HELEN JONES-KELLEY earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and also received graduate training in the fields of Sociology and Gerontology. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law and is a licensed attorney. She resides in Clayton, Ohio with her husband, Tom, and is the mother of four daughters, one of whom she fostered. She also has one step-son.
She was appointed Director of Montgomery County Children Services in 1995. She administrates the public child protection programs, oversees a $50 million budget and 370 staff. In addition, she serves on the county’s Family and Children First Council and co-chairs its Diversity Work Group. Prior to her work with MCCS, Ms. Jones-Kelley served as a referee (Magistrate) and Assistant Legal Director for Montgomery County Juvenile Court, where she started the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program.
She has been a frequent speaker in the area of children and the law, including juvenile issues, guardian ad litem training, child custody, family values and family violence. She has presented workshops for such organizations as the American Bar Association, National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, Child Welfare League of America, the National Black Child Development Institute, the American Humane Association and African American Women on Tour. She was the Commencement speaker for the University of Cincinnati School of Social Work in 1998.
She has twice been invited to the White House for leadership conferences, and she served as a member of the Ohio Governor’s Multidisciplinary Task Force on the Investigation and Prosecution of Child Abuse, the Supreme Court’s Committee for GAL Standards and the Dave Thomas Center for Adoption Law. She also serves on the CWLA’s National Advisory Council of Executives, the Walter Trieschmann Center’s National Advisory Board and the boards of Miami Valley Hospital (Current Chair), Premier Health Partners, Key Bank Regional Board of Directors, Parity, Inc., the Community Advisory Board for the Junior League of Dayton (of which she is the past President), Buckeye Trails Girl Scout Council, the Walk of Fame Judging Committee, Special Wish Foundation Advisory Board, the Dayton Foundation and the University of Dayton Law School Advisory Board. She served as president of the board of the National CASA Association and is currently a member of its Diversity Committee. Last year, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice, Tom Moyer, appointed her to co-chair the statewide Advisory Council on Children, Youth and Families. She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Dayton. Most recently, she was invited by PEW Charitable Trusts to serve on its newly established Commission on Children in Foster Care.
Ms. Jones-Kelley has received several honors over the course of her career, including being selected as one of the “Ten Top Women” in Dayton in 1996 and one of the Ten Top African American Women in 2002. She was also featured in Essence Magazine in June, 1997. In 1999, she was honored by the YWCA of Dayton as a “Woman of Influence” and was invited by Bank One and the “Business News” to be a panelist in their “Women’s Business Connection”. In 2002, she received the prestigious Evangeline Lindsley Award from DayBreak Shelter for Youth. In April, 2004 she received the Brother Raymond Fitz Community Leadership Award from Catholic Social Services.