DCBS Commissioner Eric T. Clark
Clark is an experienced government administration professional who specializes in organizational leadership, program development, public policy, project management and advocacy. He has been with the Cabinet since 2015 serving as legislative director and most recently as chief of staff.
Clark was a member of the CHFS group that worked collaboratively with legislators, Gov. Matt Bevin and First Lady Glenna Bevin, the Administrative Office of the Courts and advocates to design the framework for House Bill 1, the sweeping foster care and adoption bill passed during the 2018 legislative session and signed into law by Gov. Bevin.
A Frankfort native, Eric received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Kentucky State University. He currently resides in Louisville with his family.
DCBS Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Caywood
Elizabeth Caywood has 19 years of DCBS experience, 12 of which were spent in the Commissioner’s Office as an internal policy analyst IV and executive advisor. Most recently, Caywood served as chief of staff for Commissioner Adria Johnson. Caywood was named acting commissioner on Johnson's departure. With the appointment of Eric Clark as commissioner, Caywood now is deputy commissioner of DCBS.
During her career, Caywood’s experience spans every public assistance, child care and social service program administered by the department, including regulation of various provider types and special projects. She is a member of the CHFS Institutional Review Board, former chair of the Cabinet’s Appeal Board for Public Assistance, member of the secretary’s legislative team and lead Cabinet staffer for the 2009-2011 Governor’s Task Force on Early Childhood Development and Education.
Over the past two and a half years, Caywood has been instrumental in eliminating regulatory and statutory red tape, enhancing child protective services and appeals policies and affecting the state’s compliance with the federal mandate for comprehensive background checks of child care providers. She has been a primary content contributor, agency presenter and implementation driver for successfully enacted child welfare legislation from the last three regular sessions, including legislation concerning normalcy for foster children, foster youth driver’s licensing, fictive kin as an out-of-home care placement option and House Bill 1, the comprehensive child welfare legislation passed in the 2018 regular session.
Caywood has been an adjunct professor and guest speaker for the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. Prior to her service with state government, she worked in Fayette County as a community developer, urban-county government eligibility counselor and felony court victim advocate. She earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in social work from the University of Kentucky and has maintained social work certification in the Commonwealth of Kentucky since 1999.
DCBS Chief of Staff Lesa Dennis
Lesa Dennis was appointed DCBS chief of staff by Gov. Matt Bevin in July 2018. She provides coordination of and direct support to the commissioner on strategic and critical projects. Most recently, she served as DCBS director of service regions and was responsible for supervision and support of the department’s nine regions, including policy development and implementation and budget compliance.