Executive Team

Executive Team

The primary charge of the Summit County Children Services executive team is to create and implement organizational strategy that promotes the five mandates of child welfare. Our goal is to protect the children of Summit County by intervening when necessary and providing successful outcomes for the long-term placement of children through family preservation services, foster care or adoption.

Meet our executive team:


Executive Director

Julie Barnes, M.Ed., LSW, became executive director of Summit County Children Services (SCCS) in December 2013.

Prior to joining SCCS, Ms. Barnes served for more than five years as executive director of Stark County Job and Family Services (SCJFS) and before that served for one year as deputy director of children services there. Ms. Barnes also served as director of foster care and adoption at Summit County Children Services from February 2002-May 2007 and she gained additional experience in the child welfare field through earlier positions at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the Geauga County Department of Job and Family Services.

As SCJFS executive director, Ms. Barnes led an agency overseeing human services, child support and children services with approximately 475 staff and an annual budget of approximately $50 million. The agency provides a variety of programs and services, including Medicaid, food assistance, child care and Ohio Works First; establishment, enforcement, collection and disbursement of child support orders; assessment of child abuse and neglect; and foster care and adoption services. While with SCJFS, she was active with a variety of local organizations, including the Stark County Family Council and Stark County Community Action Agency. She has also served on many committees and boards at the state level and was appointed in 2013 to the Board of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund.

Ms. Barnes has a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Hiram College and a master’s degree in higher education from Kent State University.


Deputy Executive Director, Administrative & Legal Services / General Counsel

Katerina Papas has been with Summit County Children Services since June 1991 when she joined the agency’s legal department as director of legal services. She served in that position until becoming deputy executive director and general counsel in 2001. In June 2006, she was appointed interim executive director, a position she held until September 2007.

Ms. Papas earned a bachelor of arts degree from Kent State University, where she excelled in social science courses that focused on child welfare, family dynamics and psychology. She then earned a juris doctorate degree from The University of Akron School of Law and was admitted to the practice of law by the Ohio Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Prior to her employment with Summit County Children Services, Ms. Papas practiced private law in the areas of domestic relations, criminal, real estate, and civil litigation. She also was employed by the Akron City law department, where she prosecuted misdemeanor and traffic cases, and coordinated preparation of cases for felony court hearings.

Ms. Papas has a solid leadership background, which includes positions in several community organizations, serving as: Junior League of Akron president; International Institute board of trustees member and former vice president; Women’s Network former president; member of the grievance and government law committees of the Akron Bar Association; and former board of trustees member of the YWCA. Ms. Papas is also a graduate of Leadership Akron.

Ms. Papas is well known and respected in the community for her passion for the vulnerable children this agency serves, her expertise in child welfare administration and her volunteer involvement in this community with emphasis in social services.


Deputy Executive Director, Social Services

Amy Davidson, LISW-S, earned a bachelor of arts degree in social work and then began her career at Summit County Children Services in 1997 as a protective services caseworker at the West Akron district office. In 2000 she went back to the University of Akron, where in 2002 she earned her master's degree in social work. Later that same year, she was promoted to the position of protective services supervisor. From 2009-2011, she was the interim family team meeting supervisor. In that position she was instrumental in implementing child safety team decision-making meetings. In 2014 she was promoted to social services department director, in protective services, where she worked to improve departmental outcomes.

Ms. Davidson has been involved in a variety of workgroups and initiatives throughout the agency, including the differential response, team decision making, human trafficking, family interaction, and continuous quality improvement.

Ms. Davidson is a life-long Summit County resident, having graduated from Barberton High School. She is committed to our community, and the safety and well-being of our children. She brings strong leadership skills to her current position, as well as a commitment to best practice, and partnering with the families we serve.


Deputy Executive Director, Human Resources & Support Services

Valarie A. Nash, SHRM – SCP, CLRP, has been in the human resources field since graduating from Mount Union College (University of Mount Union) in 1993.  She began her professional career in healthcare, spending a large part of her career in that arena, in addition to working in a union manufacturing environment for several years.  Currently, Valarie works in the public employment sector for Summit County Children Services (SCCS) as Deputy Executive Director, Human Resources & Support Services and previously worked in the same role for Stark County Job & Family Services.

As the Deputy Executive Director, Valarie is responsible for all aspects of the Human Resources and Support Services (Labor Relations, Professional Development & Training, Client Rights and Quality Improvement, Social Service Programs).  Valarie is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Job & Family Services Human Resource Association, currently serving as Vice President, Public Children Services Association of Ohio, Ohio Public Employers Labor Relations Association, National Public Employers Labor Relations Association, and Akron Area SHRM.

Valarie enjoys working in the labor/employee relations arena and is most proud of her tenure to date at SCCS she was the first HR professional to secure a Tentative Agreement with a contentious bargaining unit during the 2014 negotiations for a new three (3) year contract.  In addition, she was the first HR professional to secure a successor agreement prior to the expiration of the 2015-2017 agreement for the first time in agency history.  Not only did the agency avoid any discussion of a strike/work stoppage in both instances, the parties successfully navigated all issues without the input or use of a fact finder.  Both of these are the first since the inception of the collective bargaining agreement at Summit County Children Services.

Valarie has presented training and provided consulting work on a variety of topics to the Stark County HR Association, Job & Family Services HR Association, Public Children Services Association of Ohio, Ohio Child Support Directors Association, Job & Family Services Directors Association, Portage County JFS, Western Reserve SHRM, Medina SHRM, Eastern Stark County Safety Council, the Employment Source (Stark County Workforce Initiative), Stark County JFS, Quest Recovery & Prevention Services, Portage Lakes Career Center, University of Mount Union, Kent State University Stark Campus, Tuscora SHRM, Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health, Domestic Violence Project Inc., Northeast Ohio Library Systems, and Stark State College.

Valarie also volunteers her time for various organizations in the Stark County region.  Valarie recently ended her term as the Vice-Chair for the Fan Appreciation Parties for the Pro Football Hall of Fall Enshrinement Festival, and is a member of the Meyer’s Lake YMCA and St. Joseph Parish (Massillon). Valarie is married to Dave Nash of Canton.  Dave works as the Youth Sports Director for the Meyers Lake YMCA and serves as the assistant varsity girls’ basketball coach at Canton McKinley HS.  They have a daughter, Victoria who is currently attending the University of Mount Union and was recently awarded a research designation in her major - Neuropsychology.   Valarie owns a HR consulting business, Dominick-Nash Consulting, and offers training for other organizations needing HR related assistance. 


Deputy Executive Director, Fiscal Services / CFO

Darin Kearns worked for the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services as an auditor, auditor in charge, and audit supervisor from 1995-2010. During that time, he had the opportunity to work with Summit County Children Services in his auditor role. He then worked for Wayne County Job & Family Services, and most recently served as the budget and finance administrator for Portage County Department of Job & Family Services.

Mr. Kearns brings a wealth of experience and information regarding audit and budgeting to the agency. He also has experience supervising facilities management functions, which is now part of the finance division at SCCS.


Learn about the mission, vision and values of Summit County Children Services.