Samaritas Staff Awarded for Improving Child Welfare


Sean de Four and Rachel Sykes, employees at Detroit-based non-profit Samaritas have been honored by the Michigan Federation for Children and Families Senior Leadership this fall for their work in improving child welfare statewide.

De Four, Samaritas’ vice president of child and family, won the Michigan Federation for Children and Families Leader in Child Welfare Award, which is presented to someone who keeps the Federation’s mission at the forefront of their actions. A leader at Samaritas since 2012, he is a licensed social worker with clinical and macro designations, and has co-chaired the Child Welfare Partnership Council. De Four also teaches master’s-level courses at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and served six years on the school’s alumni board of governors.


“I have dedicated my life to helping people who may not have the opportunities they need to be successful, safe, and healthy,” says de Four. It is an honor to win this leadership award. My team at Samaritas is dedicated to looking for new and creative ways to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families; I could not do it without them.”

Sykes, director of child and family programs in Southwest Michigan for Samaritas, was also awarded the good government customer service award by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for her efforts to help Berrien County’s children and families. Sykes has been a member of the Samaritas team since 2009 and has held multiple roles in supporting the Protect MiFamily program, which aims to strengthen families and keep them together.

Sykes holds a masters in counseling from Spring Arbor University and bachelor’s in biomedical sciences from Western Michigan University. She is a licensed counselor, nationally certified counselor, and serves as chair to the Christian Non-Profit Leadership Collaborative in Kalamazoo.

“We are thrilled to have our staff recognized for excellence in leadership, innovation and customer service for children and families by the State of Michigan,” says Vickie Thompson-Sandy, president of Samaritas.