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McGrath elevated to social services agency's top post

The Baltimore Sun

Citing her efficiency and management experience, Department of Human Resources Secretary Brenda Donald and Mayor Sheila Dixon yesterday elevated Molly McGrath to be the director of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services.

"She's no nonsense," Dixon said at a City Council luncheon yesterday. "She's got a strong background in child advocacy. She understands what my mission is in strengthening the family and really working on creating an environment to put people back in society and become functional and responsible citizens."

For the past eight months, McGrath has served as the department's chief operating officer. She came to Maryland eight months ago from Chicago, where she worked in that city's human services department and in Mayor Richard M. Daley's office.

In prepared remarks, Donald called McGrath a "positive change agent" who is "tough and experienced."

"We know that BCDSS has a long and troubled history," Donald said. "It didn't get broke overnight - and it won't get fixed overnight."

The agency came under fire this year over the 2007 death of a toddler who was found to have ingested methadone - despite her troubled mother's repeated contacts with more than a dozen city social services employees. At least five staff members were disciplined or fired for their handling of the case, and the agency's director, Samuel C. Chambers, resigned.

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