About Us

Here For You

With offices in Akron, Barberton, Cuyahoga Falls and Twinsburg, and placements in local childcare centers, schools and physicians offices, Child Guidance & Family Solutions is where you need us when you need us. For individual location phone numbers, addresses and maps, please visit the Contact Us page.

For more information, appointments, or questions, call 330-762-0591 or send us an email.

If this is a Crisis, you may text the keyword "4HOPE" to 741741 and expect a reply from a trained Crisis Counselor within five minutes. The message is confidential, anonymous and secure.

Our Story

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 Trustees

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

Our Trustees Details

Judge Carol Dezso, Chair

Retired Judge of Summit Co. Domestic Relations Court

Patrick Bravo, Vice Chair

Summit County Land Bank

Thomas J. Ferkovic, Treasurer

Medic Management Group, LLC

Cheryl Ward, Secretary

Community Volunteer

David Boffa

Comprehensive Planning, Inc.

Jacob Derenthal

Walter Haverfield LLP

Marty Ganzer

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Leigh Greenfelder

Kent State University

Steven J. Hopp, Chair Emeritus

Gallagher Benefit Services

Jaimie McKinnon

Summa Health System

Aram Nerpouni


Meghann Price

FirstEnergy Corp.

Angie Rogers

Akron Radiology Inc.

Carla Sibley

Akron Public Schools

Thomas Sims

FirstEnergy Corp.

Richard Chenoweth

Mrs. John C. Fairweather

Kimball Firestone

Richard Guster

Mrs. Jerome Hamlin

Mrs. Joe D.Henninger

Thomas R. Merryweather

James Nilsen

Mrs. Gregory Repetti

Justin T. Rogers

Mrs. Bruce W. Rogers

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 Public Health and Chair of Summit County's Social Services Advisory Board. She serves as a board member for numerous organizations including Leadership Akron, Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, Open-M, and Akron Roundtable to name a few.

Prior to joining CG&FS, Karen retired as President of Visiting Nurse Service and Affiliates, a member of the Akron General Health System. Following her retirement she established a private consulting practice that focuses on business development, strategic planning, Board governance, financial planning/operations, and interim executive assignments. Previously she was a client service executive with Ernst & Young, specializing in the health care industry.

Dr. Steven W. Jewell

Vice President / Medical Director

Dr. Steven Jewell is an accomplished psychiatric professional with an extensive career in the medical/psychiatric profession. He is board certified in both Adult and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry. As Medical Director of Child Guidance & Family Solutions, Dr. Jewell not only supervises psychiatric staff and agency-wide administration, but also performs psychiatric evaluations and manages patient medications.

Dr. Jewell is also a tireless advocate on behalf of child psychiatrists, community psychiatry and families raising children with severe mental illness. He is the past-president of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association, and a past Board member of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio and the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. Additionally, Dr. Jewell is the Associate Training Director for the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) Child Psychiatry Fellowship, serving as a Professor of Psychiatry.

Dr. Jewell has received numerous awards, including NAMI's Exemplary Psychiatrist Award, NEOMED's Outstanding Volunteer Faculty Award, the Ohio Department of Mental Health's Clinical Quality Award, the County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board's Drs. Fred and Penny Frese Award.

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.

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.

Dawn Carter

Director Clinical Services

Dawn is a Licensed Professional Clinical Supervising Counselor (LPCC-S) and Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC). She supervises clinical managers for outpatient and intensive services, and also supervises Crisis Services. She is Permanent Chair of Client Care Monitoring Committee and is the Summit County ADM Board Disaster Team agency representative.

Dawn has an M.A. in Education, Community Counseling, from the University of Akron. She completed post master's work at Kent State University earning an Education Specialist degree in Counseling. She is on the Adjunct Faculty at the University of Akron, Summit College.

She is the 2007 recipient of the Louis D. Kacalieff, M.D. Award for staff contribution at CG&FS, and won the 2005 Distinguished Service Award for Counselor Supervisors from the Ohio Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. Dawn is a member of the American Counseling Association, Ohio Counseling Association and Association of Play Therapy.

Hattie Tracy

Director of Healthcare Integration

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