Oregon DHS announces new Child Welfare Director

After a national search, Oregon’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is pleased to announce that Lena Alhusseini has accepted the Child Welfare Director position, effective November 7, 2016.

She joins DHS from Brooklyn, New York, where she served as the Executive Director of the Arab-American Family Support Center. Alhusseini brings nearly 20 years of leadership experience in areas of international development, child protection services, social services and behavioral health, human rights, and community development.

She previously served with global organizations such as USAID, UNICEF and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Alhusseini also established the first child protection center in the Middle East to address the issue of child abuse.

In 2011, President Obama honored Alhusseini as a White House Champion of Change for her work with child protection, domestic violence and sex trafficking. She has a Master’s in Public Administration (NYU) and an MSc degree in Information Technology Engineering.

“Lena’s experience in strategic planning, policy and advocacy with a focus on building support and consensus to achieve successful outcomes made her a clear standout,” said DHS Director Clyde Saiki. “Her passion for protecting and serving vulnerable populations gives us the confidence that she is the right fit for this position.”

As part of the interview process, Alhusseini visited several rural and urban child welfare branch offices in Oregon, meeting with staff, community partners, legislators and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. She will be in Salem during September legislative days to begin meetings on issues of child safety, foster care placement capacity and comprehensive program improvement planning.