New Commissioner’s Goal: Helping Children, Families

New Commissioner’s Goal:

Helping Children, Families

Eve Bouboulis Leads Biggest County Department

By LIBBY CUDMORE • allotsego.com

EVE BOUBOULIS Otsego County social services commissioner.
EVE BOUBOULIS
Otsego County social services commissioner.

When Eve Bouboulis, then fresh out of college, took a part-time job as a clerk in the county attorney’s office, she never dreamed she’d find her career.  “I didn’t know anyone who had been in foster care or used social services,” she said.  “But when I began doing this, I realized how important it was to help kids and families in our area.”

Bouboulis, a 22-year veteran of the Otsego County Department of Social Services, was promoted from deputy commissioner to commissioner in September, replacing Joyce Boyd, who retired in the spring.

As commissioner, Bouboulis oversees the largest department in Otsego County government, managing 131 employees and a budget of $25 million. DSS offers referrals to substance abuse treatment and mental health services, parent education classes, maternity services, foster parenting workshops and adoption certification, as well as HEAP and housing services, and more.

Bouboulis spent the first eight years of her career as a caseworker, and her background in law and psychology helped her as a social worker when she had to take cases to family court.  “People are struggling with very emotional situations, and I was trying to guide a family through the complicated system,” she said.

But most rewarding to her was being able to help families reunite.  “When you help a child return to his or her family from foster care, that kind of success is so special,” she said.  “It’s good to see a kid go back home safely.”

She rose through the ranks, serving as a staff development coordinator for 10 years, and then as deputy commissioner.

Now as commissioner, her focus is on planning and developing programs and services to help individuals and families.  “We want to enhance their success,” she said.  “For example, parental education has changed over the years, and we tailor evidence-based practices to individual needs, working in the home instead of the office.”

And she hopes that the community will also take advantage of the services DSS offers.  “Anyone can go to our parenting classes,” she said.  “And we’re always looking for foster and adoptive parents.  It’s a difficult job, but it’s amazingly helpful to kids and families.”