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DSS Announces Appointment of Assistant Secretary of Office of Family Support

Department of Children & Family Services (DSS) Secretary Kristy Nichols today announced that Deidria Bolden has been appointed assistant secretary of the Office of Family Support (OFS) bringing to the agency broad experience in helping people reach self-sufficiency, including working in the program areas of food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, child support enforcement and providing workforce training and education to increase employment opportunities. Bolden will assume the post of OFS Assistant Secretary on October 12.

Most recently, Bolden served as the Deputy Director of Operations for the Louisiana Workforce Commission.  In this position, Bolden was responsible for integrating workforce initiatives across agencies to more efficiently deliver services by aligning resources, coordinating training programs and expanding access to services for clients.

"Deidria Bolden brings to DSS experience with the Louisiana Workforce Commission, which will continue to strengthen the link between the two agencies as we work to streamline and more effectively link our clients to workforce training and work opportunities,” said Nichols.  “In addition, Deidria has a wealth of experience working with Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services.  Her broad experience as an administrator and a caseworker in programs from Medicaid to food stamps will provide OFS with strong leadership as we move forward to streamline and improve our services for our clients.”

Bolden began her career as a case manager in Georgia for Fulton County Family and Children Services, interviewing clients applying for benefits and determining eligibility for Medicaid, food stamps, TANF, general assistance and employment services. From case manager, Bolden was promoted to a supervisory position.

Following 11 years of service with Fulton County Family and Children Services, Bolden was again promoted and began work at the Georgia State Division of Family and Children Services in Atlanta as a TANF Program Consultant, where she served for 12 years..  Here, she provided policy and management support and training to Georgia state staff, field staff and vendors, developed uniform interpretation of policy and procedures, as well as management strategies, outcomes and training needs. She also served as special populations coordinator for the New Connections to Work program at Gwinnett Technical College, where she counseled single parents and welfare recipients enrolling in the college, as well as coordinated training programs for recipients.

“Over the course of her career, Deidria has seen the needs of clients from the front lines of service delivery, to policy-making, as well as from an administrative perspective.  She brings all of this experience to OFS as we work to improve our services and outcomes,” said Nichols.

Prior to her work with the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Bolden served first as a unit manager and then as a program manager for the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services’ State Title IV-E, Revenue Maximization activities to provide funding for children in Foster Care.  In this role, she managed facilities, budgets, served on the legislative team and worked closely with Medicaid and social service policy writers.  Additionally, Bolden served as a state agency liaison and contract monitor to The Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta’s program -- Strengthening Families of Children with Disabilities.

Bolden holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Spelman College in Atlanta.  Currently, she serves on the Child Poverty Prevention Council, Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board, the Bright Start Steering Committee and Neighborhood Place State Leadership Team. Bolden also was recently chosen to take part in the 2010 Baton Rouge Leadership Class.

Over the past few months, DSS has initiated steps to increase efficiency in service delivery, eliminate duplicative activities and maximize resources throughout the agency. In the Office of Family Support, work is ongoing to reform and maximize TANF funding and services, streamline and consolidate eligibility for programs and improve outcomes for OFS clients.

Most recently, DSS announced a partnership with the Louisiana Workforce Commission to pilot Connections to Work, a program in the Lafayette area to provide targeted employment and job training services for DSS clients, including food stamp participants, welfare-to-work job training, vocational rehabilitation job-ready consumers and those who are aging out of the foster care system.  Future expansions of the program will include two additional target groups:  those needing mid-term supports to become job ready, and those who require long-term, intensive supports as well as access to other necessary supports including transportation and childcare prior to preparing for job-ready services.

Bolden replaces Dr. Allison Neustrom, who left the agency in late summer 2009.
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