DCF Secretary Carroll Lauds Experience of New Team Leaders

For Immediate Release: March 31, 2015

DCF Secretary Carroll Lauds Experience of New Team Leaders

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Mike Carroll is continuing to build a leadership team with a remarkable level of practice expertise in their fields, announcing the appointments today of three people with more than 70 years combined with the department.

Dr. David Fairbanks,who has 14 years of experience with the department and last served as Assistant Secretary for Programs, has been named Deputy Secretary. Fairbanks is replacing Pete Digre, who is retiring after 10 years of service with the department.

Secretary Carroll also announced the appointment of Vicki Abrams, B.S.W, who started her career with the former Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services in 1977, to the newly created position of Assistant Secretary of Operations. He also announced that Patti Grogan, who has served 20 years with department, has been promoted from Deputy Director to Director of the Office of Refugee Services.

These appointments round out a leadership team that includes Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare Janice Thomas, Assistant Secretary for Economic Self-Sufficiency Jennifer Lange and Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health John Bryant, who each have worked more than 30 years with the department.

“The DCF leadership team brings several hundred years of combined experience and acquired expertise to the many issues we touch. These outstanding professionals have excelled in their fields and risen through the ranks,” Secretary Carroll said. “They have demonstrated an uncommon commitment to our mission and the people we serve every day that is vital to our success.”

Dr. Fairbanks served as Assistant Secretary for Programs from June 2007 to 2011 and previously served in various roles where he provided overall leadership and direction to the department’s statewide implementation of the community-based care initiative. He also was integral in establishing the department’s Sheriff Protective Investigations program. Dr. Fairbanks also served as the Department’s Chief of Children’s Mental Health and has worked in several states as an independent consultant on child welfare, mental health and education systems reform efforts.

Abrams most recently served as Regional Managing Director for the Northwest Region and previously served in contract management for Developmental Services (now Agency for Persons with Disabilities), Family Safety, and ACCESS Florida. She also has experience in Foster Care, Child Care Licensing, Adult Services and Substance Abuse & Mental Health. Grogan has served with the Refugee Services program nearly 20 years and as Deputy Director since 2010, spearheading the creation of new program services in crime prevention, youth services and orientation, as well as services for unaccompanied refugee minors and victims of human trafficking. The Office every year helps more than 28,000 refugees build new lives.

“I know I am fortunate to have the support of these extremely dedicated, experienced and skilled individuals,” Secretary Carroll said, “but even more importantly, the vulnerable children and families we serve will reap the great benefit of their commitment and service.”

Contact: Michelle Glady, DCF Press Secretary, (850) 717-4450