Across Bucks County, Oct. 6 will be “Marge McKeone Day.”
The county commissioners proclaimed the special day in honor of the long-serving and critically important member of the Children & Youth Social Services Agency. Marjorie “Marge” McKeone’s last day of work falls on that date.
“We thank and commend Ms. McKeone for her dedicated service to the children and families of Bucks County,” said Robert Harvie, chairman of the Bucks County Commissioners
After 34 years in several demanding roles overseeing the care and services of tens of thousands of at-risk children and families, McKeone said her departure is “very bittersweet…it’s hard to let it all go. There are many good people here.”
When she began her career with Children & Youth in 1989, McKeone was pursuing her master’s degree in social work while she served as a caseworker in the placement division that connects foster parents with children in need.
As her leadership skills grew, so did her responsibilities within the agency. She was promoted to supervisor in the intensive services department in 1994, later becoming the division’s first manager. Intensive care cases are among the agency’s most demanding, as parental rights are being terminated and children are moving toward adoption.
In 2008, McKeone was again promoted, taking over as assistant director of Children & Youth and becoming director of the 200-employee agency in 2019.
“Our goal,” said McKeone, during an interview, “is to keep children within the family, safely. A lot of what we try to do is shore up families. I loved working with the families and seeing success. It’s good work.”
However, she said, she’s sorry that too often the larger public doesn’t see that part of the agency’s efforts.
“I regret I was unable to have a greater impact on helping more people see all that we do,” she added. From its screening and intake work to protective services for children from birth to 17 years, to its foster care and adoption services, Children & Youth serves a wide range of needs.
While the licensed social worker has seen changes throughout her decades of service, she said other aspects of the agency’s work are much the same.
“There certainly wasn’t as much substance abuse,” in families, she said. Although mental health and alcohol continue to play a significant role in putting children at risk, “the main reason today is drug abuse,” McKeone said.
The demand for foster parents remains strong. “We need more foster parents for kids with special needs, disabilities, autism, and for adolescents,” stressed McKeone.
Her passion for children of all ages reached into the larger community, as well.
“Marge’s commitment to the people she serves has extended far beyond the halls of county government, as seen in her volunteer educational and advocacy work for families considering adoption and experiencing infertility,” stated the county’s proclamation.
McKeone served as secretary for the Delaware Valley Adoption Council, co-president and/or president for Resolve-Philadelphia, chair and co-chair of Infertility and Adoption Conferences for Resolve-Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Joint State Government Commission Advisory Council on Adoption.
In 2003, the director was honored with the U.S. Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Angel in Adoption, award. McKeone received the Bucks County Award for Excellence in 2013 and, in 2022, she received the Mary Ellen Richmond Award for Serving Youth.
McKeone’s legacy at Children & Youth, the county said, will be lasting.
“While her wisdom, leadership and biting wit will be sorely missed, we know the positive impacts of her work will persist for generations among the countless families she has served tirelessly and selflessly throughout her career.”