April 9, 2009

Neese Selected As DSS Childrenís Division Director

A noted child welfare advocate with extensive experience in managing Missouriís child welfare programs has been selected to head the Department of Social Services (DSS) Childrenís Division (CD). DSS Director Ron Levy announced that Paula Neese will begin a second term as CD Director on April 1, 2009.

ďHer personal dedication to Missouriís children and families, along with her work to help address national child welfare concerns and a spirited commitment to the DSS mission, makes me confident Paula Neese is the right person to help shape the future of child welfare policy in our state,Ē Levy said.

Ms. Neese left DSS in October of 2008 when offered the opportunity to help address national child welfare concerns as the Director of the Research to Practice effort of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), a leading national child welfare advocacy organization comprised of public and private agencies. She said that while the work she has performed for CWLA has been important and rewarding, she feels at present her skills can be best put to use in helping children and families in her own state.

ďI have always been dedicated to working in the field of public child welfare,Ē Neese said. ďWith the economic changes that are occurring there is no question that the Childrenís Division, working with private child welfare agencies and other state and community stakeholders, will be crucial to helping children and stabilizing families during these challenging times. When I was asked to come back and help, I wanted to do it.Ē

Neese began her DSS career in 1986 as a frontline worker and supervisor. She worked her way up through the ranks in the division serving as a program development specialist, childrenís services specialist, assistant area director, and the Northern Region Director before becoming CD Director in 2005. Her accomplishments include the development and coord-ination of the Intensive In-Home Services training program, a crisis intervention service for families, and initiation of the Childrenís Divisionís efforts to achieve national accreditation.

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