On August 7, Associate Commission Joo Yeung Chang, announced her departure from her position as head of the Children’s Bureau. She will be leaving on September 3. President Obama appointed Commissioner Chang to head the Children’s Bureau in September 2013 and she is the only person to hold that position in the Obama Administration.
The Children’s Bureau position and the Associate Commission position for the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) now headed up by Associate Commissioner William Bentley, had remained opened during the term of Bryan Samuels who was the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). ACYF is the division of HHS that includes the two bureaus. Samuels had held that position from 2010 to August 2013 and that position has just been filled (see below).
The Children’s Bureau, which recently celebrated its one hundredth anniversary, is the oldest federal agency for children. It has jurisdiction over programming dealing with child protection, foster care, and guardianship and adoption programs.
During her term, Commissioner Chang oversaw continuing implementation of various parts of the 2008 Fostering Connections to Success Act and had started work on the implementation of new state requirements under the 2014 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act. During her tenure there were several new initiatives proposed as part of the Obama Administration’s annual budget. Some proposals such as an expanded use of services under “candidate for foster care” category and proposals on the use of psychotropic medication and oversight of residential care treatment are still being discussed and may still see congressional action.
It is unclear who or if the vacancy will be filled once Chang leaves. The position of Associate Commissioner does not require Senate confirmation and it is likely that Joe Bock, the Deputy Associate Commissioner of the Bureau will fill in as Associate Commissioner at least temporarily as he did before the position was formally filled by Chang.