Marc Cherna, Director
Allegheny County Department of Human Services
Marc Cherna was appointed Director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services in 1997. This integrated department, with a budget of nearly one billion dollars, includes five programmatic offices: Aging, Behavioral Health, Children, Youth and Families, Community Services, and Intellectual Disability. Marc first came to Allegheny County as a result of a national search to take charge of the county's child protective service agency and immediately implemented system-wide changes that have resulted in better permanency outcomes for children. These reforms received national recognition and were showcased twice by ABC World News Tonight as well as CNN’s NewsNight.
Under Marc’s direction, DHS has received several awards for Innovations in American Government given by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, including the State Forensics Program in 2005, the AdoptionLegal Services Project in 2006, and the Allegheny County Music Festival Fund in 2012.
His innovative practice and leadership abilities have also garnered him prestigious awards by numerous child welfare, humanitarian, and civic organizations such as: the Betsey R. Rosenbaum Award for Excellence in Child Welfare Administration from the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators; the Urban League’s Ronald H. Brown Civic Leadership Award; the Good Government Award from the League of Women Voters, the Social Work Citizen of the Year from the National Assn. of Social Workers, the Coleman Award for Excellence in Community Service from the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics, the Community Hero Award from UCP CLASS, and most recently, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Child Welfare Leadership from Casey Family Programs.
He serves on many boards and committees including the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work’s Board of Visitors; the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute of Politics Board of Fellows; and the Executive Committee of the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators. He has also served on the Philadelphia Child Welfare Review Panel and currently serves on the Mayor of Philadelphia’s Community Oversight Board. Marc has served as an Adjunct Professor at both Carnegie Mellon University Heinz School for Public Policy and Management and at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
Marc began his career in human services as a youth worker over 35 years ago. He has extensive work experience in the field, including four years as the Director of Planning, Allocations and Agency Relations with the United Way of Union County, New Jersey and 13 years with the New Jersey Department of Human Services as an Assistant Director with the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services.
Marc received his B.A. degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton and an M.S.W. from the Hunter College School of Social Work in New York. He has three children and six grandchildren.