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Assistant Secretary of Child Welfare

Rhenda Hodnett, Ph.D., LCSW, is the Assistant Secretary of Child Welfare where she is responsible for the strategic planning, development and oversight of the state child welfare system.

Prior to this role, Dr. Hodnett served as the Director of the Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy which provides competency-based training and professional development opportunities for current and prospective child welfare employees, foster parents and legal system stakeholders.

Dr. Hodnett has more than 25 years of child welfare experience within the Department of Children and Family Services. She served as Child Welfare Director from 2012 to 2014, the Director of Prevention and Protective Services within the Office of Community Services from 2007 to 2011, and has held various management, supervisory, and caseworker positions within the child welfare system.

In 2014, Dr. Hodnett was awarded the prestigious U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner's Award. The award honors one recipient from each state for making an exceptional contribution to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect in his or her state. Her nomination noted her unique ability to motivate others toward action, build collaborative working relationships, and impact change, while employing her comprehensive knowledge of the social services system to address challenges.

Dr. Hodnett received her bachelor's degree in social work from Southeastern Louisiana University and her Master of Social Work and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University's School of Social Work.



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