DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD RECIPIENT
James Carter (Jim) is being honored for his unparalleled dedication and accomplishments to improve the lives of thousands of children and families at Child Focus, Inc. He holds a Masters in Special Education from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Science in Theology from Cincinnati Bible Seminary. Jim recently retired as Chief Executive Officer of Child Focus, a position he has held since 1979, when it was called Clermont County Diagnostic Center. During his tenure, Jim transformed the organization into Child Focus, Inc., which under Jim’s leadership has grown from helping under 300 children to positively impacting 15,000 children, families and adults by offering early learning, mental health, school, foster care and a wide variety of community services. The agency now serves 17 counties and provides the most necessary and critical help to the most vulnerable and needy populations, including children who are hurting, live in poverty or struggle with mental illness. Under Jim’s direction, Child Focus has been able to increase its resources from a budget of $160,000 and a six-person staff to over 320 employees with an $18 million budget, significantly broadening and deepening the agency’s impact on those it serves. After forty years of turning Child Focus into what it is today, Jim recently returned to Mariemont for his retirement celebration in June.
Jim’s commitment to helping children and families extends beyond Child Focus, as well. He worked internationally in 2015, collaborating with schools in Ryazan, Russia regarding Bullying Intervention Programs, as part of the Peer-to-Peer program of the US Embassy in Russia, and provided like services in Ireland. Jim also worked extensively with survivors of disasters. In 1972, he worked with schools, families and children who lost friends and family members in the Buffalo Creek Dam disaster. He returned to West Virginia in 1974 to work with the schools and parents of children who survived. He also worked with Arnold and Porter, a DC law firm, in preparing a lawsuit on behalf of the 398 children who survived the West Virginia disaster in 1977. He assisted Wayne Township Elementary School, which lost one third of their staff in the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire and has also given his time to support schools and FEMA after the tornadoes of Sayler Park, Xenia, and Moscow, Ohio and around the New Richmond flood.