On Thursday, November 18, 2021, the President nominated Rebecca Jones Gaston to become the Commissioner for the Administration on Children Youth and Families (ACYF). The position has been vacant since Elizabeth Darling stepped down during the presidential transition.
Currently Gaston is the Child Welfare Director for the State of Oregon’s Department of Human Services. Before being the Director in Oregon, Gaston served as the Executive Director of the Maryland Department of Human Services’ Social Services Administration with oversight of child welfare and adult services. She has worked in the field of human services for nearly 25 years as a social worker, advocate, therapist, consultant, and administrator. She knows child welfare first hand as she was adopted from foster care.
The position must be approved by the Senate starting with the Finance Committee which is chaired by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) so her position should help with a nominating process that has become increasing political causing unnecessary delays. The ACYF position is over the Children’s Bureau (CB) and the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB)
In the White House announcement, the Administration said,
“With a specialized knowledge and experience on responsible change management approaches, Jones Gaston is committed to working on the implementation of successful evidence-based programs, including around recent federal legislation that is providing older youth with additional COVID support services and implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act. Over the years, she has formed strategic national and state partnerships with organizations that share the same goals of safety, permanency, and well-being for those served by public agencies. A proud mother of two young adults, she holds a degree in psychology from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania.”