Kathryn Harwell, Community Services Agency Director
August 2, 2021
What makes your county special?
Nothing can be accomplished alone. Stanislaus County’s success comes from a commitment to partnership and working together to improve the overall community. With a focus on prevention, representatives from local government, business, healthcare, non-profits, philanthropy, education, faith organizations, neighborhoods, media, arts, entertainment, and sports all come together to seek out creative solutions that promote the health and wellbeing of all residents.
Please describe your role with your County:
As the Director of the Community Services Agency in Stanislaus County, I have oversight of the Human Social Service Programs including Adult Protective Services, Child Welfare Services, Housing and Homeless Services, In-Home Supportive Services, Public Assistance including CalFresh, CalWORKs, Child Care, General Assistance, Medi-Cal, Refugee Services, Welfare to Work, and the Public Authority. The Department also serves as the Collaborative Applicant for the Stanislaus Continuum of Care. In addition to serving as the Director, I am appointed to several Boards and Commissions, including First Five of Stanislaus, United Way of Stanislaus, Juvenile Justice Commission, Community Corrections Partnership, and the CalSAWS JPA.
What motivated you to enter public service?
At a young age, my parents taught both my brother and me the value of volunteering. My mother was a nurse and she dedicated her life to helping those in need, always seeking opportunities to assist and help where needed. She was a problem solver and found creative ways to connect individuals to the help and assistance they needed. Her actions inspired me to seek out a career that was dedicated to service to others.
What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Forrest Gump – this movie shows us all we have unique talents and can inspire others through our actions.
What’s your proudest professional or personal accomplishment?
My proudest professional achievement is having been selected as the Director for this amazing Agency. When I started as an Account Clerk I never thought that someday I would be selected to lead this organization. I am thankful to all the individuals over the years that were a part of my growth and development and who provided the opportunities to learn and grow. I am also grateful to our 1,150 employees who every day do amazing work! They are incredible. Personally, I am so proud of being a wife and a mother. I am also proud of being able to continue my education, attaining my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees while raising a family and working. Lastly, I am so grateful to Guide Dogs of the Blind for providing me the opportunity to raise 23 amazing puppies for them.