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Sandra Wilson Named Deputy Commissioner of Child Programs

Veteran child welfare professional has been with Department of Children’s Services for 14 years
Thursday, October 03, 2019 | 11:26am
Sandra Wilson

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Children’s Services Commissioner Jennifer Nichols today named Sandra Wilson deputy commissioner of the department’s Office of Child Programs.

Wilson is a veteran child welfare professional with 34 years of experience in both Tennessee and Kentucky and has served as interim deputy commissioner of child programs since April. As deputy commissioner, Wilson is responsible for child program staff and operations in 12 twelve regions across the state. She also oversees all statewide child programs including child protective services assessments, foster care, adoptions, independent living services, non-custodial services, provider network development, and the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

“We were fortunate to have someone as knowledgeable and experienced as Sandra already on our team to step into the interim role earlier this year; she has proven she is up to the challenge of leading the office and inspiring the Child Programs staff across the state to stay focused every day on helping children and families,” Commissioner Nichols said. “Sandra’s entire career has been driven by helping improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, and she brings a wealth of personal perspective to the role of deputy commissioner.”

Wilson joined DCS in 2005 as a consultant to help improve regional organizational and operational practices throughout the department. She later oversaw the development, coordination, and monitoring of activities associated with federal funding requirements; helped form a statewide workgroup that led to the department’s accreditation; evaluated all program areas to determine right-sizing, and was responsible for improving the department’s case manager mentoring program.

“Over the past several months, while serving as interim deputy commissioner of child programs, I have acquired an even deeper appreciation for the dedicated staff and community partners who serve our children and families daily,” Wilson said. “Collectively, they embrace a culture of engaging and strengthening families through a shared commitment to improving the quality of child welfare practice. I am honored and excited to be a part of that culture.”

Prior to joining DCS, Wilson served seven years for the Kentucky Department of Community Based Services as a service region administrator in Louisville, with leadership and oversight responsibility for child welfare, adult protective services, the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, child support and Medicaid programs administered by a staff of 750 at 10 locations throughout the metro area. She also spent 12 years with the Kentucky Department of Human Resources as a regional administrator.

Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology from Austin Peay State University and a master’s degree in community development from the University of Louisville.