Local social worker, magistrate honored for work with children

Two Columbus social service advocates have been honored by an Indiana branch of a national social workers advocacy group.

Crysta Shiner, program therapist at Columbus Behavioral Center for Children and Adolescents, was awarded a regional Social Worker of the Year Award from the National Association of Social Workers.

Bartholomew County Juvenile Magistrate Heather Mollo was honored with the Community Partner of the Year Award from the same organization.

The awards were presented Friday during a regional meeting of the social workers association in Bartholomew County. Its Region 10 represents 10 southeastern Indiana counties including Bartholomew and Jennings.

Mollo and Shiner were nominated for the award by Pam Clark, retired Batholomew County Youth Services director.

The hardest thing about giving an award to Shiner is getting her to accept it, Clark said.

“She (Shiner) is self-deprecating to a fault,” Clark said.

Shiner is always praising the contributions of others, while forgetting her own work providing mental health services to area children, Clark said.

“I’m accepting this for everyone,” Shiner said, referring to supervisors and co-workers. “I’m really fortunate to work in a town with talented people and very good services.”

Shiner also had a few kind words for her co-recipient, with whom she worked during a recent tenure as mental health specialist at Bartholomew County Court Services.

“I feel like she (Mollo) is such a vital part of how services are delivered,” Shiner said. “She has to make tough decisions every day and I feel honored to be recognized on the same stage.”

Mollo started as a juvenile court referee in Bartholomew County after leaving the Brown County circuit court bench in 2000.

The Bartholomew County job was meant to be part-time, but Mollo spent many more hours working on cases, Clark said.

In acknowledgement of her actual time commitments to the court, the county opted to hire her full time as the Bartholomew County Juvenile Magistrate in 2008, Clark said.

Mollo said she doesn’t like to take credit for her work with the family courts or the organizations she has helped found.

“I’m blessed to have a lot of great social workers assigned to cases,” Mollo said. “If I’m getting any credit, it’s because I try to listen to those folks.”

Heather Mollo

Age: 60

Residence: Nashville, since 1979


  • 1977, Bachelor of Arts in psychology, Franklin College
  • 1983, Law degree, IU School of Law, Bloomington


  • Brown County Department of Welfare, 1989-1993
  • Brown County circuit judge, 1993-1999
  • Bartholomew County part-time juvenile referee, 2000-2008
  • Bartholomew County juvenile magistrate, 2008 to present

Crysta Shiner

Age: 55


  • BS in Criminal Justice from University of Southern Louisiana
  • Masters in Social Service Administration from Case Western University


  • Program Therapist at Columbus Behavioral Center for Children and Adolescents, 2009- present.
  • Functional Family Therapy Supervisor at George Jones Republic, 2010- present
  • Mental Health Diversion case manager at Bartholomew County Court Services, 2009-2013
  • Clinical Supervisor at Youth Hope Girls Home, 2007-2010
  • School-Based Therapist at Quinco, 1998-2005