Salem, Ore. — Rebecca Jones Gaston is leaving her job as executive director of the Social Services Administration at the Maryland Department of Human Services to take a job in Oregon.
Jones Gaston was named Oregon’s new director of child welfare Wednesday by that state’s Department of Human Services, The Statesman Journal reported.
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.
In her Maryland job, Jones Gaston had oversight of programs for children and vulnerable adults. She led efforts to reduce out-of-state placements of children in foster care from 68 to 18 youths in the past 3½ 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.