CEO of Bruce Grey Child and Family Services retiring after 42 years of service

The Board of Directors of Bruce Grey Child and Family Services announce the retirement of the organization’s Chief Executive Officer, Phyllis Lovell effective April 1, 2022.

Phyllis’ career in child welfare has spanned 42 years, beginning at the Children’s Aid Society of Owen Sound and the County of Grey in 1980 as an Intake Worker. After five years, she moved into the role of Intake, Investigation and Court Services Manager. She held this position for 17 years, until she was promoted to Director of Service in 2002.

Phyllis holds a Master of Social Work Degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland where she was awarded the distinction Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies. She graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Development Studies, prior to earning a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Manitoba. She is a member in good standing of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

Phyllis was the last Executive Director of Grey Children’s Aid and concurrently the last serving Executive Director of Bruce Children’s Aid. In 2012, when the Children’s Aid Society of the County of Grey and the Children’s Aid Society of the County of Bruce amalgamated, Phyllis was appointed the Chief Executive Officer for the newly merged organization.

Phyllis has been an inspirational leader behind 150 staff and has had a tremendous passion for the work of the organization and the work of the Board of Directors. Phyllis has always ensured the highest standards of care and service for the children, youth and families that we serve in Bruce and Grey Counties.

Phyllis has been an involved leader at both a regional and a provincial level. She was a longstanding provincial trainer in Child Development and High-Risk Infants as well as the foundation leadership curriculum for the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Society and the Ontario Child Welfare Training Program. Phyllis was involved in the Executive Child Protection Information Network Committee. She has served on many sector provincial committees including Good Governance, the Child Welfare Data Services Committee, and Information Technology Shared Services. She sits on the Community Safety and Well Being Plan Grey Bruce Committee, the Grey Bruce Local Immigration Partnership, and the Children’s Alliance Grey Bruce.

Message from Phyllis Lovell: “It has been a privilege, over the course of my career to advocate for and work towards the development of services in the Violence Against Women sector and Partner Assault Response Programs, to champion the need for children to grow up in their own families and not in group care, to embrace the tenets of Signs of Safety and the belief that one’s own family can provide a child with safety and to challenge myself, this organization and our community to understand the historic harms that have been caused by child welfare intervention and government policy in the lives of Indigenous peoples and racialized families. I leave my career with many unrealized hopes and dreams and trust that my colleagues will continue this work. I am grateful to the many staff, foster parents, volunteers, and community professionals who shared this work with me. I am delighted to welcome Julie Lipsett to her new role at Bruce Grey Child and Family Services.”

Phyllis will definitely be missed at BGCFS, says Linda Van Sligtenhorst, Board Chair. The Board of Directors has recently undergone a recruitment process and announced on February 9th that Julie Lipsett will assume the position of Chief Executive Officer effective March 7, 2022.