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For nearly 20 years, Secretary Chad Poppell has dedicated his time to serving Florida and local government. He is dedicated to ensuring that families have the highest quality of services available in their times of need and that they are delivered at the best value to Florida’s taxpayers.
Secretary Poppell has extensive experience in leading large government programs, including systems of care delivered through third parties. He is dedicated to innovation, making sure the department’s service delivery systems are appropriately resourced, and to making meaningful change that will enhance the lives of Florida’s children and families.
Secretary Poppell came to Tallahassee from Jacksonville in 2013 to serve as the Chief of Staff for the Department of Economic Opportunity and then as the Secretary of the Department of Management Services. Following a brief time in the private sector, the Governor charged him to review the department’s program with fresh eyes and a new perspective.
Dr. Patricia Babcock
Dr. Patricia Babcock has dedicated her career to advancing child welfare and behavioral health for Florida’s children and families. She currently serves as the department’s Deputy Secretary, overseeing policy and operations for family safety, substance abuse and mental health, and economic self-sufficiency.
A licensed clinical social worker, Dr. Babcock previously served as the co-director of the Center for Behavioral Health Integration at Florida State University’s College of Medicine, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine. She has also served as the interim director of Florida’s Institute for Child Welfare at FSU and in an advisory capacity for several major department child welfare projects and is an expert on implementing evidence-based training programs to community-based agencies and practitioners.
Dr. Babcock holds bachelors and masters degrees in social work and earned her PhD in social work from Florida State University in 2010. She was recently recognized by the National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect in the Clinical Category of Disruption for her project entitled “What if Child Maltreatment was Childhood Leukemia?: Lessons from the Halls of the Hospital.”
David Mica, Jr.
Chief of Staff
David Mica, Jr. joined the department in 2019 as the Chief of Staff after serving Floridians in a wide variety of roles in state government over the last ten years. In July 2018, David was appointed the Chief Executive Officer for Volunteer Florida and Executive Director of the Volunteer Florida Foundation where he was able to help raise more than $5 million dollars for the Florida Disaster Fund. Prior to this role, he was the Chief of Staff at the Department of Lottery, the Legislative Affairs Director at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and worked in several roles during the Scott and Crist administrations.
David received his law degree from the Florida State University College of Law, and he earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida. A sixth-generation Floridian, David resides in Tallahassee with his wife, Mary Caroline, and their two children.
Assistant Secretary for Operations
Robert was most recently the Director of Adult Protective Services. He modernized training, redesigned response times and eliminated on-call scheduling. While Director he has served as the president of the National Adult Protective Services Association.
Robert started his career at DCF as a Music Therapist at Florida State Hospital after earning his Bachelor of Arts from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico in San Juan and his Masters in Music Therapy at Florida State University
Assistant Secretary for Administration
Tony recently served the Florida House of Representatives as Budget Chief for the Justice Appropriations committee and later the Higher Education Appropriations committee where he ushered a collective $12 billion budget directly impacting Florida’s criminal justice, higher education, and vocational rehabilitation agencies.
Understanding how public services benefit local communities is a lesson he learned early in his professional career. For ten years, Tony worked in local government managing city and county operations in four Georgia communities. Tony is an experienced leader in overseeing operations for complex organizations at both the state and local levels.
As the former Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Economic Opportunity, he managed a large division responsible for multiple facilities, monitoring Federal workforce and unemployment programs, and providing human resources and programmatic financial support for employees. I had the pleasure of working with Tony during his time at DEO. I am confident that his ability to analyze data while understanding the critical impacts to individuals and families at every decision juncture will prove essential for the adults, children, and families who depend on us.
As a member of the armed forces, Tony has served in several leadership roles with the Georgia Army National Guard and Joint Detention Operations Group in Cuba. Tony earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Master’s in Public Administration from Georgia Southern University.
Assistant Secretary for Economic Self-Sufficiency
Taylor Hatch joined the department in March 2019 as the Assistant Secretary of Economic Self-Sufficiency. In this role, she is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of Florida’s public assistance programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, Refugee Services, and Public Benefits Integrity.
Prior to joining DCF, Taylor served as the Director of Workforce Services at the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) where she was responsible for the management and oversight of the state’s Reemployment Assistance Program, Labor Market Statistics, and One-Stop and Program Support of workforce programs, including the partnership with the local CareerSource Florida network boards across the state.
Prior to her tenure at DEO, Taylor served as Senior Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs Director at the Department of Management Services, Deputy Legislative Affairs Director for DEO, and also gained experience in private sector consulting. Serving in these capacities, she was integral in advancing legislative and strategic priorities, streamlining operational functions, and building collaborative relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
A Florida native, Taylor lives in Tallahassee with her husband Eddie and daughter Charlie. She is active in her community as immediate past president of the Junior League of Tallahassee.
Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare
Patricia Medlock was appointed Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare of the Florida Department of Children and Families in May of 2019. With more than two decades of social services experience, Patricia leads with integrity, personal and collegial accountability, and a commitment to excellence.
Patricia joined the Department in 1998 as a Family Services Counselor in the Northeast Region, as well as held several positions within the Department ranging from Protective Investigator to Supervisor, Trainer to Reviewer and Program Manager to Program Administrator, Family and Community Services Director, and most recently serving as the Region Managing Director for the last 3 years.
She was the recipient of the Child Welfare award in May 2011 for Transitional Trauma Therapist Program Development with Community Based Care, the Fourth Circuit Leadership Award in 2010 for Phase 2 Foster Care Redesign, the Secretary of the Department of Children and Families’ Performance of Excellence award in July 2005 and a recipient of the Young Professionals of Jacksonville award in 2005 from the Jacksonville Business Journal. She also graduated from the Child Welfare Leadership Program in 2006.
She graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from Western Carolina University.
Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health
With nearly 30 years of service, Rodney Moore has devoted his career to improving the lives of Florida’s children and families. Rodney joined the Florida Department of Children and Families in early 2019 as its first Chief Innovation Officer and currently serves as the Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health.
Rodney began his behavioral health career in the residential treatment system where he served in both clinical and administrative roles for more than 10 years. He furthered his career with the Department of Children and Families as a Mental Health Specialist and also served as clinical liaison and regional manager for a statewide Medicaid managed care company. Prior to joining the department again in 2019, Rodney served on the senior management team of the Lakeview Center, overseeing child welfare and behavioral health integration and improvement initiatives.
A Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Rodney has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Southeastern University and a master’s degree in counseling and human development from Troy State University. Rodney completed the Harris Institute Training for Infant Mental Health in 2005, as well served as a continuing education instructor at Pensacola State College. Rodney has lived in Florida for more than 30 years and is married with two daughters and one grandson.