New Leadership for the HHSC Blind Children’s Program

Authors: Karissa Sanchez, Policy Specialist, Office of Independence Services, Rehabilitative & Independence Services, Health, Developmental and Independence Services

Keywords: disabilities, program development, Blind Children’s Program, BCP, Health and Human Services Commission, HHSC

Abstract: This article from the Blind Children’s Program announces the hiring of a new program manager, Joanie Cooksey. It describes her education, work experience, and contributions in the areas of children with disabilities.

The Blind Children’s Program (BCP) is pleased to announce a leadership change: Ms. Joanie Cooksey has accepted the BCP program manager role after three years as the BCP policy and program development manager.

Joanie has worked with children with disabilities for over 25 years. Her experience includes providing early childhood intervention (ECI) services in the Dallas area for six years before coming to work for the state ECI office over 18 years ago. At the ECI state office, she provided contract management, training, and technical assistance and implemented the child and family outcomes measures statewide. Her work as an agency representative to the Texas Autism Council led her to manage the Children’s Autism Program. Joanie worked with stakeholders to make programmatic changes to this program that increased the contractor base from five to 21 and increased the number of children served. She served as a team lead in the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) over the Children’s Autism Program, Primary Health Care Services Program, Epilepsy Program, Title V Maternal & Child Health Fee for Service Program, and Navigate Life Texas for two years. Joanie has a bachelor’s degree of science in psychology from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree of science in counseling psychology from the University of North Texas. Joanie replaces Lauren Cox, who transitioned her career path into the private sector.

“I knew when I joined the BCP team that it was a special program,” Joanie said. “I have been blessed to be part of some special teams across my 25 years in social services with children with disabilities. I have grown to love BCP and the amazing people who work in it. They are passionate about providing quality services to families and children and cultivating relationships with partners and stakeholders.”

BCP staff statewide remain committed to fostering independence and self-sufficiency for children who are blind and visually impaired or deafblind. If you have any questions about the program or would like to speak to a member of our leadership team, you can reach the program at [email protected].

BCP’s new Program Manager smiles for the camera.

Photo of new BCP Program Manager, Joanie Cooksey

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