State's social services director resigns post

Baltimore & Region

December 03, 2005|By ANDREW A. GREEN | ANDREW A. GREEN,SUN REPORTER

Six months after being recruited in a national search, the head of the state Social Services Administration is leaving at the end of the year, much to the chagrin of child welfare advocates who called him a rare bright spot in a troubled state agency.

Wayne T. Stevenson, who oversees adoption, foster care, protective services to children and families and other services for abused or neglected children, resigned to "pursue other interests," said Human Resources Secretary Christopher J. McCabe.

Stevenson was out of the state and unavailable to comment yesterday.

"He was a very capable and passionate advocate for early intervention and better services for children in foster care," McCabe said. "He was able to help us establish a foundation for transforming child welfare in Maryland."

Advocates who worked with him in his brief tenure said they are sorry to see Stevenson go. He came with decades of experience in child welfare issues, mostly in Pennsylvania, and was immediately able to grasp the problems in Maryland and work on lingering issues, such as monitoring of group homes.

"After a rather long period of time, we felt like we were gaining momentum," said Jim McComb, director of the Maryland Association of Resources for Family and Youth. "It was all very encouraging."

Linda Heisner, deputy director of Advocates for Children and Youth, said Stevenson was the best social services director Maryland has had in decades.

"He had a sense of urgency and had begun to put some things in place, in terms of strategic planning and involvement of local departments and stakeholders, that really looked like they were primed to move the agency in the right direction," she said.

McCabe said he would work quickly to find a replacement. He said he would look for someone who shares Stevenson's ability to articulate the agency's policies to lawmakers and advocates.

andy.green@baltsun.com

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