January 10, 2003
Ford Named Child Welfare Professional of the Year
Child and Family Services recently recognized one of its Rockland-based supervisors for outstanding work in child welfare.
Ilene Ford, a child protective supervisor, was recognized as Child Welfare Professional of the Year. Colleagues nominated Ford for her strong understanding of the agency’s mission, work in training new caseworkers and in building community relationships.
“She is well respected in the community and among staff who have benefited from her teaching, both for the standard she has set and the support she has provided,” said Jeff Carty, program administrator for the Rockland district.
Child and Family Services, a Maine Department of Human Services agency, is Maine’s lead public child welfare agency. The agency’s professional caseworkers evaluate reports of abuse and neglect on behalf of Maine communities, working to keep children safe and to help families create safe, more stable homes.
Ford, formerly a children’s services caseworker, has been with Child and Family Services for 16 years. When she was a caseworker, she started a weekend program to teach life skills to older youth in foster care. From that early start, Maine has built a statewide independent living initiative for young people in foster care that is considered a national leader.
After seven years as a caseworker, Ford became a child protective supervisor. In that role, she trained caseworkers who have since become child welfare supervisors in other regions.
“I have always felt strongly about the work that we do and the opportunity we have to make a difference for the families and children we serve,” Ford said.
Ford is especially proud of the community connections in the Rockland region. She is a former president and board member of Healthy Kids in Lincoln County and a former board member of Time for Change, the batterer’s intervention project.
“We have worked really hard to improve community relationships and we are known throughout the state for having one of the best relationships with law enforcement,” she said.
Ford was one of two Child and Family Services staff members statewide recognized as Professional of the Year. Colleagues also recognized Brian Walsh, a regional program supervisor in Portland. Walsh, formerly a children’s services supervisor, has been with the public agency for 25 years