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Louisiana DCFS Assistant Secretary is Speaking at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health

Assistant Secretary of Family Support, Shavana Howard, takes part in panel discussion

BATON ROUGE –Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services Assistant Secretary of Family Support Shavana Howard is taking part in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health on Wednesday, September 28. Howard is part of the discussion focused on “Improving food access and affordability.”

It’s been more than 50 years since the first and only White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health was held in 1969. The event focuses on the White House’s five Pillars: Improve food access and affordability, Integrate nutrition and health, Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices, Support physical activity for all, and Enhance nutrition and food security research.

“Shavana’s invitation to speak on topics impacting millions of people across our country is a strong recognition of her contributions nationally and of the wealth of knowledge within DCFS, and we’re proud to have her represent Louisiana in this important event,” said DCFS Secretary, Marketa Walters. “A gathering of this magnitude highlights the continued need for support for those who are food insecure and shines a positive light on the great work happening on this issue across Louisiana.”

Shavana has more than 21 years of public service in both the states of Washington and Louisiana, beginning her career with Washington’s Catholic Community Services and then the Commission on African American Affairs. Shavana served as an enlisted Petty Officer in the United States Navy prior to transitioning to countless positions within Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services.

Joining the Louisiana DCFS team in April 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shavana has brought numerous innovative approaches to help reach the Agency’s vision, mission and values, such as the creation of a virtual DSNAP to provide disaster assistance to communities when in-person services were not possible, assessing the Child Support system to help shift to a family-centered Child Support program and launching an On Demand interview process for SNAP and TANF benefits providing needed assistance to Louisianans sooner.

Shavana received her Bachelor’s degree from Washington State University. She is a member of Louisiana’s Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board, Education Workforce Subcabinet, Workforce Investment Council, Military Family Assistance Board, Jobs for the Future Subcommittee, and the LSU Policy Practice Advisory Council.

At the event, the Biden-Harris Administration is also expected to release a National Strategy with actions the federal government will take to drive solutions to these challenges. For more information on the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, visit

About Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services

Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services is the agency responsible for providing services to families in crisis and in times of financial need, including managing federal food aid through the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and cash assistance through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. In response to heightened pandemic and disaster-related needs, DCFS staff provided more than $3 billion in federal food aid to Louisiana households in 2021, a $1 billion increase over 2020. In January 2022, DCFS also increased cash benefit amounts available through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program for the first time in more than two decades. These increases effectively doubled cash assistance through the federal Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) and Kinship Care Subsidy Program (KCSP).

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