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Oregon DHS Director Of Child Welfare Resigns


The Oregon Department of Human Services building in Salem, Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Human Services building in Salem, Oregon.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

Oregon’s Department of Human Services has confirmed its director of child welfare has resigned.

Lena Alhusseini joined the Department of Human Services less than a year ago, but it’s been a rocky time for the agency.

An internal report from DHS found major issues with the way the state investigates allegations of child abuse.

In nearly half of more than 100 cases, reviewers disagreed with initial decisions by caseworkers that children were safe in their homes. At a hearing in March, the department’s director, Clyde Saiki, revealed he did not receive that report until a lawmaker sent it to him.

“I respect Lena’s vision for child welfare,” Saiki said in a statement on Alhusseini’s resignation. “However, Lena and I agree that we have not been able to get the results we need to achieve.”

Saiki went on to say the department would need to focus on “the basics” in the future.

“We must continue our efforts toward the culture change needed to put children’s safety at the center of every decision and action,” he said.

Alhusseini will remain with DHS until September, working on diversity recruitment in the human resources department. During the search for a permanent replacement, current Deputy Director Laurie Price will act as interim director.

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