Rachel Peña

Director of Nevada County, Department of Social Services
Region 2 JPA Board Member


988 McCourtney Ave
Grass Valley, CA 95949

Professional Experience

Rachel began serving as the Director of Social Services for Nevada County in June of 2020. Her Department responsibilities include eligibility programs (CalFresh, CalWORKs, Medi-Cal, General Assistance), Welfare Fraud Investigation, Employment Services, Child Welfare Services, Adult Services (Public Guardian, Adult Protective Services, and In Home Supportive Services), and Veterans Services. Rachel is also the local Mass Care and Shelter Coordinator. Prior to this position, she worked for 9 years as the Executive Director of Victor Community Support Services in Grass Valley, a local nonprofit children’s mental health agency. Rachel started her career in 1999 as a social worker in Nevada County Child Welfare Services, eventually serving as the CWS Program Manager before leaving in 2011 to pursue a clinical license.

Rachel has a passion for leadership development and justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion work and brings these lenses into all of her work.


Rachel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from California State University, Humboldt. She earned her Masters Degree in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999. Rachel served in the United States Peace Corps as a rural health volunteer in Paraguay from 1996-1998.


Rachel has 2 almost grown children and has been married for 23 years. Her household includes 2 dogs, a cat, and several chickens. She was proudly born and raised in Oakland, California but has made Nevada County home for the past 22 years.


Rachel currently serves her State and community in a number of ways, including membership on the County Welfare Directors Association, Child Advocates of Nevada County Board of Directors, and several local school committees.

Professional organizations

  • County Welfare Director’s Association