Karlene Cole-Palmer has over 19 years of experience as an outstanding leader and director in the legal and child welfare communities. Her current position as Executive Director of Embrace Families CBC (Seminole County) affords her the opportunity and privilege to work in service to her community at the local level. As the executive director, Karlene oversees the administration of the child welfare system of care in Seminole County, which includes, but is not limited to the development and implementation of policies and procedures for the efficient delivery of effective and innovative child and family focused programs and services. Karlene engages with community partners through contract negotiations, project collaborations and the judicious dispensation of financial resources to support and enhance the lives of the children and families served.

Prior to joining Embrace Families, Karlene served as the Regional Director for Children’s Legal Services, Department of Children and Families (DCF); covering the central region of Florida for eleven years. Karlene was responsible for the management of fourteen legal offices, with over one hundred attorneys and paraprofessionals. She worked in conjunction with child protection professionals, the four lead agencies within the central region, numerous case management organizations, the judiciary and the guardian ad litem program to create processes and develop best practices to enhance the dependency process. Karlene also created and presented trainings on a wide array of legal and child welfare topics at various conferences. She also participates on committees and in workgroups throughout the State of Florida to develop and deploy a variety of field enhancing supports and practicums for frontline personnel in the legal and operational arenas.

Karlene is a proud graduate of the Florida State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Social Work. She then went on to earn a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida.