Modified: September 13, 2018 1:25pm

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The Erie County Department of Social Services announced today that Karen Rybicki has been promoted to First Deputy Commissioner for Family Independence and Catie Gavin has been promoted to First Deputy Commissioner of Family Wellness. The Family Independence portfolio includes eligibility programs and benefits such as Temporary and Emergency Assistance, SNAP (Food Stamps), HEAP, Medicaid, Day Care, and Employment Programs. The Family Independence portfolio encompasses Child Protective Services, Children’s Services, and Adult Protective Services.  


Ms. Rybicki has served Erie County for over 18 years, beginning her career as a Social Welfare Examiner in the SNAP Division. Other departmental positions Ms. Rybicki has held include Senior Social Welfare Examiner, Food Stamp Trainer, Program Support Specialist, System Support Specialist, Executive Director of Family Independence and most recently Assistant Deputy Commissioner.  


Ms. Rybicki holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and a Master's Degree in Human Service Administration from Buffalo State College.  She is currently a member of the Health Leadership Fellows Program and serves on the board of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women.  


Ms. Gavin has been with the Department of Social Services since November 2017 as the Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Family Wellness, and has been in the Child Welfare field for more than 20 years as a supervisor and staff person.   Her experience includes serving as a Senior Education Specialist in the Child Welfare and Adolescent Services Division, as a Social Worker for Orchard Park School District, as a Child Abuse Specialist for NYS OCFS, and as Resource Specialist for Home Finding. Ms. Gavin has also worked as an Intensive Preventive Services Social Worker, a CPS worker and a Community Residence Specialist.  


Ms. Gavin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Buffalo State College as well as a Master’s Degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Social Work.  She is a board member and Event Chair of the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Team (SMART) and is a member of the board of trustees at Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School.


“Ms. Rybicki is a proven and knowledgeable performer in the social services arena,” said Erie County Department of Social Services Commissioner Marie A. Cannon. “Similarly, Ms. Gavin has extensive experience working with at-risk children and youth. I look forward to each deputy’s continued contributions to making Erie County DSS a great place to work and serve.”


    Click here for more information on the Erie County Department of Social Services.



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