Barnes adjusting to new role

Published 8:10 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2005

By By LYDIA GRIMES Features Reporter
Lynn Barnes has been working at the Department of Human Resources since 1992. She was fresh out of college when she got a job there on the advice of a friend. She has a degree in criminal justice but after working at DHR she returned to college at the University of Alabama to get her master's degree in social work in 2002.
She began working with child abuse and neglect investigation and worked in that area for more than seven years.
She decided that she needed to change and work in another department, so she moved to the foster care unit to train and license foster parents.
She moved to supervision after two years and began supervising foster care and adult services for a short period of time. She took a sabbatical of a year to do internships in connection with her master's degree. She did one internship with Southwest Mental Health and Retardation working mainly with their substance abuse program.
After she finished her internship, she went back to DHR to work in quality assurance and resources and was supervising foster care and day care licensing.
Barnes explained that quality assurance is an agreement that was begun in about 1990 between the federal government and state government. It was based on Alabama improving its child welfare. Part of that agreement was that the state and the counties set up a system of oversight that would check and balance the program. The state has a quality assurance unit in Montgomery composed of a group of people who go to the counties every three years to review the program.
When McClelland retired, Barnes went back to supervising the foster care program for a couple of years. She then took a position with the Alabama Department of Human Resources, which meant that she traveled quite a bit. She was still working in quality assurance, and in February she came back to the Escambia department to become the director.
Barnes was born in Century, Fla., and is the youngest of five children. She graduated from Century High School in 1988.
When she graduated from high school, she was the first recipient of the Elsie Hare Scholarship. The scholarship was established with the hope that it would be used at the University of West Florida, which worked well for Barnes as that was her choice of colleges. She went straight into college and received her degree in criminal justice in 1992. She had intentions of continuing her education to become a lawyer. Her father was retired military and had worked with the Escambia County (Fla.) Sheriff's Department.
Her work is taking most of her time right now but she takes time to work in the garden and take care of her three cats and her dog. She loves to read and belongs to the Red Hat Society. Her group is called "Cats in Red Hats." She has a collection of statuettes, "Prayers and Promises", Lenox birds and antique glass.