Pat Page, director of the Division of Children and Family Services, announced her retirement, effective immediately, today.
The state's child welfare services -- never an easy task as her announcement of retirement notes -- has been under the spotlight lately for deaths of children in foster care and other issues. Gov. Mike Beebe has said the state's services are under a "top to bottom" review.
Page recently had the difficult duty of talking to a legislative committee about how state workers had failed to follow protocol in a case in which a Benton County foster parent sexually abused children in his care.
Things have not been right in child services. The administration has promised greater accountability. Is this change a sign? (Gov. Beebe told reporters later that the change was not at his instigation.)
E-MAIL FROM PAT PAGE
It is with a heavy heart that I want to make you aware of my decision to retire, effective today. This has obviously not been an easy decision. Child Welfare has been my passion for over 34 years -- since before we even had a Division of Children and Family Services!
I appreciate your service on the DCFS Advisory Board. Your advice and support has been very important in the changes we have made in DCFS. We still have a long way to go to have the kind of service delivery system we want for Arkansas' children and families, and I hope you will continue your efforts to help DCFS with their agenda for change.
As you know, child welfare is a difficult field at best – with workers trying to protect children and help families where there is child abuse and neglect, mental illness, developmental disabilities, poverty, domestic violence and substance abuse. It is tough work.
I look forward to working with you in the future in other ways -- to help children and their families.