Photo by Johnny Jackson
Deanna Allen is the reigning Employee of the Year at Clayton County’s Department of Family and Children Services.
JONESBORO — Deanna Allen will long remember the past year.
The 43-year-old mother of two became a grandmother in 2012. She was named the 2012 Employee of the Year at the Clayton County Department of Family and Children Services. And just this week, she got engaged.
The personal and professional milestones share a common thread for Allen — her passion and love for children and family.
She is a social services case manager with Clayton County DFCS, where she has worked in various capacities helping families and children the past 14 years.
Allen said she had not planned to become a career social services worker when she joined DFCS but she has not regretted the decision.
“It’s very rewarding work,” she said.
Allen was nominated for the honor by her colleagues who described her as “helpful, positive, trustful and responsive.” They also noted she was knowledgeable in her field as a child protective services intake representative.
However, she earned the recognition by successfully interviewing with the DFCS Board of Directors.
Chairman Eddie White announced the Employee of the Year winner during the board’s April meeting. Allen won out of 12 finalists among some 200 employees.
Clayton County DFCS Laurence Nelson lauded Allen’s hard work and competency.
“Ms. Allen is one of our most dedicated workers,” Nelson said. “She’s an intelligent and experienced employee and absolutely deserves to be Employee of the Year.”
Allen said her job is to see good outcomes for families and she sees mostly successes.
“It’s very rewarding especially when it comes to the children,” Allen said. “That’s what makes it all worthwhile. But it’s hard sometimes too.”
She documents thousands of family support cases that include child abuse and neglect.
Those are the most trying, she said, lamenting the worst cases in graphic detail.
“There are infants being thrown against the wall and doctors telling you ‘We’re just doing this for show. The baby’s already deceased and passed,’” she said.
On a daily basis, calls come into her office from local law enforcement, hospitals, therapists, pediatricians, school counselors and family courts.
“You never know when, how and what will need your assistance,” she said. “You learn about people and you learn about yourself.”