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Molinaro Appoints Acting Community & Family Services Commissioner

Published: 2/26/2015

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro has announced he will appoint  Sabrina Jaar Marzouka as Acting Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services (DCFS) following the retirement of Robert Allers.   Allers retires March 27th after 40 years of service to the county, including 20 years as DCFS Commissioner.  Mrs. Marzouka currently serves as the Assistant Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Health.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Sabrina Marzouka has dedicated her entire career to helping others, always seeking to strengthen individuals and the communities in which they live. The Department of Community and Family Services provides crucial services to many of our most vulnerable residents. Sabrina’s wide range of experience, here in Dutchess County and beyond, will be invaluable for the Department of Community and Family Services and those they serve.”

The Department of Community and Family Services provides a wide range of services and programming to thousands of individuals and families every month, from protective services for children and adults, housing services, domestic violence prevention services, foster care and adoption, juvenile detention and justice services, child support enforcement, Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), temporary assistance, employment programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aka food stamps, and Medicaid.

Mrs. Marzouka has served in Dutchess County Government for more than 18 years. She began as the Director of Health Planning & Education for the Department of Health in 1997. She was later selected as the Director of Public Health Information in 2004. In 2009, Marzouka was promoted to Assistant Commissioner, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the department. Throughout her service with the Department of Health, Marzouka has been instrumental in the department’s planning process, community assessment and coalition-building efforts.

Mrs. Marzouka said, “I am honored and excited about this new opportunity in DCFS. The Department’s mission of providing assistance and support to those in need in our community is near and dear to me. I am grateful to County Executive Molinaro for this new endeavor and I look forward to serving Dutchess County residents in this new role.”

Raised on the Caribbean island of Haiti, Mrs. Marzouka has lived and worked in one of the world’s poorest regions, with extreme conditions of instability and violence. She served as the Assistant Director of the largest Haitian not-for-profit agency, the Centers for Development and Health from 1985 to 1991, where she was responsible for the design, implementation and management of programs aimed at improving the quality of life of the Haitian people. These included public health as well as development projects, children and adult education, vocational training, sanitation, infrastructure projects, and micro-enterprise programs.

Marzouka moved to Dutchess County in 1992 and began serving as the Executive Director of the Catharine Street Community Center in the City of Poughkeepsie. As Executive Director, she was responsible for the promotion and growth of the Center through professional leadership, as well as the creation of innovative programs responding to the needs of the community. Her work was recognized with the Marist College President’s Award in 1994 and the YWCA Salute to Women Award in 1995.

Marzouka has been extensively involved in the local community, serving on multiple not-for-profit boards, as an adjunct professor for Vassar College’s Urban Studies Department, and coaching the girls’ volleyball team at St. Peter’s School in Poughkeepsie. She was recognized in 2008 for her leadership and mentoring skills as an Athena Honoree by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Marzouka holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Trinity College, a Master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University, and a judicial degree from University of Haiti, Faculty of Law and Economics. She lives in the Town of Pleasant Valley with her husband Antoine and their three children.

County Executive Molinaro will appoint Ms. Marzouka as Acting Commissioner effective March 28th, 2015 and will forward a resolution to confirm the appointment as Acting Commissioner of Community & Family Services to the Dutchess County Legislature.