FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - A long-time Cabinet for Health and Family Services staffer has been named to head the agency that administers the state adoption and foster care systems.
Elizabeth Caywood will be the acting commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services, said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Adam Meier.
She has 19 years of DCBS experience. Twelve of those years have been spent in the Commissioner’s Office as an Internal Policy Analyst IV and executive advisor. Most recently, Caywood served as chief of staff for Commissioner Adria Johnson, who recently announced she was leaving her post. With Johnson’s departure, Caywood was moved to acting commissioner.
Caywood’s experience spans every public assistance, child care, and social service program administered by the department, including regulation of various provider types and special projects. She is a member of the CHFS Institutional Review Board and has served as the chair of the Cabinet’s Appeal Board for Public Assistance, member of the secretary’s legislative team, and lead cabinet staffer for the 2009-2011 Governor’s Task Force on Early Childhood Development and Education.
“I am honored that Secretary Meier has asked me to serve in this new role,” said Caywood in a written statement. “We have an unprecedented opportunity and investment afforded to us by Governor (Matt) Bevin, the first lady, and through our partnerships across the state, to positively transform the child welfare system and ensure every child knows a nurturing and permanent home.”
Caywood said she has a “unique perspective on how we can improve the services” because of coming from inside the DCBS. “I found my purpose and work family in DCBS because the organization has such an incredible impact in the lives of Kentuckians each and every day.”
The Cabinet noted in 2 1/2 years, Caywood has been instrumental in eliminating regulatory and statutory red tape, enhancing child protective services and appeals policies, and affecting the state’s compliance with the federal mandate for comprehensive background checks of child care providers.
She has also been a primary content contributor, agency presenter, and an implementation driver for successfully enacted child welfare legislation from the last three regular sessions, including legislation concerning normalcy for foster children, foster youth driver’s licensing, fictive kin as an out-of-home care placement option, and House Bill 1, the comprehensive adoption and foster care reform legislation passed during the 2018 General Assembly.
Caywood lives in Frankfort with her husband and two year old daughter.