About Options For Families and Youth

Agency History   |   Biography of Mike Rush   |   Our Board of Trustees   |   Our Mission and Vision





AGENCY HISTORY

Options for Families and Youth (OFY) is a private, non-profit, 501(C)(3), social service agency licensed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services since 1989. We are currently licensed as a private, child-placing agency through September 2019. The following is a summary of our service to Cuyahoga County since our inception.

OFY initially began as a provider of specialized and emergency foster care services for the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (CCDCFS) in 1990. OFY served the needs of children/adolescents who had been neglected; physically, sexually and emotionally abused; and those deemed dependent by the Juvenile Court system. For the past 27 years, OFY addressed the needs of over 4,500 children and adolescents who needed a temporary place to call home while attempts were made to reunify them with their biological families. In early 2017, OFY made a decision to close its foster care services unit. Foster parents then had a choice to transfer to other agencies serving Cuyahoga County or close their home to foster placements. Thankfully, most of OFY’s foster parents decided to continue helping children with other agencies providing care.

In 1995, OFY provided service coordination and home visitation in Cuyahoga County through contracts with Invest In Children and Help Me Grow. OFY was an industry leader in the area of early intervention services in Cuyahoga County. We served over 17,000 children developing a great reputation of offering parent education, child assessment, support and linkages to community services to needy children and their families in Cuyahoga County through our Bright Beginnings program. Our programs and services ended in 2012 when Invest In Children determined to provide those services rather than contracting with private agencies.

In 1997, OFY began to provide adoption services to foster parents for the Cuyahoga County child welfare system and for our own foster parents whose foster children became eligible for adoption. For the past 20 years, we have finalized the adoptions of over 350 children with special needs and will continue this until our contract with Cuyahoga County ends on December 31, 2018.

OFY developed a Behavioral Health Services unit in 2007 after receiving our national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). We provided individual counseling/therapy to children, adolescents and adults for 9 years. Changes and developments in Ohio’s Medicaid system led to a decision to transition our Behavioral Health Unit to another agency in August of 2016. That agency moved into our location in Brook Park and hired our clinicians so the transition for our clients was a seamless one.

In 2012, OFY applied for and eventually became a Hague-Accredited International Adoption Agency through the Council On Accreditation. Several years attempting to develop a program overseas were eventually terminated in 2016 due to funding and development issues abroad. OFY however did develop our Ohio adoption home study and post-adoption services; partnering as an exempt provider with other international adoption providers. We gained a solid reputation among these agencies for our work.

Over the last two years, the Board of Trustees of Options for Families and Youth along with its co-founders, Mike and Debbie Rush, have implemented a decision to focus the organization’s efforts toward the support of other non-profit agencies rather than providing services. Our mission and efforts continue to center on children and families; strengthening what already exists; identifying needs; and developing a response to meet those needs. It’s what OFY has always done and will continue to do as long as we are able.





SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF MICHAEL D. RUSH

Michael was born and raised in a Cleveland Westside suburb; He graduated from Padua High School in 1969; Cleveland State University in 1973 with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Psychology; and Case Western Reserve School of Social Sciences (now the Mandel School of Social Sciences) with a Master of Science in Social Administration in 1980. He is a Licensed Independent Social Worker with a Supervisor designation (LISW-S).

Michael began his vocational career at St. Anthony’s Home For Boys and Young Men in October, 1973 and has worked in the private sector field of Human Services ever since (44 years). He has been a child care worker, supervisor, counselor, family therapist, social service director, residential treatment program director, foster care director, adoption assessor, and for the last 28 years, the Executive Director of an agency he co-founded with his wife, Debbie, in 1989…Options for Families and Youth (OFY). The website is: www.ofycares.org.

OFY is a non-profit, social service organization and has provided specialized foster care and adoption services to the abused and neglected children of Cuyahoga County; offered private domestic adoption services; had a behavioral health program serving the Medicaid population for over 15 years; had one of Cuyahoga County’s largest Help Me Grow programs; and is a Hague-accredited agency completing home studies and post-adoption reports for Ohio families.

Michael has been married to his high school sweetheart, Debbie, for 45 years and they have three adult daughters (who attended Malone University and Bluffton University) and seven grandchildren ranging in age from 9 to 19 years old.

Michael has been a member of Grace Christian and Missionary Alliance Church (Middleburg Heights) for over 44 years and has been a member of their Elder Board for more than 20 years. He has participated in short-term missions trips to: Ecuador, South America (twice); Dominican Republic; Juarez, Mexico; Waveland, Mississippi (for Hurricane Katrina relief); Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Oglala, South Dakota); and Chang Mai, Thailand.

