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Head of Social Services Administration at Maryland Department of Human Services leaves for job in Oregon

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.

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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.

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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.

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