About Us

About Us

CG&FS is a medical specialty practice that provides emotional, mental and behavioral health services and programs to children, adolescents, and adults.

Our History & Vision

For more than 75 years CG&FS has been a leader in Summit County's mental, emotional and behavioral healthcare community.

Our History & Vision Details

We are the provider of choice in mental, emotional and behavioral healthcare for children, adolescents and families. Our qualified, caring team produces superior outcomes using innovative and proven approaches. We relieve suffering and strengthen Ohio families through integrated services, collaboration and advocacy.

Child Guidance & Family Solutions (CG&FS) was established in 1939 by The Junior League of Akron, as ‘Child Guidance Center’ to provide ‘mental hygiene’ for children. The purpose then and now continues to be to relieve the suffering of children who face mental, emotional and behavioral health challenges.

In 1991, The American Association of Psychiatric Services named CG&FS as ‘The Nation’s Outstanding Child Mental Health Center.'  In 1993 the ‘Remember the Children’, program was developed to address the needs of children of divorce. The program was recognized by the International Family Therapy Association, the National Association for Community Leadership, the American Association of Psychiatric Services for Children, and continues to be an integral program of the Domestic Relations Court to ensure that the issues of divorcing parents do not overlook the needs of the child during this stressful time.

In 2003, Akron Child Guidance merged with Family Solutions to become Child Guidance & Family Solutions (CG&FS), combining the rich histories of these two organizations into one that is able to serve the whole family – parents, children and guardians – in a seamless way. Since that merger, the new CG&FS increased the efficiency of delivering its vital behavioral healthcare, and achieved greater cost effectiveness by reducing overhead and eliminating redundant administration and duplicated services.

In 2012, CG&FS was named as one of the “50 Best NonProfits to Work For” in the U.S. by the NonProfit Times – for the third consecutive year. Additionally, we were awarded an NEO success Award from Inside Business Magazine in 2013, the third time for this achievement.

In 2012, Dr. Steven Jewell, Vice-President & Medical Officer, was named “Exemplary Psychiatrist Award Winner” by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Dr. Jewell was recognized for his ‘exceptional dedication to people living with mental illness.’ In 2013, Dr. Jewell was acknowledged as an Outstanding Faculty Member by Northeastern Ohio Medical College (NEOMED), recognized for his “loyalty and commitment and his tireless efforts on behalf of [their] medical students.” And in 2015, Dr. Jewell was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Currently we accommodate nearly 2000 visits from children and families each week in our offices, and each week we provide services to over 400 adults there. We offer crisis services 24-7-365 to ensure that children and families who find themselves in an emergency have somewhere to turn for help.

We have staff providing services to several thousand more children through eight public school districts in Summit County (Akron, Barberton, Coventry, Cuyahoga Falls, Green, Hudson, Norton and Stow), and at over 40 preschools throughout the area. In February 2013, CG&FS was awarded a $150,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Mental Health to conduct its Toddlers & Pre-schools Succeeding program to early childhood educators and pre-school staff in 16 counties throughout Ohio as part of a larger “Race to the Top” federal grant that the State received.

Our Services

CG&FS offers a continuum of care to provide for the mental, emotional and behavioral support whenever and wherever our clients may need it.

Our Services Details

CG&FS primarily serves children and youth who reside in Summit County. Services are offered to all children with social, emotional, behavioral and/or mental health difficulties, with a special emphasis on those children and youth who are seriously emotionally disturbed.

Special programs and services are offered through collaborations in Medina and Portage Counties; and, through a Race to the Top grant The State of Ohio funded CG&FS to bring its innovative program, Toddlers & Pre-schoolers Succeeding (TAPS), to 16 other counties throughout the State. TAPS focuses on helping children develop the social-emotional skills necessary for successful engagement, intervening to mitigate the child’s risk of expulsion from pre-school.

CG&FS collaborates with other child serving agencies, such as Summit County Children Services (SCCS), Summit County Juvenile Court, and the Board of Developmental Disabilities. CG&FS is a member of the Summit County Cluster for Youth, a collaboration of 14 child serving agencies that work together to coordinate and provide services for youth in multiple systems.

