Carolynne H. Stevens of Virginia: 1936-2016
Carolynne H. Stevens of Virginia, a national leader in the field of human care licensing, died at home on the morning of November 23, 2016 after courageously battling cancer and dementia. She was 80.
In accordance with her wishes, there will be no funeral, burial or obituary. Her daughter, Ashley Villanueva, said, “She simply wanted me to notify her friends and ask them to remember her fondly. She will be cremated and inurned at Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Amelia Court House with my father. No muss. No fuss. Leave it to her to be ever practical.”
It’s not at all surprising. Carolynne often shunned the spotlight, content in her humility and confident in her beliefs. But her legacy as a human care licensing icon is extraordinary.
Carolynne H. Stevens played a major role in strengthening the field of human care regulatory administration not only in her home state but also throughout the nation. She ultimate served as Director of the Division of Licensing in the Virginia Department of Social Services.
Carolynne was a relentless advocate for protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults. Her efforts to develop and market training programs for licensing managers and staff were groundbreaking. It is difficult to imagine human care licensing without her active involvement. Her sharp intellect was matched only be her superb writing skills.
Stevens was instrumental in expanding the National Association for Regulatory Administration (NARA). She served as a member and officer of the NARA Board of Directors for many years, including: At-Large Member (1986-88, 1993-97); Secretary (1988-93); Vice-President (1997-00 and 2001-06); and Vice-President for Professional Development (2006-12).
Stevens created the Trainer-in-a-Box Series to facilitate the training of human care licensing staffs. It was launched by NARA in 2004, starting with “Cause-Targeted Corrective Action Plan for Licensors and Providers” and “Achieving Professional Identity as a Human Care Regulator.”
At the NARA Annual Licensing Seminar on October 9, 2007, the NARA Board of Directors, by unanimous vote, awarded Carolynne Stevens the 2007 NARA Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes “an individual for exceptional and extraordinary professional service in the area of human care licensing and regulatory administration.”
Born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1936 to a single mother, Carolynne grew up in Kinston, North Carolina. A bright student, she skipped a few years of elementary school, graduating from high school at the age of 16. Carolynne was admitted to Duke University but feared being so far away from home at such a large college. So, she enrolled at East Carolina University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1957 and a master’s degree in psychology.