The El Paso County Department of Human Services Director of Children, Youth & Family Services was recently honored as a 2023 Woman of Distinction. Catania Jones was recognized May 10 by the Girl Scouts of Colorado at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum. Girl Scouts of Colorado honored four outstanding women in the community who have displayed exemplary leadership and a commitment to advancing the profile of women and girls in our community.
“It is an incredible honor to be included in the company of such inspirational women,” Jones said. “It was fun and a little unbelievable. I couldn’t help but think of the group of women that were honorees in previous years. I also have continued to think about the women that have had impact on me as a human being; as well as women that have had an impact on me as a professional.”
Jones has spent more than 20 years engaging community and system partners to uphold safety, permanency, well-being, and justice for children and youth. Her career has included time working for child placement agencies, TESSA’s Safehouse program, the Division of Youth Services and County child protection.
“Child protection and juvenile justice are a large piece of social justice,” Jones said. “Having positive impact on our children is important; I am unsure of what is more important in the space of social justice. Whether one is a social worker by education, trade, or heart – it all leans towards, and supports, the bigger and broader impact of social justice efforts.”
She has been with El Paso County for four years, although her connections to the County cover far more time. Throughout her career she has repeatedly partnered or collaborated with El Paso County while in her other jobs. Jones has always been focused on finding ways to improve ways to serve children and families.
“El Paso County focuses on delivering services to our community efficiently and effectively,” said El Paso County Department of Human Services Executive Director Stacie Kwitek. “Those efforts depend on our stellar staff, like Catania. She consistently makes a difference in the lives of staff, children, and families, and it is wonderful to see her recognized by our community.”
Leadership has long held an important place in Jones’ efforts.
“We are all leaders, in every space and position, title, role, etc. that we find ourselves,” she said. “Leadership comes from upholding integrity, openness, and kindness. Remember that you hold influence, you choose how to be a champion, you are always looked to as a champion and a representative, regardless of your position, role, or title. It is lovely to be able to see hopeful and driven girls and hopefully positively influence that next generation of women leaders.”