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Cabarrus County welcomes new human services director

Karen Calhoun brings experience, compassion to role with county

Published Sunday, January 7, 2018

CONCORD, N.C. Dec. 7, 2017-- She started as a child support clerk more than two decades ago, and now Karen Calhoun will lead Cabarrus County Human Services.

Calhoun began work as the new human services director on November 27 and has been visiting county departments, meeting colleagues and county administrators.

She was formally introduced to the board of county commissioners during its meeting on December 4.

Prior to coming to Cabarrus, Calhoun worked with social services departments in Burke and Gaston counties and with the state as a consultant.

She brings a simple philosophy to her new role, she said.  

“We’re human services, and it’s about people … and meeting their needs as best as we can based on the programs and services we provide. I have been involved in that for 22-and-a-half years and (I) am very passionate about serving the public to the best of our ability.”

“She brings a wealth of knowledge,” said Cabarrus County Manager Mike Downs. “That knowledge, combined with her optimism and personality, will serve our county well.”      

Keeping up with the oft-changing state mandates can be a challenge, but Calhoun believes the connections made during her tenure with the state will help with that process.

When she worked as a business liaison with the NC Department of Human Services, her territory included Cabarrus County, so she already knows the area, she said.

“The community involvement here is incredible,” Calhoun said, adding that she looks forward to continuing building relationships with partner agencies because “we as a social services department cannot do it all, and having those partners with us is critical to our success.”

Calhoun replaces William “Ben” Rose, who recently became the social services director in Durham County.

Calhoun earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Western Carolina University and a master’s in public administration from Appalachian State University.

She and her husband, Eric, have a son, Casey, who attends N.C. State University.

The Cabarrus County Human Services director oversees about 325 employees across five divisions: child support, transportation, child welfare, adult and aging and economic services.

For more information on Cabarrus County Human Services, visit Cabarrus.us/departments/humanservices or call 704-920-1400.

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