Message from Aunt Martha’s President & CEO Regarding Appointment of NEW DCFS Director

March 29, 2019

Dear Friends and Partners: As I am certain you are now aware, on Tuesday our own Marc Smith was nominated by Governor Pritzker for appointment as the next director of Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).  We consider this a great honor for Marc, and believe it is a great reflection of the work he has done at Aunt Martha’s.

Since 2010, and in his role as the Executive Vice President of Foster Care and Intact Services, Marc has seamlessly integrated our services with a coordinated network of health care and community wellness providers.  And, under his leadership, Aunt Martha’s has achieved industry-leading outcomes, and demonstrated the effectiveness of an integrated model that provides a holistic response to the social, educational, psychological, and physical health needs of children, parents, and caregivers.

I have every confidence in Marc’s leadership, and in his vision for a new DCFS.  As he transitions into such an important position, many of the challenges Marc will face are both clear and public.  There is no greater, no more significant challenge or responsibility than protecting the lives of our children.

Despite his new title, neither the challenge nor the responsibility are Marc’s alone.  Protecting the safety of our children, and the strength of our families, is a challenge we must all accept. While some of you may have recognized the names of his predecessors when they entered the role that Marc will assume on April 15, 2019, I believe Marc’s relative anonymity is perhaps his greatest asset.  This is because Marc has done the work at the direct service level.  He understands it as well as anyone, and brings a deep knowledge of the challenges that exist at the point-of-care.  He also understands the level of support the Department’s front-line workers need, and the level of integration that is necessary to keep children safe and families strong.

Today, I ask you – as a partner and friend of Aunt Martha’s – to offer your full support to our colleague.  With our collective support, public and private, and in both word and deed, I believe he will bring a value-based, integrated, and family-centered child welfare system to Illinois, as well as true, lasting change to the Department of Children and Family Services.


Raul Garza

President & Chief Executive Officer

Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness