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Stevens takes helm at county DHR

The Butler County Department of Human Resources (BCDHR) named Frieda Stevens to its director position recently, replacing the retiring Joe Bush.

The Greenville native is a Greenville High School graduate who received her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Georgia, and her masters degree in social work from the University of Alabama.

During her social work career, Stevens has served in four Alabama counties: Mobile, Chambers, Montgomery and Butler.

She has been with the BCDHR since 1980, most recently as its adult services supervisor.

She assumed her position as director of BCDHR on August 11.

Stevens said the department has two goals: service and responsiveness.

&uot;We want to continue providing services to the people of our community who need those services, ranging from child support, food stamps, adult services to children and family services,&uot; she said. &uot;Our second goal would be for our organization to be responsive to the community, not only to their needs, but to the people themselves when they contact us.&uot;

The new director said she comes into the director’s position facing some challenges – the department is facing a financial crisis.

&uot;DHR is a part of the State Human Resources Department,&uot; Stevens said. &uot;We were already facing cutbacks. With the problems the state’s budget is facing, we look to have more.&uot;

She said her department already is restricted on travel.

&uot;We are allowed to travel only when it is essential, such as when we have to investigate a case of abuse or neglect, or when we have been mandated by the courts. We are having to put training programs on the back burner for now.&uot;

Other funding cuts include the department’s flex funds that are used to work with families so that children don’t have to be removed from them.

&uot;Those funds are used to prevent placement of children in the foster care program, and to preserve families,&uot; Stevens said. &uot;Those funds are being cut back.&uot;

Stevens said she is eager to get started, and hopes the funding crisis can be resolved.

&uot;One way the community can help is by becoming volunteers,&uot; she said. &uot;We would like to encourage people to sign up with our agency as volunteers. We are always in need of foster homes, mentors to work with children and teenagers, and tutors.&uot;

Bush, who retired after eight years with BCDHR, was honored at a reception held at Southside Baptist Church on July 31st. He also served as the Deputy Commissioner of the State Department of Human Resources. He and his wife, Kay, reside in Andalusia.