SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon has a new director of child welfare.
The selection of Rebecca Jones Gaston was announced Wednesday by the Oregon Department of Human Services. She takes over Oregon’s programs Nov. 4, charged with implementing reforms at an agency that’s been in the headlines for child deaths, critical audits, increased scrutiny from lawmakers, a governor-ordered oversight panel and, most recently, out-of-state placement of foster children.
The Statesman Journal reports that Jones Gaston is currently is executive director of the Social Services Administration at the Maryland Department of Human Services, a role that includes oversight of programs for children and vulnerable adults.
In Maryland, Jones Gaston led efforts to reduce out-of-state placements of children in foster care from 68 to 18 youths in the last three and a half years.
Jones Gaston replaces Child Welfare Director Marilyn Jones, who left her job in June after Gov. Kate Brown established the oversight board and hired a team of consultants to review the agency.
Oregon has about 7,000 children in foster care at any given time.