Child Welfare Appointed Commissioner: Rebecca Jones Gaston, the director of child welfare in Oregon, has been approved by the U.S. Senate to be the commissioner of the Administration of Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The ACYF is in charge of managing government initiatives that support social services that assist the healthy growth and development of kids, teens, and their families; refuge and protective services for kids and teens in danger; and adoption for kids with special needs. Kate Brown, the governor, stated, “I’d like to congratulate Rebecca on her confirmation by the U.S. Senate as Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families.
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“Under her leadership, Oregon has improved its child welfare system stability and worked toward a goal for system transformation to better serve children and families. I’m thrilled that she will now use her skill and ability at the federal level for the good of families all around the country.
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Following Governor Brown’s executive order aimed at enhancing the child welfare system, Jones Gaston joined the Oregon Department of Human Services as Child Welfare Director in 2019.
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Since then, Jones Gaston has led the division in achieving the following goals: decreasing the number of kids in foster care from over 7,000 to under 5,000; doing away with out-of-state residential treatment centres and modifying operations and policy to address the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining services for kids and families:
- Driving the creation of Oregon’s Family First Prevention Plan in collaboration.
- Creating and starting to implement the Child Welfare Division’s Vision for Transformation, which emphasises that the division will work to prevent abuse and the need for foster care, support families, and keep kids in their homes whenever possible. The vision for transformation brings a racial equity and anti-racism lens to every aspect of the division’s work. In this Update, learn more about how the Vision for Transformation is being carried out.
Fariborz Pakseresht, director of ODHS, stated, “We are proud of Rebecca and grateful for her outstanding leadership over the last three years. “Rebecca’s nomination and confirmation are a credit to the development of Oregon’s child welfare system as well as the Vision for Transformation established under Rebecca’s leadership.”
Aprille Flint-Gerner will start working as the interim director of child welfare on January 1, 2023. Currently, Flint-Gerner serves as the Deputy Director for Equity, Training, and Workforce Development for the Child Welfare Division. Flint-Gerner is a social worker with more than 25 years of experience in the public sector, with an emphasis on system reform for the benefit of kids, teens, families, and communities.
She formerly held the position of Child Welfare Workforce Development Manager at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she developed, implemented, and oversaw a workforce development evaluation and training programme for Nevada child welfare employees, supervisors, and providers. With a number of programmes, Flint-Gerner is working to close the achievement gaps for young people most affected by the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
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According to Pakseresht, Aprille is dedicated to carrying on the change that Rebecca started. It will be ensured that Oregon maintains momentum in better meeting the needs of children, families, and communities through her strong commitment to equality and inclusion, experience in system transformation, and expertise in improving results for underrepresented populations.
By emphasising prevention and preservation, equality and workforce development, and being a data-informed system, I am pleased to assist continue to bring the Vision for Transformation to reality, Flint-Gerner added. Together, with the help of our employees and partners, we can continue to improve results and boost public trust in our work. Explore our website Focus Hillsboro for some additional information.