The Department of Human Services announced today that Betty Guhman, director of the department’s Division of Youth Services, will step down.
DYS manages programs connected to youths involved in the juvenile justice system, including overseeing the state’s juvenile lockup facilities.
Guhman, previously a longtime aide to Governor Hutchinson, will move to the lobbying arm of DHS (the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs) in order to help push legislation this coming session that was proposed by the Juvenile Justice Reform Board over the summer and backed by Hutchinson, as well as other legislation related to DYS.
Michael Crump, currently director of the DHS Office of Compliance and Integrity, will serve as Interim DYS director.
In a statement,
With the DYS transformation already underway, I want to use my remaining time at DHS to work with judges and the Reform Board to support efforts to reform the entire system. The State has been talking for years about transforming the system, and I think those changes are really happening.
And here’s a statement from DHS Director Cindy Gillespie:
I am grateful to Director Guhman for helping us begin the transformation efforts we have underway in DYS and her willingness to take on the role of supporting those legislative pieces that will be important to moving our juvenile justice system forward,” Gillespie said. “During her time as director, she has worked diligently to engage the families of youth in DYS facilities, recognizing that the majority of these juveniles will return home and that their families are critical for their successful reintegration into their communities. She even established division-wide family engagement weekends at DYS facilities to support that goal.
DHS will immediately begin a nationwide search for a new DYS director, state officials said, looking at candidates in-state and out of state, aiming to fill the position within the next few months.