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Department of Children and Family Services Director Deanna Look Loy

Published 28th October 2011, 12:39pm

After a distinguished 33-year career with the civil service, Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Director Deanna Look Loy retired upon reaching retirement age. Her final day was 2 September.

Throughout her years of service, she made countless contributions towards improving Cayman's social fabric, including championing causes for women and children, as well as initiatives focusing on the family, elderly and probation and aftercare.

Starting her career as an educator, she first joined the civil service as a Spanish teacher at the Cayman Islands High School in 1975 after earning a degree in Spanish and history from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Jamaica. But wishing to continue her professional development, she returned to UWI two years later to pursue a diploma in education.

Following a short stint with the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago, she returned to Grand Cayman where she took the position as Spanish department head at the Cayman Islands Middle School (more recently known as George Hicks High School).

By the late eighties she had been appointed as assistant secretary with the Ministry of Health, Education & Social Services, where she assisted with the implementation of Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exams and served as the secretary for the Education Council.

Subsequently promoted to Director of DCFS in 1994, Mrs. Look Loy took on her role as social advocate with gusto. Not long after assuming her new responsibilities she was faced with providing services to 1,200 Cuban refugees housed at "Tent City" in the Fairbanks area. Her knowledge of the Spanish language and culture served her well during that national crisis.

Throughout her 17 years with the department she spearheaded the development and implementation of several initiatives including the 1996 Study of the Family in the Caymanian Society.

Data gathered during that study went on to inform the development of various programmes including the establishment of Community Development Services, the National Parenting Programme and a probation and aftercare programme for adult offenders.

She advocated for and worked tirelessly on the implementation of procedures for the management of child abuse referrals and investigations, the Children's Law and Regulations, the Adoption Law and the Youth Justice Law.

Later she established the Community Development Unit and oversaw research aimed at identifying the needs of older persons within the Cayman Islands.

Just after completing a master's degree in human resource management with UK based Portsmouth University, she faced one of her greatest challenges yet -- Hurricane Ivan.

The aftermath of the 2004 storm drew another level of service from Mrs. Look Loy, so much so that she was awarded the Cayman Islands Certificate and Badge of Honour in 2005 for her work in the community and civil service.

Commenting on Mrs. Look Loy's departure Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing, the Hon. Michael Adam, MBE said, "We've lost a stalwart in Mrs. Look Loy. She was fearless, dedicated and faced many challenges with her trademark enthusiasm and exuberance.

"There is no doubt that she has made an indelible mark on the social fabric of the Cayman Islands and many of our lives. She will be missed and we wish her all the very best."

An open recruitment process will commence shortly to select her successor.