Oregon DHS hires new child welfare director after shake-up earli - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon DHS hires new child welfare director after shake-up earlier this year

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Lena Alhusseini (Photo provided by Oregon Department of Human Services) Lena Alhusseini (Photo provided by Oregon Department of Human Services)
Oregon Department of Human Services (KPTV file image) Oregon Department of Human Services (KPTV file image)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The Oregon Department of Human Services has hired a new child welfare director, six months after the previous director was fired as part of a management shake-up within the agency.

Lena Alhusseini will start with DHS effective Nov. 7, the agency announced Wednesday.

Alhusseini is coming from Brooklyn, New York where she served as executive director of the Arab-American Family Support Center.

She has nearly 20 years of leadership in international development, child protection services, social services and behavioral health, human rights, and community development.

In 2011, President Obama honored Alhusseini as a White House Champion of Change for her work with child protection, domestic violence and sex trafficking

DHS executives said she was hired following a nationwide search.

As part of the interview process, Alhusseini visited several rural and urban child welfare branch offices in Oregon and met with staff, community partners, legislators and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

She will be in Salem during September legislative days to begin meetings on issues of child safety, foster care placement capacity and comprehensive program improvement planning.

Lois Day was fired as director of the child welfare program in March, along with Jerry Waybrant, the chief operating officer for the child welfare and self sufficiency programs.

Waybrant's position was discontinued by DHS.

DHS cited "continuing concerns in leadership and direction" for the firings.

At the time the decision was made, a lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court against DHS and nine employees, including Day, alleging DHS caseworkers and executives ignored the severe abuse of two children by their foster parents for two years.

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