Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

Our Do'ers Profile

Academic journal article Policy & Practice of Public Human Services

Our Do'ers Profile

Article excerpt

In "Our Do'ers Profile," we highlight some of the hard-working and talented individuals in the public human services field. This issue features the director of California's Department of Social Services, Rita Saenz of Sacramento, California.

Name: Rita Saenz

Title: Director of the California Department of Social Services

Years of Service: Appointed to current position by Governor Gray Davis on April 8, 1999

Rewards of the Job: "The most rewarding aspects of my current job are the opportunity to bring a new perspective while supporting positive change in the California social services system, especially in the child welfare arena. I relish the chance to participate in work of the heart to give each of the lives we touch hope and choice."

Accomplishments Most Proud of: "Working with key legislators and the governor's office to secure an additional $150 million to the 2000-01 state budget to help fund the following programs:

* increase staff to reduce caseloads and support social workers;

* provide stipends and housing for emancipated foster youth, and

* provide a cost-of-living increase for out-of-home placement providers.

Our welfare-to-work programs received $65 million in federal bonuses because of the high work participation rates in California. I am especially proud of working together with the tribal governments in California."

Challenge of Administering the Nation's Largest welfare Caseload: "During welfare reform, it was a challenge to incorporate differing views on how California's welfare program should look. Once a framework was developed, there was a challenge in conveying to the public, elected officials, and others, the extraordinary effort and the amount of time that was needed to implement a new welfare system in California. …

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