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New director to lead Behavioral Health Department
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday appointed Assistant Behavioral Health Director Veronica Kelley to serve as department director effective Oct. 15, the same date current Director CaSonya Thomas begins her new board-appointed position as assistant executive officer in charge of Human Services.
Kelley, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, began her career with County Behavioral Health in 2009 as the department’s cultural competency officer, managing the Office of Cultural Competence and Ethnic Services, the Office of Prevention and Early Intervention and the Office of Innovation. She was deputy director over Regional Operations and Alcohol & Drug Services, and in 2013, became assistant director for the department.
“Veronica is a highly qualified professional who has the board’s full faith and confidence,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman James Ramos. “Her appointment demonstrates that the county’s pool of executive talent is strong and deep. It also demonstrates the board’s commitment to community health, well-being, and public safety.”
“It is with great excitement that I accept the position of director of Behavioral Health,” said Kelley. “In my position as assistant director, our mission of wellness, recovery and resilience is brought to life by the actions of our staff each and every day as they serve clients, fellow departments, community partners and the community at large. As director, I will continue our focus on this mission and provide high-quality behavioral health services through collaborative efforts, partnerships and transparency. I am proud and honored by the continued opportunity to serve.”
“Throughout her career with the department, Veronica’s expertise and proficiency has greatly contributed to DBH’s mission of providing accessible and effective behavioral health services, supporting the countywide vision of creating a county in which those who reside and invest can prosper and achieve well-being,” said current Director Thomas. “I support her appointment by the Board of Supervisors and have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead the department and the valuable services it provides to the community.”
Kelley earned a master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Child Development from Mount Saint Mary’s University. She is also a member of the Governing Board for the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California serving as the Co-Chair for the Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Committee. Kelley is also a professor at Mount Saint Mary’s, teaching in the undergraduate Social Work/Sociology/Gerontology and Film Department and as an adjunct faculty member in the MSW Program at the Loma Linda University Department of Social Work and Social Ecology.