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DCFS GEM Awards Presented


The Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has begun a new employee recognition program called the GEM Awards, named for staff who Go the Extra Mile for their colleagues or families they serve. There are four precious gems – diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds – so each month, up to four GEM Awards are presented.

After announcing the GEM Award program in April and presenting the initial award to Family Service Worker Latoya Maxwell in Sebastian County, DCFS received several very deserving nominations in May. Four winners were chosen, and surprise presentations were made to the winners in their respective county offices.

Our first May winner was Norine Pippin of Benton County in northwest Arkansas. Norine typifies what these awards are all about. Currently, she is simultaneously the Benton County Supervisor, the Differential Response Supervisor and the Transitional Youth Services Supervisor! Until recently, she also was the Adoptions Supervisor, Resource Supervisor, and ICPC Supervisor! Extra miles are nothing new to Norine. Thank you, Norine, for all that you have done and continue to do for your staff and for our children and families! We appreciate you!

The second winner of the month was unique — the ENTIRE Arkansas County staff was recognized for their commitment to teamwork and to serving their clients and partners with positivity and integrity. Led by County Supervisor Deb Steverson, the Arkansas County staff in Stuttgart and DeWitt have been doing it the right way for a long time. Thanks to Deb and Area 10 Director Cassandra Scott for cultivating a culture of excellence in southeast Arkansas.

GEM Award #3 of the month was presented to Becky Terrell in Sebastian County. Becky’s nomination came directly from DCFS Director Mischa Martin, which should tell you something about how highly Becky is thought of across the state. Becky’s claim to fame is her commitment to our youth with developmental disabilities and challenging behaviors who reside in Arkansas Support Network homes in the Fort Smith area. She maintains quality, personal and caring face-to-face interaction with each youth. She makes sure they have everything they need and strongly advocates for each youth and does whatever she can for them, regardless of which county they come from. For Becky, it’s always about the youth. Congratulations, Becky!

Our fourth and final GEM Award of May was presented to a true DCFS gem, Marilyn Carter. Marilyn is a Program Assistant, or PA, in Montgomery County, which means that she does a little bit of everything to support the work done by the caseworkers and supervisors in both Montgomery and neighboring Polk County. Through the normal course of her job there, she transports clients, conducts homemaking skills classes and parenting classes, files and delivers important documents and so on. Her colleagues absolutely gushed about her commitment to be available to her clients and to her fellow staff members at any time, day or night, to lend a helping hand. Much of what a PA does is “behind the scenes” by design, but we wanted Marilyn and all of our hard-working support staff to know that we see and really appreciate all that they do.

If you know a DCFS staff member who you feel routinely goes above and beyond and would like to nominate him or her for a GEM Award, please contact DCFS Communications Specialist Keith Metz at keith.metz@dhs.arkansas.gov or 501-683-2040.

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