Shevaun Harris has served as Secretary for the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) since February 2021. She brought with her an innovative vision and a commitment to improving Florida’s approach in supporting vulnerable children and families. Her leadership is marked by a belief in empowering Floridians to thrive independently and harnessing the power of partnership to support strong and resilient families.
Secretary Harris began her career as a social worker, which led to her true passion - policy and administration in the field of health and human services. She spent nearly two decades at the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), where she excelled and served in key roles, including Acting Secretary. The majority of her tenure at AHCA was focused on the administration of the multi-billion dollar Florida Medicaid program, impacting millions of Floridians through implementation of sound policy and quality improvement efforts.
Her pursuit of excellence continued at DCF. She immediately began seeking opportunities for improvement, asking hard questions, and challenging the status quo, with a specific focus on programmatic and cross-agency integration. The result has been significant people-focused changes that have elevated DCF’s work and improved outcomes for Florida’s children and families.
Under her leadership, DCF has sought to capitalize on each encounter to ensure that families’ needs are addressed holistically and to create pathways for success rooted in prevention and integrating systems. Crowning achievements include the launch of Hope Florida – A Pathway to Prosperity, spearheaded by First Lady Casey DeSantis, which supports individuals in becoming economically self-sufficient; the launch of Coordinated Opioid Recovery (CORE), a vital tool in Florida’s fight against the opioid epidemic; and the establishment of the child welfare accountability system, created to drive performance improvement.
She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in social work from the Florida State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Quinnipiac University. She has two daughters, and her experience as a mom serves as a guidepost in her role as DCF Secretary.