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The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has appointed a pediatric emergency room physician as its first Director of Medical Services in the agency’s Child Welfare Division.
Dr. Rebecca Hook brings her extensive experience treating children at Our Lady of the Lake and OLOL Children’s Hospital to DCFS’s vital child welfare response efforts. In addition to serving as an in-house clinical resource for caseworkers and other staff responding to cases of child abuse and neglect, Dr. Hook will create medical standards and healthcare guidelines for children and youth involved in child welfare.
“Creating this position and appointing Dr. Hook is part of our comprehensive strategy to improve decision-making as it involves child safety, especially in high-risk cases. I’m pleased to have been able to appoint such a specially-trained and experienced doctor for this important work,” said Terri Ricks, DCFS secretary.
Dr. Hook has been a pediatric emergency room physician at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System’s Our Lady of the Lake Hospital since 2015 and has been at OLOL Children’s Hospital since it opened in 2019. In 2020 she led the charge to open the S.A.F.E. Clinic within Children’s Hospital, which provides follow-up forensic exams for pediatric victims of sexual assault.
“The Child Welfare division will look to Dr. Hook as a subject matter expert to consult on complex medical cases and to build relationships and infrastructure that support stronger medical services for our children and families,” said Amanda Brunson, DCFS assistant secretary for Child Welfare. “We know the children and families we serve will benefit from having her working on their behalf.”
Dr. Hook first became passionate about helping children who were abused or neglected after seeing a large of number of cases in the emergency room during her Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at the University of Texas – Southwestern in Dallas. Since moving to Louisiana, she has served as the medical representative on the Multidisciplinary Team for the Baton Rouge Children’s Advocacy Center, as well as a multidisciplinary team with DCFS.
Knowing that DCFS needed someone who could communicate on the medical side, Dr. Hook felt she was the right person to take on the new position of medical director.
“It was a difficult decision to the leave the clinical side of medicine, but I believe this position can help unify the community,” said Dr. Hook. “We all have the same goal to keep children safe and healthy. I hope to bridge the gap between Child Welfare and the medical community in order to better serve the children of Louisiana.”
For more information about the DCFS Child Welfare Program, visit www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/page/child-welfare.
About the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
DCFS is the state agency responsible for keeping children safe, helping individuals and families become self-sufficient and providing refuge during disasters. The Child Welfare Division manages Child Protection Investigations, Family Services, Foster Care and Adoption Services. The Division of Family Support administers the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), Workforce Development, Child Support Enforcement, Disability Determination Services, and federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. Through its Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response, DCFS supports the state's disaster response and recovery functions that involve evacuation, sheltering, emergency food assistance and human services. For more information, visit www.dcfs.la.gov.