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Executive Team - Secretary
A national leader in the field of children and family services, Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Garner Walters has dedicated her career to improving the lives of children and families. While serving as CEO of Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana, Walters led a coalition of stakeholders to create a platform for children’s issues during the 2004 governor’s race. Once elected, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco tapped her to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Social Services, which was Louisiana’s child welfare agency. After serving four years under Governor Blanco, and another year under Governor Bobby Jindal, Walters accepted a position as Director of the Western and Pacific Child Welfare Implementation Center, a national technical assistance center focused on best practices in child welfare. She served as a child welfare consultant until Governor John Bel Edwards appointed her Secretary of DCFS in January 2016. Under her leadership, DCFS revolutionized its approach to foster care with the Quality Parenting Initiative and Louisiana Fosters, set records for adoption out of foster care and provided disaster food and sheltering assistance following two major floods and hurricane Harvey. The department recently embarked on a major initiative to reduce workforce turnover as one of eight recipients of a national workforce strategies grant. In early August 2018, DCFS launched efforts to expand foster care to age 21 and is focusing on programs (such as the SNAP Employment and Training program) that address poverty and allow Louisianans to "live well."