Raquel Hatter, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Human Services
Raquel Hatter has dedicated more than 20 years of her life to serving adults, children, and families. The Department of Human Services (DHS) is responsible for administering more than 20 types of services throughout Tennessee, including Families First, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid/TennCare, Child Support, Child Care, Adult Protective Services and Rehabilitation Services. DHS has more than 120 office locations, a budget of $3 billion and approximately 5,400 employees.
Hatter's work has focused on vulnerable and economically disadvantaged individuals. Throughout her journey she has served in many roles including frontline practitioner, therapist, outreach worker, program director, vice president/chief operating officer and chief executive officer. She has done this work across systems including Juvenile Justice, Child Welfare, Mental Health and Human Services. She has done extensive work in supporting positive and effective public-private partnerships on behalf of adults, children and families at a state and national level. Some of this work has included chairing statewide committees focused on these efforts, partnering with state government to revise licensing and contractual rules and partnering with state government to revise mental health rules concerning youth with mental illness.
As an administrator and executive, her areas of focus include: transformational organizational change, fiscal stewardship, strategic management, staff development, accountability, positive outcomes, cultural sensitivity and public policy. She plays an integral role in the Systems of Care efforts across the nation in partnership with families, youth, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, public and private providers and other key stakeholders. She has co-presented on panels with several families and youth from across the country that have interfaced with various systems of care. The focus of this work has been on creating real partnerships with families and youth served by public and private providers with emphasis on true empowerment, respect, cultural and linguistic competence, and results. In 2004 and 2005, she spent time doing work focused on indigenous economically disadvantaged communities in the Northern Territory of Australia and throughout. She has also served as an adjunct instructor for the University of Michigan, Nashville State, and Tennessee State University. She has published articles in international journals on Transformational Organizational Change. She has served on many boards, committees and task forces focused on human services.