Michael is currently involved in developing orphan care initiatives in Uganda, East Africa. He has made five (5) previous visits to that country in February and November of 2013; March and August of 2014; and March, 2015. He has visited areas around Kampala, Jinja, Mityana, Mukono and Bombo. Michael has visited over three dozen orphanages and ministries on his trips and continues to solidify and develop trusting relationships. He is particularly interested in investigating foster care and adoption of Ugandan children by Ugandan parents and working on raising money to fund specific projects that serve Ugandan children and families.

Michael loves to read, work in his yard, watch baseball and spend time with his wife, daughters and grandchildren. Michael’s contact information is:

Michael D. Rush, LISW-S
Options for Families and Youth
11351 Pearl Road, Suite 103A
Strongsville, Ohio 44136
440-268-8388 (Office)
216-392-5460 (mobile – U.S.)
Email: mrush@ofycares.org
Website: www.ofycares.org





MEET OUR BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Stephen Young

Position: OFY Board President
Work Experience:
Stephen is currently employed as the Risk Manager for JoAnn Stores. He has worked in the fields of corporate finance (with JoAnn Stores) and manufacturing (with Goodyear) for over 24 years. He and his wife, Diane, have been married since 1990 and have two daughters.

Kevin T. Burns

Position: OFY Board Vice President
Work Experience:
Kevin is an Associate in the office of Tucker, Ellis and West LLP and has been employed there for over 12 years. He specializes in Business Transactions & Securities and Employee Benefits and Tax Services. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University (B.A.); Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (J.D.); and Georgetown University Law Center (LL.M.). Kevin is married; has one daughter; and lives in Independence, Ohio.

Debra Rush

Position: OFY Board Secretary and Treasurer
Work Experience:
Debbie is the Co-Founder and Manager of Finance at Options for Families and Youth since 1990. She and her husband, Mike, have been married since 1972 and have raised three daughters. They have seven grandchildren.


George Capellas

(OFY Board Past President)
Work Experience:
George has been in the insurance field since 1982 and is currently the Director of Claims for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. George was a member of the State Farm Insurance National Disaster Relief Team. He is a former Councilman of Ward 4 and Finance Committee Chairman for the City of Berea. George also served as a foreman on the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury. He and his wife, Connie, have been married since 1979 and have three daughters.

Nancy Lowery Bregar

(OFY Board Past President)
Work Experience:
Nancy was employed by the Positive Education Program (PEP) for 20 years and served her last 10 years there as the Director of PEP Connections until her departure in 2011. She has worked in the child welfare/mental health field since 1980. Nancy is now a therapist in private practice. She and her husband, Mark, have been married for 24 years, have three children and 3 grandchildren.

Steven Kawczak

Work Experience:
Steven has been employed by the Cleveland Clinic for the past 20 years and is currently the Director of Professional Development. He and his wife, Bettina, have been married for 16 years and have 5 children; two of whom were adopted.


Chris Meekins

Work Experience:
Chris is a retired Firefighter with the City of Brook Park. He has also been a real estate agent for various firms from 1997 to the present currently working for Re/Max. In addition, Chris has been involved in launching his own coffee roasting business called ‘Greater Bean’ with all proceeds being donated to worthy non-profit organizations. He and his wife, Joyce, have been married since 1979, have four adult children and 2 grandchildren.

Michael D Rush

Position: OFY Executive Director
Work Experience:
Mike is the Co-Founder and has been Executive Director of Options for Families and Youth since 1989. He has served in the private sector of child welfare field since 1973. He and his wife, Debbie, have been married since 1972 and have raised three daughters. They have seven grandchildren.

Chris Zirke

Work Experience:
Chris graduated with a Law Degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He has worked in various areas in the field of Sourcing and Procurement over the last decade. He has been married to his wife, Heather, for 15 years and has two children.





MISSION STATEMENT

Options for Families and Youth is committed to strengthening and developing pathways of change that promote the well-being of children and families both locally and abroad.

VISION STATEMENT

Options for Families and Youth advocates, both locally and abroad, through education, guidance and counseling the development of God-given abilities of relationship-building, reasoning, choice and healthy emotional expression for individuals. We respond to community and family requests for help stressing care, safety, growth and permanence within a family environment.

Hours of Operation: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Business days: Monday through Friday

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