In 2014 Child Guidance & Family Solutions established an initiative to integrate the physical and mental healthcare for children and adolescents through partnerships with local pediatric medical providers, physicians and hospitals. It launched an expanded program to treat mothers-to-be and new mothers with issues of maternal depression to facilitate the health of the mother, the child and the strength of the family.

In 2015 CG&FS was awarded a grant from the American Psychiatric Foundation to develop and implement the Typical or Troubled?® School Mental Health Education Program throughout the area. This program focuses on educating teachers, parents, school counselors, social workers, and other school personnel on early identification of mental health problems in older children and adolescents, and provide them the tools, skills and knowledge to help recognize a young person who is struggling and get them the help they need.

FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS, a list of Step Up To Quality trainings:

Our Board of Trustess

CG&FS is governed by an elected, volunteer board of trustees consisting of individuals committed to our mission.

Our Board of Trustess Details

Patrick Bravo, Chair

Summit County Land Bank

Charles Billow, Vice Chair

The Billow Company

Thomas Sims, Treasurer

FirstEnergy Corporation

Cheryl Ward, Secretary

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Judge Carol Dezso, Immediate Past Chair

Retired Judge of Summit Co. Domestic Relations Court

David Boffa

UBS Financial Services

Jacob Derenthal

Walter Haverfield LLP

Martin Ganzer

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Laura Ofobike

Retired Editorial Writer, Akron Beacon Journal

Carla Sibley

Akron Public Schools

Jeffrey Wilhite

Family Promise of Summit County; Summit County Councilman

Pam Wright

Sikich LLP

Our Executive Leadership

Members of the CG&FS Executive Leadership team provide strategic direction for our agency.

Our Executive Leadership Details

Karen Talbott

President & CEO

Karen joined CG&FS as the Chief Financial Officer & Vice-President of Planning in 2015, and was appointed by the Board of Trustees as President & CEO in December 2016.

Karen is a Certified Public Accountant and holds bachelor and master degrees from Kent State University. She was named a Fellow of Hospice and Home Care by the National Association for Home Care and is a graduate of Leadership Akron. She is Board Chair of Summit County's Social Services Advisory Board, President-Elect of the Akron Roundtable Board, and President of Ohio Living Rockynol's Advisory Board. She also serves as a board member for numerous other organizations, including OPEN M, Summit County Public Health, and Stewart's Caring Place.

Prior to joining CG&FS, Karen was President of Visiting Nurse Service and Affiliates, a member of Cleveland Clinic Akron General, had a private consulting practice, and was a client service executive with Ernst & Young specializing in the health care industry.


Director of Specialty Services and Early Childhood Programs

Steve joined Child Guidance & Family Solutions in April 2008 as an Intensive Therapist. In 2012, he became the Manager of the Integrated Co-Occurring Treatment program and served as the agency's Senior Clinical Consultant for Co-Occurring Disorders. Later, he also assumed the managerial responsibilities of the Intensive Home Based Treatment program and in 2018 became Director of Specialty Services and Early Childhood Programs.

Steve received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Kent State University and graduated with a Masters of Education in Community Counseling. He is a dually Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Supervisory Designation as well as a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counseling with a Clinical Supervisor Endorsement.

Cassi Galloway, M.Ed., LPCC-S

Director of Outpatient and Community Based Services

Cassi joined Child Guidance & Family Solutions in 2008 as an outpatient therapist, and in 2012 became the clinical site manager of the SWS office. She became the Director of Outpatient and Community Based Services in April 2018, and is responsible for overseeing the clinical services at CG&FS' five office locations.

Throughout her time at CG&FS, Cassi has provided therapy services for clients of all ages. She has supervised clinical managers, outpatient therapists, case managers, and school based therapists. Cassi served as the agency Senior Clinical Consultant for Trauma from 2013-2016.

Cassi earned her Masters Degree of Education in Community Counseling in 2007 and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Supervision Designation.

Elizabeth Harwood

Director Human Resources

Elizabeth Harwood joined Child Guidance & Family Solutions as Director of Human Resources in July 2017. She is responsible for strategic direction of all human resources activities and for delivering the workforce needed to meet the organization's business objectives.

