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Press Release

August 23, 2004

Nicholas Names New Director of Child and Family Services

Newell Augur, Director
Office of Public and Legislative Affairs
Dept. of Health & Human Services
11 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333
Tel: (207) 287-1927
TTY: (207) 287-4479
Pager: (207) 851-1092

John R. Nicholas, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), today announced the appointment of James ‘Jim’ Beougher as the new Director of the Bureau of Child and Family Services.

“Jim has a national reputation for making innovative changes to child welfare programs that improve outcomes for families,” said Commissioner Nicholas. “I am very pleased that he is joining our team because his ideas and expertise will be a major part of our continued reform effort.”

Beougher has a distinguished thirty-year career in Michigan serving children and families. He was most recently the Director of the Family Independence Agencies in Livingston and Washtenaw Counties, where he oversaw public assistance and child welfare services. Prior to that, he served for six years as the Director of Michigan’s Child and Family Services Administration where he managed an annual budget of approximately $600 million and was responsible for policy development, training and quality assurance for adult, children and delinquent youth services.

During his career at the Family Independence Agency, Beougher developed a number of initiatives aimed at better serving at-risk children. He implemented a new approach in cases of child abuse and neglect that increased team decision-making, community involvement and neighborhood-based placements. He also set up a quality improvement initiative that involved supervisors observing caseworker home visits and interviews with parents and foster parents. While director of Child and Family Services, Beougher established a permanency focused outcome based reimbursement system for the 6,000 children served by private agencies in Wayne County (which includes the City of Detroit). This project made significant reductions in the average length of stay for kids in care.

Beougher expressed enthusiasm about continuing his career in Maine. "I'm excited to be part of Governor Baldacci's effort to integrate the help we deliver to Maine children and families," he said. "It makes sense that my new beginning here coincides with the opportunities created by a new Department of Health and Human Services and I look forward to making the new department one which is responsive to and respectful of the needs of Maine people."

Beougher received both his Bachelor of Science degree and his Master of Social Work from Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo. Throughout his career, he has participated on a variety of different boards and commissions examining the safety and welfare of children and families. In addition, Beougher has lectured on a wide range of subjects concerning children’s services, including recent testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee on the reauthorization of Safe and Stable Families legislation.

Beougher will assume his new post at HHS by the end of September and expects to complete his move to Maine later this fall. He and his wife are the parents of two grown children and have one grandchild.