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May 29, 2014
DCFS Executive Receives Prestigious Child Welfare Award
Dr. Hodnett recently selected as Child Welfare Training Academy lead

BATON ROUGE - The Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF), part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, presented Dr. Rhenda Hodnett, Child Welfare Training Academy Director, its 2014 Commissioner's Award.

This prestigious 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.

"Rhenda exemplifies the leadership essential to developing innovative ways to prevent child maltreatment, promote community teamwork, and achieve positive outcomes for child and family well-being," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "She has been a tremendous asset to DCFS for the past 25 years and I know that she will continue to do great things."

Dr. Hodnett was one of 29 recipients of this year's Commissioner's award. Winners included volunteers, child welfare professionals and advocates. Her nomination noted her unique ability to motivate others toward action, build collaborative working relationships, and impact change via policy and management systems, while employing her comprehensive knowledge of the social services system to address challenges to improve DCFS' service delivery and realize federal performance measures in child safety, permanency, and well-being.

Dr. Hodnett, a native of Ascension Parish, was recently chosen to lead the development and implementation of the state's Child Welfare Training Academy which will be housed at Southeastern Louisiana University. She received her Bachelor's in Social Work from Southeastern Louisiana University and her Master in Social Work and Ph. D from Louisiana State University's School of Social Work.

In December, DCFS was reaccredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) for delivering quality child and family services that comply with best practice standards. Louisiana is one of only four states whose social service agency is accredited.

DCFS was recently ranked as number one in the country in timeliness of adoptions. For more information on DCFS' Child Welfare programs visit www.dcfs.la.gov/ChildWelfare.

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