Jennifer Westrum has accepted the position of Wadena County Human Services director with a start date of April 28.

The Wadena County Commissioners interviewed and discussed two candidates for the director position in a special meeting on March 10. An initial six candidates applied, then three were interviewed by a hiring committee and the top two were sent to the board, according to County Coordinator Ryan Odden.

“I am very excited to have been offered the position and to accept it, I think it will provide me with a professional challenge and we will be able to make lots of great strides forward as a team at Human Services,” Westrum said.

Within her leadership, Westrum said her management style is collaborative, supportive and approachable while caring for the safety of the team and patients. She will continue being present with team members by going out on cases and listening to how things are going, as she said in response to Commissioner Chuck Horsager’s question about building a team.

Westrum previously worked at Swift County - Benson Hospital on in-home family therapy, mental health, day treatment and visitation center team projects. Currently, she works at the Alexandria Community Behavioral Health Hospital as an administrator for an in-patient psychiatric facility. As a licensed psychologist in Minnesota, Westrum has also completed assessments for adult mental health services and works with patients and social workers on serious and persistent mental illness cases.

The commissioners shared their top priorities for the director position including:

  • bringing the Human Services team of 60 together to help people in a meaningful way;

  • finding ways to help people on the weekend;

  • leading the team in a way that members know how to react to situations;

  • collaborating with community partners and agencies;

  • following state statutes.

“As I get to know the team and the challenges that they face, I look forward to getting to know each of them personally and building upon the great things that they are already doing,” Westrum said.

Westrum is a 1989 graduate of Wadena High School and is married to Wadena-Deer Creek School Superintendent Lee Westrum.