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New DCFS Director & Deputy

Ms. Alicia (Jen) Dixon, Director of Department of Children & Family Services.

'Committed, passionate, courageous, driven and loving' are some words that describe the character of the two ladies who now hold the top positions at the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Ms. Alicia (Jen) Dixon was recently named as Director of DCFS, after many years with the agency. Meanwhile Mrs. Debbie Webb-Sibblies is the new Deputy Director for Strategic and Programming.

Mrs. Debbie Webb-Sibblies - New Deputy Director for Strategic and Programming

Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP, Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing welcomed the appointments, saying, "These ladies are experienced professionals who are well-known for their experience and accomplishments in meeting the country's social needs. It is a pleasure to welcome them into their new roles, for each is equipped with complementary skills and experience."

A major challenge that the new Director foresees for the department and herself is the enhancement and further development of therapeutic and clinical services for families and the vulnerable. A major focus will also be on developing the continuum of care for children and the elderly.

She says, "I remain committed to making a difference in the community, and I look forward to working with the staff to achieve this."

Ms. Dixon joined government as a clerical officer 34 years ago, when DCFS was simply called the Probation and Welfare Unit. She left to pursue studies in social work in 1981, and in 1994 pursued her Master's In Business Administration (MBA). Upon her return, , she climbed the professional ladder and took up more senior roles, becoming Deputy Director in 1987, and Acting Director last year, upon the retirement of Mrs. Deanna Look Loy.

Her efficiency and warm personality resulted in many key assignments and lead roles in numerous projects. Most notable of these is her long-standing position with the Shelter Operations Sub-Committee of the Hazard Management Cayman Islands as Deputy Chair in her capacity as the DCFS' Deputy Director

Highlights of the past three decades included overseeing operations during the Cuban refugee crisis on the mid-1990s, assisting with the National Assessment of Living Conditions (NALC) survey, and being a part of the original team of persons trained to deliver domestic violence training to professionals and lay persons in Cayman.

Ms. Dixon has always been a strong advocate of internal development, from staff-training initiatives to upgrading the client database.

She says she finds joy in knowing that she has made a significant difference in the lives of the persons she has worked with over the years: "Many times you don't realise the impact you have had on others until someone comes back to you many years later and tells you that what you did helped change their life."

The new Director encourages her staff and all those persons with whom she comes in contact in the course of her work to maintain the Cayman Islands traditional "caring" approach to life. Furthermore, she emulates the values she espouses.

She thanks her early role models - Mrs. Joyce Hylton and Mrs. Gay Jackson - who convinced her to pursue a career in social work; and extends deep appreciation to Mrs. Deanna Look Loy for her guidance and mentoring over the years. The product of a strongly supportive, extended family, Ms. Dixon names her mother as the most positive influence in her life.

Working in senior decision-making capacities is nothing new to either appointee. Mrs. Webb-Sibblies is a proven public servant with a distinguished 25-year career in the public sector.

She says her "golden project" to date was developing the National Parenting Programme (NPP), while in her previous post as the DCFS' Research and Programme Development Manager. Now run by the Family Resource Centre, the NPP promotes responsible parenting and a community approach to child-rearing.

"I truly enjoy my work," said Mrs. Webb-Sibblies. "For, when we invest in children, we invest in positive long-term impacts on the community."

In her free time, when not reading Christian literature, she enjoys gardening with her husband Langston, as well as spending time with her adult daughter, Feleicia (23).

(GIS)

For further information contact: Yvette Cacho




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