Marguerite Rollins is the new director at Marshall County DHR, succeeding Marcia Parker. She’s actually been in that position for a couple months now. But the DHR staff has been largely working remotely due to the pandemic.
“I am proud to say that as of April 1, our food assistance and child support staff have returned to the office,” Rollins said. “Our child welfare and adult protective services staff will be returning on April 15. So we will soon be back at full strength in the office, although we will continue to have social distancing and masking requirements in place as recommended by the CDC.”
The DHR office is on the corner of Bluff Road and Judy Smith Drive in the same complex as the VA clinic and the Marshall County Health Department. DHR is a large organization, with 70 employees.
Marshall County DHR enjoys a highly experienced staff with very little turnover. Rollins thinks that goes back at least in part to the long-time leadership of that office by Wayne Sellers.
“I’m proud of the longevity of this staff,” she said. “Our child welfare staff averages 10 years’ experience per employee. That is incredible. We have very little turnover. The years of experience are even higher in some of our other departments.”
Rollins has been with DHR since 1999, starting in her native Jackson County, then going to DeKalb County and then Marshall. She has been in Marshall County since 2006.
She continues to live in Jackson County. She is a graduate of Section High School. She attended Northeast Community College, then Jacksonville State and holds a master’s in social work from the University of Alabama. She is a licensed independent certified social worker.
In addition to being proud of her staff, Rollins is proud of the many partnerships DHR enjoys with various organization throughout Marshall County.
“There are so many great things about Marshall County,” she said. “EMA and the Child Advocacy Center are just two of our many wonderful partners.”
Foster parenting classes were suspended during the pandemic, but Rollins said they should be starting again soon.
Like just about everyone, DHR has seen unique challenges due to the pandemic.
The food assistance program has seen unprecedented demand due to unemployment and people just needing extra help.
“Despite workers having to work remotely, they have been able to process the food applications and get people help,” Rollins said. “We have been inundated with requests for food assistance. The work load has been heavier than ever and the staff has been working extra hours.”
There were challenges on the child services side of the house too.
“There was a lull for awhile at the start of the pandemic as there just weren’t as many reports being taken,” Rollins said. “We’ve also had a few instances of a COVID-positive foster child and placement became a big issue. It’s not just every foster family that is equipped to take in a COVID-positive child.”
If you find yourself needing services provided by DHR, the best number to call is 256-582-7100.
Rollins is married and has 3 adult children. One of those children, Amy Reaves, is a former Guntersville teacher and is the wife of former Guntersville educator Bart Reaves. Her other children are Jeremy Rollins and Emily Rollins Jones. Rollins has 7 grandchildren.
When she is not working, she loves tending to her flower gardens.