Karen Marlatt, Commissioner

Executive Director, Valley Oak Children’s Services

I am a life-long North Valley resident. I grew up in Corning and have lived in Chico for over 20 years. I earned a Bachelors Degree at CSU-Chico in Social Work in 1983 and a Masters in Education/Counseling from the University of San Francisco in 1987. I have strong family and social ties to this community and with my husband Dave, am raising three children ages 9 to 21 in Butte County. My adult life has been committed to improving the lives of children and families through a wide variety of professional and volunteer experiences.

A community can have the greatest positive impact with children and families in the first 5 years of a child’s life. I have found the greatest satisfaction in working for programs who provided prevention and intervention services in these early times in a child’s life. It has been my privilege to work with programs like Head Start, PEN , Del Norte Clinic, Far Northern Regional Center and Valley Oak Children’s Services in providing direct services to children and families. I have served as a Board Member to the Rowell Family Empowerment Center, Masonic Youth Organizations, and work as a mentor for Chico High’s Academy of Communication and Technology. My personal and professional experiences ensure that I continue to be a lifelong learner. My experiences have given me a vested interest in advocacy issues, strengthening local collaborative efforts to improve services to families and working with policy makers to ensure systems support families.

It is my honor to serve on the First 5 Butte County Children and Families Commission. It is a wonderful opportunity to work with a group of motivated individuals to improve the lives of children and families in our community.