New Leader Takes Helm at Somerset County’s Human Services Department

New Leader Takes Helm at Somerset County’s Human Services Department

Zachary Berliner Takes Reins as Michael Frost Retires

New Human Services Department Head Zachary Berliner (l) stands (l-r) with his predecessor Michael Frost and Somerset County Commissioners Paul Drake and Doug Singleterry in front of the department’s new mobile outreach van in 2023.

 

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Zachary Berliner, MSW, this month took over leadership of Somerset County’s Human Services Department following the retirement of Michael Frost, LCSW & ACSW, who served 41 years in Human Services and spent the last decade as Department Head.

Mr. Berliner has worked closely with Mr. Frost for the last three years as Planning Administrator for Human Services. In that role he identified resources available to support the Human Services needs of Somerset County residents, assessed those services, and directed programs and funding to fill gaps.

At their final meeting in May, the Somerset County Commissioners presented Mr. Frost with a proclamation thanking him for his long service to the county as a family therapist, program director, clinical director, executive director of the Richard Hall Community Wellness Center, and for the last decade as Human Services Department Head.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an opioid drug epidemic, and a national mental health crisis, Michael played a crucial role in the launch a community outreach van, the creation of a community police alliance coordinator program, and initiated a mental health navigator program to help residents find needed services,” the proclamation said.

The proclamation continued: “the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners does hereby express its profound gratitude for Michael J. Frost, his leadership in the field of mental health and wellness, and particularly for his commitment to caring for the people of Somerset County.”

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Commissioner Paul Drake, liaison to Human Services. He cited “the amount of support you offered not only to our nonprofit groups but to the staff who work for you.”

 Human Services Department Head Zachary Berliner 

Mr. Berliner was selected after an extensive search. He earned his MSW at the University of Maryland Baltimore. His experience includes working on water and sanitation projects as a Peace Corp Volunteer in rural Panama; working to improve a low-performing community school in Baltimore; working as the Community Partnerships Manager for the Head Start program in Trenton; and working for a social service agency in Lambertville.

The Somerset County Department of Human Services oversees the Divisions of Aging and Disability Services, Community Development, Juvenile Institutional Services, One Stop Career Center, Operations and Planning, Richard Hall Community Health & Wellness Center, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Veterans Services, Volunteer Services, and Youth Services.

The Department also provides funding to a wide range of nonprofit partners recently including the Adult Day Center of Somerset County, the ARC of Somerset, Bridgeway Behavioral Health Services, Safe + Sound Somerset, and the Franklin Food Bank, among many others.

 

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