George W. Giese, who has worked with families and children in Carroll County for 22 years, has been named director of the county Department of Social Services.
Giese, 55, who has run the Carroll County Youth Services Bureau since 1977, was appointed to the position Tuesday by Maryland Department of Human Resources Secretary Alvin C. Collins. He replaces M. Alexander Jones, who retired last month after heading the Social Services Department for eight years.
"It's a challenge, and I love this county and I see a need," said Giese of his decision to apply for Jones' job. "When somebody leaves a position you need somebody who knows something about the county to take over."
Collins appointed Giese to the Social Services position based on the recommendations of Carroll County Board of Social Services.
"Giese has a working knowledge of the systems servicing families and children in Carroll County," Collins said in a statement. "He is a tireless advocate for families, and his creativity will serve the county well during this new era of welfare reform in Maryland."
Giese, who will take over as director of the Social Services Department on Tuesday, came to the county's Youth Services Bureau in 1975. He worked as a counselor for two years before becoming director of the agency.
The bureau, which serves about 650 families a year, provides services to children and families, including individual and group counseling, parent education programs and crisis intervention.
Under Giese's leadership, the bureau has broadened client services, tripled its staff from five to 30 and increased its budget from $100,000 to $800,000, with less reliance on government funding. When Giese came to the agency, it was dependent on public money for its entire budget, and now fees charged for services account for more than 40 percent of the agency's budget.
"We've grown from an agency where we dealt only with high school and middle-school children to an agency that deals with children from birth to 18," Giese said. "We work with troubled families to help them solve their own problems, to step back from some of the problems and see things a little differently."
Giese said he's not approaching his new position with an agenda for departmentwide change. His first order of business is to become familiar with the agency's divisions -- welfare and food stamps, child protective services, foster care, child support enforcement and disability assistance. The department serves more than 400 families a year.
"I don't know the agency well enough to say, 'We're going to change this or that,' " Giese said. "We'll sit down and examine what is working well and see how we can support that and also look at what's not working and needs some fixing. I'm not going to change things for the sake of change."
One inevitable change that Giese will oversee is the transition of welfare recipients to jobs, as part of Maryland's welfare reform initiative.
A member of Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, Giese said he plans to work closely with business people to educate them about welfare reform.
"The way I look at it, welfare reform is not a social service problem, it's a community problem," Giese said. "Social Services doesn't have jobs, the community has jobs, and the community has to take responsibility for helping with that."
After receiving a bachelor's degree from St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Giese earned a master of liberal arts from Western Maryland College.
He serves on the Carroll County Children's Council and the Human Services Programs boards of directors.
Giese and his wife live in Randallstown and have raised a foster child.
Pub Date: 2/13/97