New Director of Social Services brings two decades of experience to Page County role

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STANLEY — Page County’s Department of Social Services (DSS) welcomes Kurt Emmerling, who officially began as director on Monday, July 18. Through his full-time position, Emmerling will lead the County’s social service agency located in Stanley, and its team of about 30 employees.

Emmerling’s responsibilities include establishing goals and objectives for the local department; coordinating with the Page County Board of Social Services; determining the need for new programs or a need to modify existing ones; obtaining and managing the agency’s resources; and administering benefits and service programs.

The Page County Department of Social Services’ benefits service programs provide childcare assistance, energy assistance, Medicaid, SNAP/EBT and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). Local service programs provide assistance in adoption and adoption subsidy, foster care and foster care prevention and adult and child protective services.

“Page County and our local department of social services are lucky to have Mr. Emmerling join our staff,” said Page County Administrator Amity Moler, noting Emmerling’s nearly 20 years of experience in county social services. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective to the agency.”

A Pennsylvania native, Emmerling spent the bulk of his social services career as an administrator of the Allegheny County Department of Social Services in Pittsburgh. He additionally worked as a manager for the Mercy Healthy System of Pittsburgh and helped launch Allegheny County’s first 24-hour crisis phone and mobile intervention unit. With a background in geriatrics, protective services and public benefits programs, Emmerling developed several best practice initiatives that have been recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and Welfare.

“I find that I really enjoy helping to make systems and processes better,” said Emmerling. “I like seeing things go from average or good, to great.”

Emmerling formerly taught for the School of Graduate Professional Counseling for Carlow University and was recognized for his dedication to education through the university’s award for most outstanding graduate faculty. He has additionally served as a trainer for MEDS-PDN, a national health services training company, and presented in more than 40 U.S. cities on the topics of mental health diagnosis and intervention.

Emmerling earned a Master’s in Community Counseling from Duquesne University in 1989. He is a licensed and nationally board-certified counselor, and was one of the first therapists in Pennsylvania to earn the dual credential.

Noting ties to Virginia through his wife, who grew up in Danville, Emmerling touted Page County’s sense of community and the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley as chief reasons for relocating to the area.

“I really wanted to do something meaningful, and in larger areas you don’t always see the ways a community is impacted,” Emmerling said. “Here it’s different — you know the people and can make a difference because you know them personally. I think I can make a difference in people’s lives because I can understand people more deeply than I did in the previous role.”

In the coming months, the new DSS director said he is focused on working along Page County staff — many who have served in their positions for two or three decades — to improve programs and services, when needed, to better serve the community.

“I’m really delighted to be here; I’ve been so impressed with the staff,” said Emmerling. “Everyone wants to make a difference in the community, whether that’s older adults, families or children.

“They’re not doing this for any other reason than to help others,” he continued. “It’s a ‘county that
cares’ — and we really do.”

For contact information and more details about

Page County Department of Social Services,

CLICK HERE.

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