Ross Hunter appointed Secretary of newly-created Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families

July 9, 2018: Ross Hunter has been appointed as the Secretary of the newly-created Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), which officially started on Sunday, July 1, 2018. The newly-re-organized department is a Cabinet-level agency, and the department combines the Department of Early Learning and the Children’s Administration, which was formerly part of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). In July, 2019, DSHS’s Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration is scheduled to also join the new department. “Proponents of the transformation modeled it on successes seen in other states,” according to a Monday, July 2, 2018, statement from the Governor’s Office. “New Jersey, Wisconsin and Tennessee, for example, have set up departments dedicated solely to serving children and families. These agencies have displayed more accountability and more easily instituted policy improvements while they spotlight the importance of these services to reach more families in need. The process for considering a unified agency devoted to children and family services started when the governor issued an executive order creating the Blue Ribbon Commission on Children and Families. The commission’s work resulted in a bipartisan and unanimous recommendation to establish DCYF. [Gov. Jay] Inslee signed House Bill 1661 on July 6 of last year [2017], starting the transition process that created the new agency.” “With DCYF, Washington also has an opportunity to create a cohesive support system for kids and families,” according to the Governor’s Office statement. “DCYF will work to identify where families encounter gaps in services or have difficulty accessing services. By closing those gaps, DCYF can help reduce family trauma and promote family resilience and well-being.”

Attribution: Governor's Office

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