Oklahoma's child welfare director will resign, calling it 'one of the most difficult jobs in state government'
Oklahoma's director of child welfare services announced her resignation Tuesday, citing the stress of her job and the pressure of implementing a 2012 legal agreement.
Jami Ledoux has led the child welfare wing of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services for four years; three years as a director after one year as an interim director.
“The decision for me to leave at this time is one that is focused on the well-being of my family," she said in a news release. "This is difficult work and the job of child welfare director is one of the most difficult jobs in state government."
Ledoux, whose resignation is effective May 31, specifically mentioned "the added stress and pressure" of a 2012 settlement agreement DHS entered into following a class-action civil rights lawsuit.
“The combined impacts of the normal pressures leading a child welfare division, along with the responsibility for implementing a settlement agreement, have led to this decision," Ledoux said.
As part of the settlement agreement, DHS created its Pinnacle Plan for improving Oklahoma's foster care system. DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell said the agency's actions are being tracked by three out-of-state monitors.
DHS Director Ed Lake said he has mixed emotions about Ledoux's resignation, calling her a "bright, committed and gifted talent."
“State child welfare at every level has been described as 'anxious work,'" Lake said in a statement. “The constant pressure of making consequential decisions literally every day on top the many internal and external demands on a child welfare director eventually take their toll."