Gina Meier-Hummel, LMSW, the Executive Director of O’Connell Children’s Shelter, is in her 31st year of serving at-risk Kansas children and families. She holds a master’s degree in both Clinical and Administrative Social Work from the University of Kansas. She is skilled at policy and system reform, results oriented practice and has extensive knowledge about caring for vulnerable youth. Gina is in her 4th year overseeing O’Connell Youth Ranch which successfully merged with The Children’s Shelter to become O’Connell Children’s Shelter in 2021.
Gina is the former Secretary for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, having served in the cabinet of both Governor Brownback and Governor Colyer. She also worked for the Kansas Attorney General as the Deputy Director in Crime Victims Services as well as served as the first Youth Suicide Prevention coordinator for the State of Kansas, a position created by the Kansas Legislature.
She has worked a number of positions both locally and on a statewide level, starting out her career in Lawrence as a Child Protective Service investigator, and playing an integral role in her younger days in the privatization of child welfare services in Kansas. She is the former Director of Children and Family Services for the State of Kansas, the former Commissioner for the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services over mental health, addictions programing, and all Medicaid Waiver Programs, and was the former executive director of The Children’s Shelter Inc.
Gina has served on the Governor’s Education Advisory Task Force and Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force, the Governor’s Task Force on Disproportionality, and served as Judicial Appointee for the Legislative Taskforce on Child Welfare Reform in Kansas. She also served on the Governors Social Service Advisory Council.
Several major accomplishments include: reforming Adult Protective Services in the State of Kansas and doubling the workforce to better serve vulnerable adults, helping to facilitate 1000 adoptions of youth who had been waiting for adoption in 1000 days, and authoring and helping to get signed into law a transparency bill in the state of Kansas that requires the state to share information about their past involvement in the event of a child death, assuring state system accountability.
That said, her favorite thing to do is help our at-risk youth find their way, families stay together and be healthy, and inspire young social service personnel in the field. To this day she serves as a practicum instructor for young social workers starting out their career.
She is a past member of Breakfast Rotary, Douglas County Friends of Children in Care, Kappa Delta Sorority, founding member at the University of Kansas, a former Girl Scout Leader, and St. John’s Auction Chair.
Gina and her husband Mark attend St. John’s Catholic Church. They have three wonderful children and have been married over 30 years. Mark is a Captain with Douglas County Fire and Medical. When Gina is not working, she enjoys time with family, vacationing, and spending time outdoors.