FRANKFORT, Ky. — Marta Miranda-Straub has been named the new commissioner of the Cabinet’s Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander announced Wednesday.
Miranda-Straub will begin her appointment on July 1.
Gov. Andy Beshear said Miranda-Straub’s 40 years’ experience in organizational and clinical social work practice and her passion to serve are just part of her multi-layered background for her new leadership position.
“Marta has served families and children through trauma, substance abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault intervention, and gender equity and anti-racism activism. Her professional goal for 40 years has been to make people’s lives better,” Beshear said. “She understands the importance of human service professionals and what a difference their support can make for the welfare of Kentucky children, adults and families. She is a valuable addition to Team Kentucky.”
Friedlander called Miranda-Straub a catalyst for change and said she is the right leader for DCBS, especially during this challenging time.
“Miranda is not only a proven leader, an advocate, activist, social worker and educator, but she is also an expert in trauma intervention, resilience and violence prevention, and she’ll make that a priority” he said. “She’ll be key to the healthy recovery of both DCBS customers – and staff – and as we build back better during this COVID-19 emergency.”
DCBS is the state’s human services agency with more than 4,400 employees throughout the state, with local offices in each county and one central office leadership team managing staff and operations. DCBS administers the state’s food benefits, child care and welfare assistance, child and adult protection programs, foster and adoption program and Medicaid eligibility determinations.
Miranda-Straub said she welcomes the opportunity to address the systemic and institutional barriers that keep children, youth, adults and families from thriving in our commonwealth.
“Poverty, addiction, mental health, child abuse, neglect and homelessness are ravaging our state,” she said. “We now know better, so we must do better and we will do better. Kentuckians are a proud people, with a rich and long history of self-sufficiency and survival. Let us join hands and build a strong safety net together. It is our current charge to dive deeply into addressing root causes and co-create systemic, structural and sustainable systems change to better the lives of children, adults and families across the state.”
Miranda-Straub is the founder of Catapult Now, LLC, providing organizational and leadership development, board development, strategic planning, executive coaching, retreats, facilitation and training services to non-profit and for profit organizations with a focus on equity and inclusion.
From 2011-18, she served as president/CEO of The Center for Women and Families, a $6 million dollar nonprofit that served more than 8,000 clients each year with rape crisis and domestic violence services for survivors and their children.
Before joining The Center, Miranda-Straub worked for 17 years at Eastern Kentucky University as an associate professor in the Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work Department. There, she served as the chair of Women and Gender Studies and of Multicultural Student Affairs. She currently is part of the Spalding University faculty.
Miranda-Straub received the Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award in 2016. She was named a Daughter of Greatness by the Ali Center for her gender equity and erasing racism work and was also honored for her humane immigration reform and antiracism work by the Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression and Jewish Family and Career Center. The Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs awarded her a SAMMy for her long-term work with survivors. Ampersand Sexual Violence Resource Center of the Bluegrass, formerly the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, gave her their Pioneer Award for 40 years of advocacy and service to eradicating sexual assault.
The Center for Women and Families named Miranda-Straub a 2020 “Woman of Distinction.” She was also named a Compassionate Laureate by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who has honored her by proclaiming “Marta Miranda Day” for her activism.
Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology from Florida Internal University in Miami, a master’s degree in clinical and organizational social work from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., and a PhD in honorary-public service from Spalding University in Louisville.
Miranda-Straub has served numerous groups over the years, including Metro United Way, Stoll, Keenon and Ogden, Junior League of Louisville, Backside Learning Center, Sweet Evening Breeze LGBTQ Youth Program and Leadership Louisville Executive Green Room. She is a published poet and long-time member of the Affrilachian Poets. Her memoir, “Cradled by Skeletons: A Life in Poems and Essays,” was published in Winter 2019 by Shadelandhouse Modern Press.
Miranda-Straub lives in Louisville with her husband Cary Jude Straub and their dog Simon.
Learn more about DCBS programs here.