnn is pursuing her MSW currently with Florida State University. She has been interested in working at Kinnect since she attended the Kinnect convening event in December of 2018, and is so excited to be the Program Director in Region 7!

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Lena Garner

COORDINATOR

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Lena Garner

Coordinator, Region 7

Lena joins OhioKAN with seventeen years of administrative experience. Most recently, she was employed by The Buckeye Ranch, where she worked as the Foster Care Billing Specialist for nearly nine years; she also served as a Foster Care Team Lead, supervising two administrative positions. During her tenure at The Buckeye Ranch, Lena was responsible for working collaboratively with case managers, supervisors, and county agencies to provide accurate monthly billing for youth in Foster Care, invoicing foster parent trainings, reconciling payments, and completing dashboard tracking. Lena also oversaw her department’s relationship with a donor organization, assisted in event coordination, and participated in budget planning. In addition to her duties, Lena was a member of The Buckeye Ranch’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, serving for more than five years; she also helped facilitate the organization’s involvement in several Pride Parades as a Pride Parade Ambassador. Lena also attended The Buckeye Ranch’s Leadership Academy and served as a member of the social media team, creating content for several platforms on behalf of the Foster Care team as well as the entire organization. Lena is excited to be a part of OhioKAN as Region 7’s Coordinator!

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Shelly Bell

COACH

Shelly Bell

Coach, Region 7

Most recently, Shelly was the Linking Systems Project Coordinator/Incarcerated and Reentering Victims Specialist with the Ohio Domestic Violence Network. In this role she was responsible for supporting the research needs and policy review for the Linking Systems of Care for Ohio's Youth (LSCOY) project, contributing to the development of LSCOY project documents and training resources, and providing technical assistance to project partners and Ohio systems to enhance cross-system coordination for responding to child and youth victims of crime. Shelly is thrilled to be the Coach in Region 7!

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Melanie Craft

NAVIGATOR

ETSS

Melanie Craft

Navigator, ETSS (Region 7)

Melanie has been a Licensed Social Worker since 2017, a Medical Assistant, and a Licensed Massage Therapist. She has worked in people oriented careers her entire adult life, as she believes it is crucial to always help the whole person - body, mind and spirit. As a Medical Assistant and Social worker, she has worked in the mental health, elder care, and foster and adoption fields. She is a Certified Adoption/ Foster care Assessor and a Licensing and Training Specialist, training our licensed foster/ adoptive parents. Melanie was adopted and is passionate about creating some type of support group for those involved in any capacity with reunification of families. She herself is the mother of three adult children and three grandchildren. Melanie finds great joy in helping kinship, foster and adoptive parents work to be the best they can be for the children they are charged with caring for.

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Karla Hall

NAVIGATOR

ETSS

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Karla Hall

Navigator, ETSS (Region 7)

Karla began her career with Muskingum County Adult and Child Protective Services as an Assessment Caseworker, and she conducted investigations for suspected abuse, neglect, and dependency concerns. She also spent time working with kinship families and children with delinquency issues and looks forward to growing her professional experiences in the nonprofit sector. Karla is a graduate of Muskingum University, New Concord, with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. She is thrilled to start her journey with OhioKAN as a Region 7 Navigator at ETSS!

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Damita Kniceley

NAVIGATOR

ETSS

Damita Kniceley

Navigator, ETSS (Region 7)

Damita has over 20 years’ experience working with families and children in various roles, including Community Outreach, Workforce Development, Family and Youth Advocacy, OWF/SNAP and Medicaid Case Management, Kinship and Adoption, and working with survivors of Domestic Violence. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Ohio University in Organizational Communications and a Family Development Certification from the University of Iowa. Damita’s passion is working with individuals and helping them become self-sufficient. She is excited to serve the families of OhioKAN as a Navigator for Region 7!

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Tyler Monroe

NAVIGATOR

ETSS

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Tyler Monroe

Navigator, ETSS (Region 7)

Tyler earned his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and minor in Psychology at Marshall University. During his time at Marshall, he worked with youth as an intern school social worker for 2 years. During this time, Tyler worked hand and hand with government officials helping advocate for communities, families, and children. After graduating, Tyler started his social work career working at North Community Counseling Center as an Assertive Community Treatment case manager providing health care services to people with severe and persistent mental illness. He then worked for The Buckeye Ranch as a Permanent Family Solutions Network specialist which focused on working with families to insure there was safety and permanency for our youth. Tyler is detail-oriented with an extensive understanding of psychology and child welfare, which is shown in his history of effective support and care for families and children. Tyler is excited to be in his new role at OhioKAN and is eager to help support the families he will be working with!

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Daniel Bush

NAVIGATOR

UMCH Family Services

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Daniel Bush

Navigator, UMCH Family Services (Region 7)

Daniel has seven years of experience in social services, including corrections, mental health, substance abuse and child welfare. He began his career at Alvis House, a drug recovery non-profit in Columbus, then transitioned to Franklin County Children Services as a Caseworker before joining OhioKAN. Daniel is a graduate of Central State University with a B.S. in Psychology and is a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity. He plans to obtain his master’s degree in Social Work and certify as a licensed social worker. He is passionate about the families he serves through OhioKAN and is excited to serve as the Navigator for Region 7 at UMCH Family Services!

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Zachary Mitchell

NAVIGATOR

UMCH Family Services

Zachary Mitchell

Navigator, UMCH Family Services (Region 7)

Zachary is coming from a community case management position at Pathways Caring for Children. Before that he worked as a Contact Tracer during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zachary graduated from Muskingum University with a Bachelor's degree in Public Health, Health Administration, and Health and Fitness. He is currently in pursuit of his Master of Education from Kent State in Community Health Education and Promotion. Zachary looks forward to his new role at OhioKAN!

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NAVIGATOR

Ashley Brown

The Recovery Center

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Ashley Brown

Navigator, The Recovery Center (Region 7)

Ashley earned her Bachelor of Science in Organizational and Health Communication Studies at Ohio University. She is currently working towards her Master of Science in Yoga Therapy at Maryland University of Integrative Health; a program that is through the lens of trauma informed care and evidenced informed practices. Ashley is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher and is certified in trauma informed yoga. She previously worked as a Regional Studio Manager for multiple GoYoga studio locations in Columbus, Ohio. She is excited to serve her community in a fulfilling and meaningful way as an OhioKAN Navigator by transferring her skills from the for-profit business world to the non-profit social service world. Ashley is passionate about providing inclusive, engaging and genuine support for children, youth and their families.

REGIONAL SITE PARTNERS

OhioKAN - Regional Site Logos - ETSS
OhioKAN - Regional Site Logos - UMCH
therecoverycenter

Serving all families

We are 100% committed to making sure every kinship and adoption family in Ohio who is looking for support will get it. No matter who you are or what your circumstances may be — contact us because we are here for you!