Department of Children and Youth Begins Planning; Announces New Director

Earlier this year, the DeWine administration announced in their state budget proposal a plan to create the Department of Children and Youth (DCY). The agency will combine several programs and resources from six agencies working in health and human services. With the recent passage of the state budget, the new Department is officially going to be included as a service agency in Ohio. Governor DeWine appointed Kara Wente as director of the agency.

Governor DeWine appointed Kara Wente as director of the newly created Department of Children and Youth.

Wente previously operated as Chief Operating Officer for Future Ready Columbus and worked as the assistant director for health and human services/deputy director in the Office of Family Assistance in the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). Leadership within the six agencies transferring programming have until January 1, 2025, to transition all relevant programming to DCY. To assist in shifting roles and responsibilities, DeWine appointed a transition team to lead the process. According to Hannah News, the team includes:

  • Kara Wente, former director of the Governor’s Office of Children’s Initiatives (Announced director of DCY)
  • LeeAnne Cornyn, deputy chief of staff for DeWine and the first leader of his Office of Children’s Initiatives
  • Lily Clossman and Wanda Ellis of the Office of Children’s Initiatives
  • Kris Hagberg of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS)
  • Jeff Van Deusen and Michael McCreight of ODJFS
  • Wendy Grove of the Ohio Department of Education (ODE)
  • Alicia Leatherman of the Ohio Department of Health (ODH)
  • Nathan DeDino of the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD)

Be sure to follow updates from Community Solutions as we continue to follow changes in the Department of Children and Youth as departments begin transferring responsibilities to the new agency.