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Jan 21, 2011
DCFS Regional Administrator Returns from Military Service in Iraq to Serve Louisiana Children and Families
LTC Lillian Smith Welcomed Home as Regional Administrator in Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA - After serving for nine months as Louisiana Army National Guard's Logistical Civil Augmentation Program Manager at Camp Victory in Bagdad, Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Lillian Smith returned this week to her job at the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in a different role - as the new Regional Administrator in Alexandria.

"We are so proud of Lillian's service to our country, and we are happy for her safe return to a new leadership role within DCFS as Alexandria's regional administrator," said DCFS Secretary Ruth Johnson. "Both her military training and her civilian experience serving Louisiana's children and families make her a true asset to our agency and a hero both in and out of uniform."

In addition to her military career, Smith is a 26-year veteran of DCFS. In her new role as DCFS Regional Administrator for the eight-parish Alexandria Region Smith now oversees DCFS' field operations including child welfare, economic stability, child support enforcement and emergency preparedness. Prior to her most recent deployment from January to Dec. 2010, Smith was the manager of DCFS' child welfare functions in central Louisiana.

"Just as service to one's country has its challenges and rewards, so does civilian service for people of Louisiana," said Smith. "I am honored to serve Louisiana's children and families in this new role, and I look forward to my work to keep children safe, help families become self-sufficient and provide safe refuge for our citizens during disasters."

In addition to 35 years of service in the in the Navy and Louisiana National Guard, Smith has held a number of roles at DCFS, including coordinating the agency's child welfare emergency response efforts prior to Hurricane Gustav. When Governor Jindal declared mandatory full coastal evacuation in advance of the storm, Smith was activated by the National Guard and assisted in the transport of residents on buses out of the areas affected by the evacuation order.

Smith said that the difficulty of juggling military service and her career with DCFS all while raising two children was overshadowed by the support of her family, her fellow servicemen and women and her DCFS colleagues.

After graduating from Bolton High School in 1974, Smith joined the Navy and was stationed at Pearl Harbor for three and a half years. When she returned to Louisiana, she received a degree from Louisiana College and joined the National Guard in 1983.

According to Smith, there were only three female officers in her National Guard unit at the time.

"So much has changed since then; today there are many strong, intelligent women who are joining the military and serving our country," Smith said. "I encourage younger people and young women to consider military service or public service as fulfilling careers that offer wonderful opportunities to make a difference."

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