HELEN JONES-KELLEY is a licensed attorney. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton School of Law, her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and received graduate training there in the fields of Sociology and Gerontology.
She currently serves as the executive director of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board for Montgomery County, Ohio. Before moving to that position, she was Special Assistant to the President of Central State University where she was responsible for External Relations and assisted as interim General Counsel and University Secretary to the Board of Trustees. Jones-Kelley is also a member of the faculty for Georgetown University’s Center on Juvenile Justice Reform and is engaged with implementation of its Cross-Over Youth Practice Model.
Prior to that, she provided nearly thirty years of progressively responsible leadership in juvenile and social services at the county and state levels with Montgomery County Juvenile Court, where she was initially hired to implement its Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, and with Montgomery County Children Services and Montgomery County Job and Family Services, where she worked as executive director. During her tenure with Juvenile Court, she was promoted to Assistant Legal Director and sat as a referee (magistrate) to hear cases on behalf of the juvenile court judge.
After twenty years of service with Montgomery County, Ohio, Governor Ted Strickland appointed her to his cabinet in January, 2007 as the director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Service. She oversaw an $18 billion dollar budget and 4000 staff and administered the state’s Public Assistance, Child Protection, Child Support Enforcement, Medicaid, Adult Protective Services and Workforce Development Programs. Prior to her Montgomery County and State of Ohio service, she served eight years with the City of Cincinnati’s Recreation Commission and worked in the private sector in companies including Lexis/Nexis and Provident Bank.
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 or plenary sessions for such organizations as the American Bar Association, National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, Child Welfare League of America, Black Administrators in Child Welfare, 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. In October, 2004 she was a Keynote presenter for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and in April, 2005 she was the Keynote Opening Speaker for the CWLA Annual Conference. She also serves on its National Advisory Board of Executives. She has twice been invited to the White House for leadership conferences. She served as president of the board of the National CASA Association and on PEW Charitable Trusts’ Commission on Children in Foster Care. In 2008, she served as keynote speaker for Central State University’s Honors Day Convocation.
Jones-Kelley is currently on the Governing Board of the Dayton Foundation where she chairs the Marketing Committee, co-chairs the Parity, Inc. Steering Committee, Chairs the Education Linkages Committee for the Central Area Links, Inc. Board, serves on the Special Wish Foundation Advisory Board, the Miami Valley Catholic Education Council, Montgomery County’s Family and Children First Council and the University of Dayton Law School Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Dayton Chapter of the Links, Inc. and of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In 2003, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice, Tom Moyer, appointed her to co-chair the Advisory Council on Children, Youth and Families where she completed a six-year term.
She served previously 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 on Adoption Law at Capital University. She is a past President and current sustaining member of the Junior League of Dayton. She is past chair of the board of Miami Valley Hospital and also served on the boards of Premier Health Partners, Key Bank Regional Advisory Board, the Ohio Children’s Defense Fund, the Cancer Prevention Institute and the Walk of Fame Judging Committee, which she chaired. She also participated on the Dayton Regional Network and the Dayton Rotary Club. She is a co-founder of Clothes That Work! and the African American Women’s Giving Circle.
She 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 featured in Essence Magazine in June, 1997. In 1999, she was honored by the YWCA of Dayton as a “Woman of Influence” and received their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Also, in 1999 Bank One and the Dayton Business Journal invited her as 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. She received SAFY’s “Friend of Children” Award in 2005 and in March, 2007, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The YWCA of Dayton. The National Association of Social Workers-Ohio Chapter honored her with its Outstanding Community Service Award and in November, 2008, she was one of the outstanding community members honored by the Dayton Urban League. In 2009, she received recognition as a Woman of Integrity from Abigail’s Journey, Inc.
She resides in Clayton, Ohio with her husband, Tom, their three dogs, and as often as possible spends time with her three granddaughters and three grandsons. She has four daughters, one of whom she fostered, and a step-son.