Local woman to take over drug, alcohol consortium

August 2, 2018

A Fort Wayne native with local nonprofit leadership experience has been appointed executive director of the Drug & Alcohol Consortium of Allen County.

The organization’s board of directors selected MaryClare Akers for the leadership position, according to a news release Wednesday.

A licensed social worker, Akers succeeds Jerri Lerch, who announced in May she planned to step down after 13 years in the job.

Akers told the executive search team she has “seen firsthand the impact that substance abuse is having on individuals and families in our community.” Akers plans to “carry on the mission of DAC with a focus on seeking the funding necessary to broaden the capacity of our partners and through further activation of community collaboration for change,” she said in a statement.

Akers cited the recently released Indiana Department of Child Services assessment, which reported the percentage of children’s removal from their families due to substance abuse has increased from 28 percent in 2013 to 55 percent in 2017.

Akers joins the consortium after serving in leadership at SCAN Inc., a nonprofit child welfare agency that has its main office in Fort Wayne. Her career experience includes serving populations with a history of trauma, sexual assault, substance abuse and barriers to employment, the news release said. 

Lerch said in a statement that it was a “welcome challenge and an honor” to work with leaders in the community and the state.

The consortium “is well positioned to continue to work with leaders, agencies, and individuals going forward,” the statement said. “I look forward to returning to project work through Lerch & Associates and continuing to make contributions in this important work.”

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