Joy Bivens to receive 2019 OhioMBE Publisher’s Award

Joy Bivens

For her commitment and dedication to Ohio’s low-income residents, Joy Bivens will receive the 2019 Publisher’s Award at the OhioMBE Awards, hosted by the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium on Oct. 24.

Joy Bivens serves as the director of Franklin County Department of
Job and Family Services, the largest agency under the guidance of the Board of Commissioners. Franklin County is the largest county in the state with more than 1.3 million residents.

As director, she leads the agency under three guiding principles: Operational Excellence, Leadership and Development and Integrative Partnerships. The agency has a staff of more than 600 full-time workers who serve as the county’s first-line social safety net agency. In addition to determining eligibility for food assistance, Ohio Works First cash assistance, Medicaid and Publicly Funded Child Care, the Agency also provides millions in funding for family supportive services, including youth after-school programs, health-science academies, summer employment opportunities and workforce development services. Roughly one in four Franklin County residents receives assistance from FCDJFS.

Director Bivens is leading Franklin County’s efforts to strengthen central Ohio’s childcare system ahead of the 2020 Step Up To Quality deadline. She commissioned an in-depth analysis of current system landscape and multimedia awareness campaign in addition to offering free, specialized training and technical assistance to help Publicly Funded Child Care providers prepare their centers or homes to become and remain star rated. She is also leading the Franklin County Poverty Assessment and Strategic Plan, a community-wide, collective impact initiative to develop and implement long-term, sustained efforts to mitigate challenges and create opportunities for our families to thrive.

Director Bivens is a dedicated public servant who devotes time every week to volunteering and opening her home to transitional youth. She serves as vice-chair of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Human Services and Education subcommittee, providing a voice for Franklin County’s most vulnerable residents on the national level. At the state level, she serves on the Executive Committee and as co-chair for the Metro County Directors Committee for the Ohio Jobs and Family Services Directors’ Association. She also serves on numerous local boards and workgroups, including the Franklin County Community Based Correction Facility Governing Board, the Franklin County Criminal Justice Planning Board and the Children of Incarcerated Parents Action Group, where she serves as co-chair. In 2017, she was recognized by Dress for Success – Columbus as one of Ten Women Trailblazers and in 2018 she was honored as the Greater Columbus Community Helping Hands Inc., Public Service Ambassador of the year.

Mrs. Bivens previously served as an elected member of the Whitehall City School Board, as Vice President of the Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce and as chair of the Board of OhioMeansJobs Columbus-Franklin County. She is a graduate of Capital University.

Mrs. Bivens lives in Whitehall with her husband, Whitehall City Attorney Michael Bivens, daughter, Mikayla, and son, Michael.

More information on the OhioMBE Awards is online at


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