Executive Leadership Team

Esther Jacobo

Esther Jacobo,
Interim Secretary

Esther Jacobo has been with the Department since 2008 and most recently served as Statewide Deputy Director for Children’s Legal Services, where she was responsible for statewide litigation practices of CLS across the state. Ms. Jacobo received her Law Degree from St. Thomas University in Miami in 1992. That same year she was appointed as an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County by Janet Reno and remained in that office until April 2007. In January 2001, she was promoted by Katherine Fernandez Rundle to Division Chief of the Domestic Crimes Unit. There, Ms. Jacobo supervised all domestic violence prosecutions in Miami-Dade County, participated in community-based initiatives to assist victims of domestic violence and developed protocol to be used in both the felony and misdemeanor courts with regard to these cases. In April 2007, Ms. Jacobo joined the prestigious family law firm of Elser & Foster-Morales in Miami. In February 2008, she was asked to take a leadership role at DCF under then-Secretary Bob Butterworth and Statewide Director of CLS, Mary Cagle. Ms. Jacobo has dedicated most of her public service career to the safety and well-being of Florida’s families. In 2012, Ms. Jacobo was inducted into the Miami-Dade College Alumni Hall of Fame for her commitment and dedication to serving her community.

Gerald Peter “Pete” Digre,
Deputy Secretary

Pete Digre is the Deputy Secretary. He has more than 40 years of experience in the health and human services field, with an emphasis on community-based care for children, youth and families. He has held leadership positions for social service agencies in Los Angeles County, Philadelphia County and the state of Illinois. In addition, he previously served as Deputy Secretary for Operations at the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, which precedes DCF. Pete holds bachelor's degrees with honors in Sociology and Philosophy from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree with honors in Social Work from George Williams College, a master’s degree with honors in Public Administration from Roosevelt University, and a doctorate of Ministry from the University of Chicago.

 

Scott Stewart

Scott Stewart
Assistant Secretary for Administration

Scott Stewart was appointed as the Assistant Secretary for Administration in 2011. He was previously the agency’s Chief Information Officer, responsible for overseeing information technology systems and coordinating data sharing between state and federal agencies and among our employees and partners. Previously, Scott served as Chief Information Officer for the Agency for Workforce Innovation and worked as an IT director and officer for the Florida Department of Corrections, the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation and other state agencies. Scott also brings private sector expertise from working with Walt Disney World and Scotty’s. Scott earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Florida Southern College in Lakeland and his Master of Business Administration from Nova University in Fort Lauderdale.

Stephen Pennypacker

Stephen Pennypacker
Assistant Secretary for Programs

A graduate of Duke University and the University of Florida College of Law, Stephen spent 15 years in private practice before joining the Eighth Circuit State Attorney’s Office. In 2003, he was appointed as a General Magistrate and assigned the dependency dockets in Alachua, Levy and Gilchrist counties. He came to DCF in 2006 as a managing attorney and quickly rose to serve as the Northwest Region Director for Children’s Legal Services. He is the immediate past president of the Association of Administrators of the ICPC, the author of the ICPC Chapter for the Florida Bar Juvenile Law Handbook, a member of the faculty for the College of Advanced Judicial Studies for the State of Florida and an adjunct family law professor at the University of Florida College of Law.

Drew Parker
General Counsel

Drew Parker was appointed General Counsel in May 2011. Before coming to DCF, Drew worked for Ard, Shirley & Rudolph, P.A. in Tallahassee, where his practice focused primarily on representing public and private clients in civil and administrative litigation. Prior to his time in private practice, Drew worked for the Florida Department of Financial Services in its Constitutional Issues Section, where his responsibilities included representing Florida’s Chief Financial Officer’s in matters related to the CFO’s constitutional duty to approve and settle claims against the State of Florida. Drew earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and Sociology, as well as his Juris Doctor degree, from Florida State University. Drew also earned a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame. 

Jane Johnson

Jane Johnson
Chief of Staff

A former business owner and a seasoned professional in child and adult protection, Jane has served as the DCF Child Abuse Prevention Coordinator since December 2012.

Prior to joining DCF, Johnson served as the Health and Human Services Policy Coordinator for the Executive Office of the Governor. In that role, she developed and coordinated health and human services policies and oversaw the development of agency budgets for six state agencies including DCF. She also previously served as the Director of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities. In addition to her public sector experience, Johnson has held top positions at nonprofit agencies including Children's Home Society, Florida Alliance for Assistive Services & Technology and the Florida Association of Homes for the Aging.

Johnson has also served on numerous boards and commissions including Florida Disabled Outdoors Association, Governor's Task Force on Autism, Affordable Housing Study Commission as well as volunteering as a Guardian Ad Litem. Before coming to Florida, Johnson gained valuable experience running a small business.

Grainne M. O’Sullivan
Director, Children's Legal Services

Grainne M. O’Sullivan, currently serves as Director of Children’s Legal Services. She joined the Department in May 2013 as Children's Legal Services Regional Director, coming to that role from the Office of the Attorney General where she supervised all juvenile dependency cases and conducted training on juvenile law for attorneys, state agents and the Dependency Court Improvement Project. She previously served as an Assistant Attorney General from 2001 to 2005 and as Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Broward County in 2001, where she represented elderly clients at administrative hearings in immigration, bankruptcy, landlord-tenant, divorce, and Medicare matters. She earned a political science degree from the New York Institute of Technology and a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. While in school, Grainne represented clients seeking asylum in the United States in federal court as part of the Safe Harbor Project and was a Student Assistant District Attorney for the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, NY, where she was responsible for a full misdemeanor caseload and functioned as a prosecutor in the largest district attorney’s office in the nation.