After hours Gov. Greg Abbott announces another leadership change for the Department of Family and Protection Services

Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Monday that Stephanie Muth will take over the top post in the new year.

Editor’s Note: The video above was published in September.

THE TEXAS TRIBUNE – After a turbulent three years at the Department for Family and Protection Services, Commissioner Jaime Masters is unemployed.

governor Gregory Abbott announced Monday that Stephanie Muth, a consultant and former Medicaid director at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, will take over the top post in the new year.

Appointed by Abbott in December 2019, Masters took the helm in the midst of a ongoing federal lawsuit against the state over the failure of its care system. Under her leadership, the department has come under fire for several high-profile issues.

The number of homeless children, referred to as “CWOP,” increased from nearly 50 in August 2020 to about 400 in August 2021, with these children spending an average of 18 nights homeless The Houston Chronicle reports. The agency was also under investigation over allegations that an employee at an inpatient treatment center for child victims of human trafficking solicited and sold nude photos of them those children who lived there.

DFPS has also received widespread negative attention as a result of Abbott’s direction to screen families of transgender children for possible child abuse. That investigations have been the subject of lawsuits those are still in progress. These recent scandals have led to a wave of thousands of DFPS employees have left the agency in the past year.

In June, Abbott hired a well-known former DFPS commissioner, Anne Heiligenstein, as the assistant executive commissioner for the department — while she was “on loan” from Casey Family Programs, a national child welfare nonprofit, where she is still employed — until June 2023.

But last month it was announced Heiligenstein was outside, along with Julie Frank, who served as Masters chief of staff. As part of Abbott’s after-hours announcement of Muth’s appointment, he announced that Heiligenstein would be returning in a senior advisory role.

Muth spent 15 years at HHSC in a variety of roles, most recently serving two and a half years as the state’s Medicaid director. Since then she has been a full-time consultant and senior fellow at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. She has also received money from clients for lobbying.

Before Muth takes the helm in January, Kez Wold, DFPS Assistant Commissioner for Adult Protection Services, will serve as interim commissioner.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/texas/abbott-texas-department-of-family-protective-services-leadership/269-ca891924-e1b3-4f22-be17-cfa25fb2d239 After hours Gov. Greg Abbott announces another leadership change for the Department of Family and Protection Services

Laura Coffey

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