Marion County, Ohio Family Resource Center (MCFRC)
Interview with Don Leffler; Operations Administrator

Number served per year: 200 +

How are youth referred to your center? Youth are referred to us through many different agencies in our community. We are contacted by law enforcement as well as our school systems. We also receive referrals through the Marion County Family Court.

How does your center divert youth from the JJ system? MCFRC diverts youth through many ways. Specifically, the Resource Center has an agreement with the courts and community stakeholders that certain charges are diverted to the Center instead of going through the formal court system. We provide family focus for support and interventions while providing on site referrals and supportive services to strengthen families.  

What outcomes does the Family Resource Center track? Recidivism rate, the number and types of referrals made to community resources, ACE’S scores, and pre and posttest on evidence-based programming.

Highlight a specific partnership (i.e. school, organization) or program. It is hard to highlight a specific one as they have all been a major part in the focus of prevention/diverting youth from the juvenile justice system. It truly takes a community to make the necessary changes it requires to make a difference in the youth and families lives we serve every day. We have many partnerships to include: Boys and Girls Club, Family Children and First Council, Help Me Grow, Marion City Schools, Marion Crawford Prevention, Ohio Means Jobs, The Village Network, Case Western Reserve, NAMI of Ohio, Marion City Police Department, and Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

What is the biggest challenge your assessment center faces? One of the biggest challenges we face currently is being so new. However, we have recently received a variety of media attention that has assisted with elevating the resource center and our purpose.

What is the process your center uses to ensure youth are connected and matched with services after an assessment? At the conclusion of the assessments the referral source, FRC staff, parent/guardian, and the youth meet to create an individualized service plan. This plan with goals and objectives instructs the types of services the youth will be referred too. 

What are you looking forward to most with the release of the new Assessment Center Framework and the self-assessment tool? The most exciting part about the new Assessment Center Framework is that it provides consistency across the nation. It allows for assessment and resource centers across the country to unite and serve their communities is the best way possible.