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Alumni Spotlight

Marilou (Gross) Doughty
Class of 1977
Deputy Director of Child Protective Service Agency in Montgomery County, PA

Marilou (Gross) Doughty ’77 has been breaking down barriers since her freshman year at Wheeling Jesuit.

The deputy director of Child Protective Service Agency for Montgomery County (Pa.) is one of the first females to hold a top administrative position in Pennsylvania Public Child Welfare Systems.

One of the first independent majors at Wheeling Jesuit, Doughty started as a psychology major and helped design a major for juvenile justice/social work from the University’s offerings in sociology and psychology.

She has worked the past 22 years for the County of Montgomery, the third largest county in Pennsylvania, which borders the city of Philadelphia. As the deputy director, she directs a 148 professional social work staff that oversees services related to child abuse and neglect around the clock.

She directs child abuse (physical and sexual) investigations, oversees the placement of children from birth to age 21 in foster care, assures children remain safe with their families where appropriate and in other circumstances, has parental rights terminated and children adopted.

Additionally, Doughty conducts statewide and national training and runs seminars for other professional organizations on a range of management and social work/child welfare topics. She serves on the county's child death review team, which reviews with the county coroner all child deaths for prevention efforts. Doughty also serves on a Federal task force for identifying and preventing child abduction, torture and trafficking. 

Prior to this role, Doughty was Assistant Director of a private, non-profit boys’ residential facility in the Philadelphia area for eight years. The facility cared for boys who were abused. While there, she created a foster care program and became the facility’s first foster care director.

Following her four years at Wheeling Jesuit, Doughty returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh where she helped children with social and emotional problems. She also worked briefly as a social work supervisor for an Allegheny County geriatric facility. While there Doughty published her first article related to social work.

In addition to her undergraduate degree from WJU, Doughty earned a master of science in Administration and Management for Human Services from Villanova.

As part of her senior psychology class, Doughty became a peer counselor in Pittsburgh. She counseled young girls placed in a juvenile detention facility. It was an experience Doughty still loves to this day.

In addition to her professional career, Doughty has remained active in the University’s alumni association as a member Philadelphia Alumni Chapter. She serves as the chapter’s representative on Alumni Council.

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