L. Diane Casto, MPA
Diane Casto has over 38 years of experience in the health and social services field; including work in the areas of child abuse and neglect, child sexual abuse, youth services, fetal alcohol syndrome, substance abuse prevention, mental wellness, criminal justice, and healthy families and communities.
In 1984 Diane moved to Fairbanks, Alaska to accept the position of Executive Director for the Resource Center for Parents and Children (RCPC). She spent 11-years building a strong community-driven prevention and early intervention program serving parents, children and families. The RCPC provided services in a home-like atmosphere, giving families the training, support, skills and resources to be better parents. Services included training, mentoring and ongoing support—sometimes nothing more than listening! In 1995 Diane moved to Juneau to accept the position of Director of the Division of Family & Youth Services, the state’s child welfare and juvenile justice agency serving high-risk children, youth and their parents.
In 1998, the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) asked Diane to establish a new Office of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the first time the state had a singularly focused effort to reduce and prevent the impacts of prenatal alcohol exposure on children. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a completely preventable life-long disability; prevention efforts included strong partnerships, a multi-strategy approach, and reversing strongly held beliefs that drinking alcohol during pregnancy is safe and harmless. In 2003 DHSS reorganized, creating the Division of Behavioral Health, and Diane became the Manager for the Section of Prevention & Early Intervention, focusing on community-based promotion, prevention and early intervention strategies to reduce substance abuse, poor mental health, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
In 2015 Diane was appointed the Deputy Commissioner of Institutions and Probation & Parole for the Department of Corrections. She built a strong program of transition services with a goal of reducing the rate of recidivism. In 2016 she returned to the Department of Health & Social Services as the Behavioral Health Policy Advisor; working to reform and redesign the state’s comprehensive behavioral health system—part of Medicaid reform efforts.
Throughout her career, Diane developed a set of core values that guide her work: individuals, communities, and coalitions are key to positive change; stakeholder engagement is more effective than working in isolation; and always think bigger and reach higher.
Diane has a B.A degree in Anthropology from Central Washington University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs. She is married to her best friend Joel Casto; they have three children and eight grandchildren. Diane’s family is her support and motivation for making the world, and especially Alaska a better, kinder and healthier place for everyone.