Barbara Drake is director of El Paso County’s Department of Human Services.

Barbara Drake enjoys engaging with the community. Rather than complain about bureaucracy, she’d rather get in her car, drive to Denver and be involved in policy making at the state level.
One of her greatest satisfactions comes from helping people get off welfare or end substance abuse and become contributors to the community.
Drake recently took time to tell CSBJ about herself and her organization.
Organization: El Paso County Department of Human Services
Position: Director
Hometown: Huntington, N.Y.
How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: Since 1974
Education: Bachelor’s degree in social work from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, and a master’s degree in social work from University of Denver.
A few words about your organization: The Department of Human Services’ mission is to eliminate poverty and family violence in El Paso County. While our mission is to protect children and vulnerable adults and assist people to reach self-sufficiency, we do so in concert with the values and resources of our community.
Recent accomplishments: Elected president of the Colorado Social Services Directors Association for the past three years. El Paso County’s DHS work was recognized in the book, “A Report of the Children’s Defense Fund, America’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline.”
Biggest career break: After working in the child welfare field for nearly 15 years, I got a chance to work in the welfare reform arena and helped to craft Colorado’s welfare reform laws.
The toughest part of your job: Advocating for public policies that are flexible, that embrace community partnerships and that lead to good outcomes for the children, families and adults.
Someone you admire: My father, Ralph E. Drake Jr. We grew up on Long Island. He worked for IBM in New York City for 40-plus years. He introduced me to computers and the electric typewriter. He taught me to be adventurous, self-reliant and more importantly, to listen to people with differing points of view in order to grow in my perspective.
About your family: My husband, Wayne, and I have two children. Kyle is a senior at Palmer High School and Kate graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in marine sciences and lives in California with her husband, Trevor.
Something else you’d like to accomplish: One of the things El Paso County’s DHS is known for is Integrated Service Delivery — aligning the right services and benefits for people with their needs. This approach works and is cost effective. In my current role, I want to make sure that integrated service delivery is apparent in all areas of DHS.
How your business will change during the next decade: During the next decade, human services will continue to utilize public/private partnerships in service delivery. There will be more demand for services and benefits for senior citizens; technology will play an even larger role in benefit determination, business processes, communications with agency clients and welfare-to-work employment strategies.
What book are you currently reading? Anna Quindlen’s “Rise and Shine.”
What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs? Ensure that growth is matched with resources for solid infrastructure, educational and employment opportunities, safety, maintaining the natural beauty of the area and individual quality of life factors that draw people to the area.