Oregon DHS child welfare director resigns 6 months after startin - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon DHS child welfare director resigns 6 months after starting job

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Oregon Department of Human Services (KPTV file image) Oregon Department of Human Services (KPTV file image)

The child welfare director of the Oregon Department of Human Services has resigned just six months after starting the job.

Lena Alhusseini was hired in September 2016 and began working for the agency in November.

DHS director Clyde Saiki issued a statement saying Alhusseini had submitted her resignation and deputy director Laurie Price was appointed as the interim director effective Thursday.

A process will begin to recruit another permanent child welfare director, according to Saiki, but no timeline was released.

Saiki said Alhusseini accepted the position at "a very difficult time," adding, "Lena and I agree that we have not been able to get the results we need to achieve."

Alhusseini's hiring came six months after the previous director, Lois Day, was fired, along with Jerry Waybrant, the chief operating officer for the child welfare and self sufficiency programs.

At the time, DHS cited "continuing concerns in leadership and direction," for the firings. In March 2016, 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.

Alhusseini will remain with DHS until Sept. 1, "leading the strategic initiative of diversity recruitment in the DHS office of human resources."

"Moving forward, our focus must be on the basics: correctly screening reports of abuse and neglect, conducting effective child protective service assessments, making safe and appropriate placements of foster children and youth and ensuring ongoing oversight and support in family foster care and residential placements. In addition, we must continue our efforts toward the culture change needed to put children's safety at the center of every decision and action," according to Saiki's statement.

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