WINCHESTER, VA- There is new leadership at the Winchester Department of Social Services, and the city is hoping to improve programs for families in need.
Newly-appointed Director, Amber Johnson says she's excited to continue working for local children and families.
"I worked closely with the previous director Carla Taylor, and my entire professional career has been in social services," Johnson says. "I think that has prepared me for the position of director."
Johnson served as Interim Director after former Director Carla Taylor resigned in September. She spent years in social work and child protective services, a training ground for the broad spectrum of family cases she now manages.
"We help families meet their very basic needs," she says. "We're also charged with the protection of our most vulnerable population: children, the elderly, and adults with disabilities."
Johnson says she hopes to help enhance current services for income stability and family strengthening.
"Last year, we started our fatherhood program. We're gonna be continuing that," Johnson says. "We hope to in early spring offer a program geared at mothers."
She also wants to improve the department's foster care program, that is struggling to find homes for teens.
"Teens that are placed in foster care sometimes have difficult issues that they are dealing with. So they have greater needs. We do need families in our community that are willing to take teens into their homes and provide a temporary living environment until we can achieve permanency," Johnson says.
She says her prior experience in the department has helped make way for a warm welcome.
Johnson says, "When you know staff and you know what the strengths are and the work that needs to be done, it creates for an easy transition."