Family Services of Tulare County in search of new CEO

Caity Meader steps down as CEO, Family Services Tulare County adjusts direction to provide services as the pandemic comes to a close

VISALIA – After 10 years of serving as CEO, Family Services of Tulare County announced that Caity Meader is officially stepping down.

Stephanie Burrage, the current interim CEO, said that while Meader is bidding adieu to Family Services of Tulare County (FSTC), a strong executive team is stepping up to run the organization in her place. At the start of the new year, Burrage and the board of directors will seek out a candidate to permanently take over as CEO. Additionally, the FSTC is undergoing reorganization due to the changing needs of the communities they serve. 

“Katie’s been such a strong leader and mentor to so many of us that I think it’s going to be hard to fill those shoes,” Burrage said.

Meader stepped down a few months after taking a leave of absence this summer while FSTC began a staff reorganization. Not only did they add two new director positions, but they also gave all employees new job descriptions. The changes are intended to reflect the needs of the community as Tulare County continues to emerge from the pandemic.

“It’s important that [the community] understands that the agency is still in strong hands, though we are going to miss [Meader’s] leadership,” Burrage said. “I’m confident in the staff and in the board, and believe that they’re going to be able to keep us on track.”

Burrage said that peoples’ needs before the COVID-19 pandemic look different than their needs today. One reason is because the FSTC had to perform nearly all of their services online during the pandemic. To remedy this, Burrage said they will realign their services through the reorganization and have two separate divisions for victim services and family services. 

Additionally, both of these divisions will be led by the two new directors that are hopping on board with FSTC. Burrage said that this change will make leadership much stronger, as well as create a more clear and functional hierarchy in the organization. Thus, the community will receive help more smoothly. 

Since the FSTC services went online during the pandemic, Burrage said that the organization is slowly working their way back to in person programs. However, with the changing landscape of communication, they are also hoping to provide more services in a hybrid format, too.

The FSTC will be hiring a new CEO after the holiday season is over, and the board of directors will be handling the hiring process. Burrage said the organization is looking for someone who is trauma-informed, connected to the community and understanding of the FSTC culture.

Burrage added that the board of directors is in no rush to hire a new CEO, as they want to be sure whoever they choose is the perfect fit for the organization. Until then, Burrage will take the lead, which she said will allow for a smoother transition. Burrage has been with the organization for eight years, and has a strong relationship with both the community and the staff. 

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