Our Team

DeJuana S. Jernigan, MSW, LCCA, LCPAA

President and CEO

As the President and CEO, DeJuana Jernigan provides leadership to support and guide the mission of Arms Wide Adoption Services. DeJuana is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (Bachelor of Social Work) and of the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (Master of Social Work). She has worked in child welfare /human services for over 25 years. You can read more about DeJuana joining our team here, in addition to reading her full professional bio here.


Why I started with Arms Wide Adoption Services:

I have had the opportunity to work alongside Arms Wide Adoption Services as a partner in providing foster care, adoption, and post adoption services to families for more than 10 years. During that time, I came to appreciate the commitment to excellence and high quality services provided by the staff. When the opportunity presented itself, I was honored to become a member of the team!


My favorite part about my job:

Getting the opportunity to engage with the team and helping to ensure that they have the tools they need to provide the best possible services that support our mission.


My least favorite part:

Knowing that the funding available to us through our contracts with the State are limited, which makes it challenging, at times, to meet the needs of our children/families. I also wish I had an opportunity to spend time with the families and children we support. I love reading the stories that highlight the successful outcomes though!



More about me:

My motto is “Made for Mission.” I have always had a genuine love for people and passion for serving others, which dates back to performing mission work in church as a little girl with my mother and grandmother. I suppose that had an impact on my decision to change my major in college from Government to Social Work (Ha!). When I accepted a job at Child Protective Services right out of college, my mother, half-jokingly, said “Remember, your job is to make sure the children are safe, but that does not mean that you have to adopt them all!” I didn’t adopt them all, but am passionately committed to doing what I can to make sure that those children who cannot safely return home from foster care are matched with a forever family!


Ask me about:

Music (but don’t expect me to know the artist and, in many cases, the actual name of the song), weekend cooking, playing the drums, living simply, speaking kindly, and loving unconditionally!


More Team Members

Annie Richardson

Director of Development