Elizabeth received her Bachelor's degree from Baldwin-Wallace University in Business Administration and her Master's degree in Business Managerial Communication from Northwestern University.

Elizabeth's prior nonprofit experience includes working at the Cleveland Clinic in Organizational Development and serving on the board of trustees at United Way of Lake County.

Lesley Hoover, CFRE

Development Director

Lesley Hoover joined Child Guidance & Family Solutions as Development Director in May 2018. She is responsible for planning and directing comprehensive fundraising and external relations initiatives to secure financial resources to drive the mission of CGFS. Lesley is passionate about fostering a culture of philanthropy and helping donors maximize impact.

Lesley earned a Master of Public Affairs in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University Bloomington School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA), Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Culture from Indiana University Bloomington and is a Certified Fundraising Professional (CFRE International). Her areas of expertise include strategic donor communications and stewardship, annual funds, foundation and corporate grant-seeking, major gift solicitation and fundraising events. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the Hudson Library & Historical Society and Chair of its Philanthropy Committee. Lesley resides in Hudson with her husband, their twin daughters and feisty Boston Terrier.

Dr. Elizabeth Menefee

Medical Director

Dr. Elizabeth (Liz) Menefee joined Child Guidance & Family Solutions as Medical Director in 2018. Dr. Menefee is also Assistant Professor at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM), Case Western Reserve University in the Department of Medicine where she serves as course co-director for the two-year-longitudinal Art and Practice of Medicine course.

Dr. Menefee served as the director of inpatient services of the Cleveland Clinic’s Inpatient Child and Adolescent psychiatry unit; where she worked with children and their families during acute psychiatric crises. Dr. Menefee is board certified in adult psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry.

She earned her B.S. in microbiology from the Pennsylvania State University. She then went on to earn her medical degree from Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), in Rootstown, Ohio. She completed her adult psychiatry residency in Akron, Ohio and subsequently completed her Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Menefee, her husband and two young sons are proud to call northeastern-Ohio home. They particularly enjoy the outdoors and camping.


Senior Director of Clinical Strategy, Community Outreach, and Healthcare Integration

Hattie Tracy joined Child Guidance & Family Solutions in 2009 as a consultant and trainer for the FIRST (early episode psychosis) program, in coordination with the BeST Center at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). In 2013 she was appointed Senior Director of Clinical Strategy, Community Outreach, and Healthcare Integration. She continues to be involved with the FIRST program and works with primary care physicians in the community to embed therapists in private practices. She also oversees the maternal depression/infant vitality program.

She holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from The Ohio State University and a Master's Degree from Kent State University in Public Policy and Administration. Hattie is Chair for the Summit County Coalition for Health Improvement and serves on the Health in All Policies Committee. She represents CG&FS at the Summit County Maternal Depression Network and serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for The Goodwill Industries of Akron, Ohio, Inc. She is an alumni of the Akron Torchbearers.

Hattie and her husband, a school psychologist with Brunswick city schools, have a 19-months old daughter and a dog named Crawl who is a 'morki'. They are currently expecting baby number two.

Patrick A. Watson, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Patrick A. Watson joined Child Guidance & Family Solutions as Chief Financial Officer in January 2017. He is responsible for overseeing the management and coordination of all fiscal activities and providing consultation and support to all planning initiatives. Among other duties, Patrick also works with the clinical management team to ensure program success through cost-analysis support.

Patrick is a Certified Public Accountant with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University of Akron. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, and also serves as Volunteer Treasurer for The Front Porch Mission (501c3), Cub Scout Den Leader and Boy Scout Troop Treasurer.

Patrick has over 20 years of experience in corporate finance, healthcare and medical service organizations.

Annual Report

The 2015 CG&FS Annual Report includes our financial report, a list of supporters, and performance statistics.

Our Partnerships

In collaboration with community partners we are able to expand our program and service offerings throughout Summit County.

Our Partnerships Details

Akron Community Foundation
B Community Foundation
Russell M. Pry
GAR Foundation
Ohio DMH
Tuscora Health & Wellness Foundation
United Way