By Parker Butler
The board of the Rockbridge Area Department of Social Services has hired a new director to help correct its course.
Suzanne Adcock will soon leave a similar job as director of the Alleghany–Covington Department of Social Service to lead the Rockbridge agency. Both offices are part of the Virginia Department of Social Services.
Adcock, who has has held her current position for over five years, says she is excited about her new position.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting the staff and the Rockbridge residents, the stakeholders, the agencies in the area,” Adcock said. “Just having a fresh start and seeing where things are in Rockbridge and how to get where we need to be—I’m excited for all of it.”
Adcock said she became aware of the job through her connections with other counties’ social services departments. However, she said she was in no rush to apply for the position in Rockbridge.
“It took me a while to decide, because I’m not unhappy here and I wasn’t necessarily looking for something else,” Adcock said.
Adcock will replace Meredith Downey, who announced her retirement this summer during an internal review of the agency.
A report from the regional social services office found unreported accounts of child abuse and neglect by the Rockbridge agency. Chris Billias, the Rockbridge County Commonwealth’s Attorney, convened a special grand jury to look into possible criminal activity. The grand jury is continuing to meet.
Adcock is well aware of the ongoing issues with the department, but she said she is looking forward to the opportunity to make some changes.
“I would say that I do like challenges and it felt like a good move, and it also puts me in a separate locality,” Adcock said.
Adcock plans to work with the interim director, Bill Burleston, and the regional office of social services in Roanoke to achieve a higher quality services for residents of Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista.
“I am going to be doing a lot of assessment when I first get there,” Adcock said. “What’s in place, what’s not in place, what needs to be in place, what our new priorities will be, and hopefully that will get us moving in the right direction.”
Adcock will start her new job later this month.