PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced today that she has appointed Jamia R. McDonald to the position of Chief Strategy Officer for Executive Office of Health and Human Services. In this role, one of McDonald's first tasks will be to start the turnaround of the troubled Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF).
"My top priority is creating a stronger Rhode Island for our children and families to be safe and healthy," Raimondo said. "Another priority is fostering innovation in state government. It is no secret that our team is inheriting several significant management and budget challenges at DCYF. Jamia has led the team that over the last year diagnosed these problems and now she stands ready to take action and make the necessary improvements that our kids deserve."
Most recently, McDonald led the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency advising on emerging threats, homeland security matters, and potential disasters. Since June 2014, she has worked on the Governor's Resource Team for DCYF, conducting an analysis on System of Care Network contracts. In her role as Chief Strategy Officer, McDonald will not only develop analyses and solutions of some of the most critical challenges facing EOHHS agencies and programs, she will lead efforts to execute the identified solutions.
"It is unacceptable that an agency charged with caring for Rhode Island's children has so many significant challenges," Raimondo continued. "The most vulnerable families and kids in Rhode Island deserve better."
The DCYF report, which was completed at the end of 2014, described the current implementation of the system of care as fractured and inconsistent. McDonald, along with the agency's acting director, Kevin Aucoin, will immediately act on the report's recommendations.
While work gets underway to make improvements at the agency, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services will conduct a national search for a permanent director.
McDonald holds a JD from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL and a Bachelor's degree from Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL.
Read the DCYF Workgroup Report below