breaking news

APD: Police aren’t ruling out the possibility of a tripwire-type bomb

CPS veteran Kay Love forged agency through five decades of social work


Kay Love celebrated 50 years of government service, with nearly 48 spent with Child Protective Services.

Love is regarded as a guru by her colleagues as she helped structure and establish many of CPS’ programs.

When Kay Love began her career in social work, she was the youngest among her colleagues. Now, 50 years later, she’s said to be the wisest.

Love, 76, has spent nearly 48 of those years in Texas Child Protective Services as a program specialist, developing policy and practices since before there were any.

After a half-century in state government, Love was honored for her dedication and service in a ceremony at the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services offices Friday.

“Children are so vulnerable,” Love said. “They will drive you crazy with all the stuff they do, but they really are quite vulnerable, particularly in unstable families,” she said. “I like the sense that I am out there pitching for those kids, trying to help.”

RELATED: CPS investigator — Is this the hardest job in Texas?

Love said she also enjoys the research, writing and problem-solving that come along with the job.

She was born in Houston in 1941 and moved to Lufkin with her family after her father died in World War II.

“I’m East Texas to the bone,” she said.

Love added that she never considered college when she was growing up until she told her mom one day that she was going to get married. Her mother said, “No, you’re not; you’re going to college.”

She came to Austin to study art history at the University of Texas, from which she graduated in 1963. Then she went to work at the Austin State Hospital as a social worker.

“It’s not that I wanted to be a social worker; I went down and took tests for state agencies, and that’s the one I got,” she said.

SEE ALSO: CPS a top issue at the 2017 Texas Legislature

Love received her master’s degree from UT in 1967 and went back to Houston, where she worked at Texas Children’s Hospital and the Child Guidance Center until she was offered a job at CPS in 1970 as a caseworker.

A month after getting hired, she was promoted to supervisor of foster care.

In 1974, Love found herself back in Austin to develop the first Social Services Handbook. From this, she was offered a job at the state level as a program specialist.

Now, Love is one of the most highly regarded minds in establishing the systems and policies CPS uses today.

“You’re a guru and a legend,” one of her colleagues told her at the ceremony, adding that Love is filled with incomparable institutional knowledge.

Love has had her hand in almost every stage of CPS’ growth and policymaking in the past few decades, and she has no intention of leaving soon.

“She keeps coming back,” said Lori Conerly, a colleague of Love’s. “Like we’re celebrating 50 (years) today, but she’ll be back on Monday.”

MORE ABOUT CPS: Agency chief vows to hire 550 more investigators and caseworkers

Love said she attempted to retire in 2002 but found herself rehired and right back at work not long after.

“It’s really hard to quit 50 years of habit,” Love said. “I’ve worked 50 years, and I’m not finding it easy to turn loose.”

When she is not spending her day working on the CPS automated system that documents cases or flipping through binders full of research, Love said, she enjoys gardening, reading and petting her neighbors’ cats.

Love also has a fascination with rocks. Her husband, Ken Lucas, said she would lift everything from a national park and take it home if she could.

The ceremony highlighted her passion for rocks when everyone wore rings whose flashing LED lights looked like gems in every color.

Lucas said he admires the way Love found her calling in social work, adding that something like that is difficult to discover in this world.

When Love reflected on her long career, she said all she feels is fortunate.

“It’s been a good ride,” Love said. “It’s been fun; I’ve enjoyed it.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Police appeal to bomb maker, raise reward money for tips
Police appeal to bomb maker, raise reward money for tips

Austin police on Sunday called on whoever is responsible for the recent string of deadly package bombings at East Austin homes to come forward and share their “message.” “These events in Austin have garnered worldwide attention, and we assure you that we are listening,” interim Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference...
Texas Digest: San Antonio man charged with capital murder

SAN ANTONIO Man charged in deaths of mom, girl A 50-year-old San Antonio man has been arrested and charged with capital murder in the slayings of a woman and her 11-year-old daughter. Police Chief William McManus says Casey Farell Marshall made a 911 call to report he’d killed the girl and her 48-year-old mother Saturday morning. Police believe...
Mississippi boy, 9, accused of shooting sister over argument about video game 
Mississippi boy, 9, accused of shooting sister over argument about video game 

A 9-year-old Mississippi boy is accused of shooting his 13-year-old sister in the head after they had an argument over a video game, WTVA reported Sunday.  Moore County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell said deputies responded to the scene around 1 p.m. Saturday.  Deputies said the boy allegedly had grabbed a gun when his sister would not...
Light Bulb Shop to go dark after nearly 40 years
Light Bulb Shop to go dark after nearly 40 years

One of the quirky retail shops Austin is known for is closing after nearly 40 years in business. The Light Bulb Shop, Austin’s “local lighting shop” at 6318 Burnet Road in North Austin, opened in 1980. A note titled “It wasn’t an easy decision” posted on the shop’s Facebook page last week reads, &ldquo...
Exit poll: Putin wins re-election in landslide
Exit poll: Putin wins re-election in landslide

Vladimir Putin earned a convincing victory in Sunday’s presidential election in Russia, winning 73.9 percent of the vote as he was re-elected to his fourth term, CNN reported. A state-run exit poll revealed the results, which was not a surprise, CNN reported. Pavel Grudinin was second with 11.2 percent of the vote, according to the exit poll...
More Stories