Galax native named state Director of Family Services

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By Shannon Watkins

“I think always my goal ever since I started is that we serve children and families at every point we touch their lives,” said Galax native Carl Ayers, of his career in social work.

As Floyd County’s director of social services, he’s clearly made a good impression doing just that; the state is ready for him to assume his new position as the director of the Division of Family Services under the Virginia Department of Social Services.

Ayers, a resident of Woodlawn, said he starts on July 10 and will relocate to Richmond.

He graduated from Galax High School and went to Radford University — “That’s the kind of place everybody went to,” he said of his alma mater — earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.

His first job out of college was in Floyd as a Child Protection Services and Adoption Care worker in 2000. He was promoted to senior worker thereafter, went to a job as Grayson County Social Services Superintendent through 2002-2003, and was made social services director in Floyd County in 2004, where he has since worked.

He has also been a part of the Virginia League of Social Services Executives (and currently serves as its president), which Ayers said is one way his presence was known on a state level before his hiring.

“It’s just the experience I have on the local and state level,” Ayers said of his selection.

Through the VLSSE, Ayers has done policy work on a state level, working with the General Assembly.

Ayers says his goal and the goal of the department is always to help and strengthen families in crisis and lessen abuse and neglect. “My focus has always been in the child welfare arena,” he said.

“The service that’s needed doesn’t always have to come through social services. We’re all there to serve the families and care about every single person that we serve. They aren’t just a number. I want to see every single person as an individual.

“I think, from my end of it, it’s a wonderful opportunity to serve social services throughout the state. I look forward to the challenges and to work with the platform they gave me.”