Our Staff





 Doug Althauser - Executive Director

Doug brings a wealth of experience and a strong personal passion to his role as Executive Director.  He most recently worked for the Delaware County Juvenile Court, where he served as Treatment Court Coordinator.  In addition to a JD from Capital University Law School with a concentration in child and family law, Doug earned a Master in Education in Rehabilitation Counseling. He holds licensor as an attorney and is an Ohio licensed independent chemical dependency counselor.  After graduating from Capital, Doug joined the Ohio Department of Youth Services as a mental health/juvenile justice liaison; in this role he worked with the Governor’s office and the Ohio Supreme Court in drafting and advocating for legislation that established Ohio’s statutory definition of juvenile competency.  He also established a private practice focusing on family and juvenile law, and served for years as a guardian ad litem. Doug is on the faculty of the Judicial College of the Supreme Court of Ohio and regularly trains and presents to a variety of audiences on topics including clinical and legal ethics, juvenile justice, and addiction prevention.    



Megan Heydlauff - Staff Attorney

Megan McCombs Heydlauff is a Staff Attorney at the Family and Youth Law Center (FYLAW). She is also an adjunct professor at Capital University Law School and co-taught the Summer Adoption Law Institute in 2014. Prior to joining FYLaw, Megan worked for five years in private practice, focusing on adoption and family law.

Megan is a graduate of Denison University, where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and a minor in Spanish. She received her law degree from Capital University Law School where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a concentration in Children & Family Law.



 Tom Zani - Senior Attorney/Clinical Director

Tom Zani is a Senior Attorney and Clinical Director.  His primary responsibility is to  oversee all Family and Youth Advocacy Center (FYAC) clinical operations, including providing legal representation and supervision of student work, clinical attorneys and other clinical staff, and develop and provide oversight of clinical practice, policies and procedures. 

Prior to arriving at FYLaw, Tom Zani served the poverty population of Southeastern Ohio at Southeastern Ohio Legal Services in Steubenville and worked in five counties (Belmont, Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson and Monroe). Tom received his JD from Capital University Law School in 1999 after obtaining his BA from Wheeling Jesuit University (then College) in 1996. He is licensed to practice in Ohio and in the Southern District of Ohio Federal Court.


Byron Tocheri - Staff Attorney

Byron Tocheri started working at the Family and Youth Law Center in 2013 as an extern. He later became a Staff Attorney in 2016. His role focuses on assisting at risk families with their legal issues in an attempt to prevent abuse and neglect.

Byron is a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy. He received his law degree from Capital University Law School.



Dana Schmersal - Social Work Projects Manager

Dana Schmersal currently serves as Social Work Projects Manager at the Family and Youth Law Center (FYLaw), where she primarily coordinates the Ohio Intimate Partner Violence Collaborative. In the role, Dana works with a number of national, state, and local community partners to improve systems’ responses to child welfare cases with domestic violence components. She is also a member of FYLaw’s Family and Youth Advocacy Center’s interdisciplinary clinical team and Restorative Justice work team.

Dana earned a Bachelors of Social Work and Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice from Dana College and a Master of Social Work from the Ohio State University.


Jackie Martin


Jackie Martin - Administrative Coordinator

Jackie Martin brings to the Center over twenty years of administrative experience including serving as the Director of Administrative Policy to former Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Dick Posthumus. After relocating to Ohio twelve years ago, she bridged her legislative experience with her passion for advocating for people (particularly children) with disabilities by managing a public policy advocacy grant for the Cerebral Palsy Association of Ohio. In addition to administrative support, Jackie assists the Center with event planning and financial management.


Christine Morris - Associate Director, Information Services

Christine Morris earned her Bachelor's degree at Ohio University, majoring in Management Information Systems. She has been with the Center for over 11 years. Christine is involved in overseeing all the Family and Youth Law Center's websites. In addition to the various project website, Christine takes on the social media for the center. She has been able to demonstrate her technical experience with a strong background in web development.



Denise St.Clair

Denise St.Clair - Interim Executive Director

Denise oversees the Center’s adoption and child welfare programming and is a frequent presenter and trainer on child welfare issues for a variety of audiences. She is a member of the Board of the Ohio Family Care Association, co-chair of the Ohio Open Adoption Law Task Force, and a member of the Ohio Youth and Young Adult Transition Steering Committee.

Denise holds a JD degree from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the law review and a member of the Brandeis Society.

Students and many volunteers also work for the Center doing various jobs such as research, drafting letters and legislative language proposals, and directing projects.