Dave Owens

Dave Owens. Photo by Paul Neevel.

In observance of National Social Work Month in March, the Oregon Department of Human Services named Dave Owens of Eugene winner of the 2019 Tom Moan Memorial Award, recognizing achievement by a child welfare caseworker. “We are proud of Dave’s work strengthening Lane County’s children and families,” says Child Welfare Director Rebecca Jones Gaston. “He is thoughtful and humble, and those he works with know he is not there to judge but to help.” 

Born in Lynwood, California, Owens moved with his family to Port Orford, on the southern Oregon coast, at age 4. “Moving to Oregon is my earliest memory,” says Owens, who graduated from Pacific High School in the Port Orford-Langlois School District. He came to Eugene to study at Northwest Christian College, where he majored in youth ministry and minored in music performance. He met his wife, Tina, in the school’s traveling promotional music group, Pilgrimage. “We were gone Friday to Sunday every weekend,” he relates, “visiting a church in Washington, Oregon, California or Idaho.” Owens worked as a youth minister for a year after graduation, then took a job with another church, working in day treatment with troubled kids in Lane County residential and juvenile corrections facilities for three years. Afterward, he and Tina moved to Los Angeles, where he taught high school for six years in the San Pedro Narbonne Community Adult School. “But we didn’t want to raise kids in L.A.,” he says, so they moved back to Oregon with their two young sons in 1999, and he began work with Oregon Child Welfare. “It will be 21 years in July. I work with residential and hard-to-place youth. The child contact, dealing with children, treating them special, has kept me going. My goal is to help families get back together.”

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