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Department of Public Social Services names new executive to Children's Services Division

County of Riverside Names Marie Brown-Mercadel Assistant Director DPSS


Veteran human services expert with more than 30 years of experience to direct Children’s Services


RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Marie Brown-Mercadel, who has worked a variety of high level leadership positions in the public sector during the past 33 years, has been named Assistant Director of Children’s Services for Riverside County Department of Public Social Services.

Brown-Mercadel, who began working in Riverside County this month, will direct the daily activities of the Children’s Services Division. Her experience includes working with individuals with substance abuse disorders, developmental disabilities, behavioral health issues, children’s welfare, the aging and disabled population, and at-risk youth.

“Marie’s breadth of experience and education combined with her passion for our work and for supporting and empowering staff will be extremely beneficial to the Children’s Services Division,” DPSS Director Susan von Zabern said.

Brown-Mercadel has worked for the past three years as the Director, Regional General Manager of San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, which oversees all DPSS programs for the northern region of the County.  Before that she was Assistant Deputy Director with the agency.  During her career, Brown-Mercadel spent 10 years managing group homes for children and adults, and eight years working in the Aging Services Division for San Diego County.

Prior to working in San Diego, Brown-Mercadel lived in Louisiana where she served as the Chief of Staff for The State of Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services.  DCFS employed 5000 staff that served 3.1 million residents statewide. There she was responsible for the department’s legislative agenda, interfacing with the Senate and House of Representatives, and implementing policy and strategic initiatives.  She later served as the Chief Administrative Officer for St. John the Baptist Parish.  In this role she was responsible for the management and leadership of several departments including Public Safety, Planning & Zoning, Recreation, Utilities, Human Resources, Public Works, Finance, Health & Human Services, and Purchasing and Procurement.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work for the Department of Public Social Services. I am committed to serving the residents of Riverside County and look forward to strengthening families, enhancing services, and working with our dedicated team of social workers,” Brown-Mercadel said.

In addition to her work experience, Marie has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from North Carolina Central University, a Master’s degree in Organizational Management and just completed her Doctorate in Organizational Management and Leadership, both with the University of Phoenix.

Brown-Mercadel has a long history of civic involvement and is currently serving as a Board Member for San Diego Financial Literacy Center.

Marie and her husband have been married for 20 years and have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.  Marie enjoys gardening, exercise and traveling with her family.