Rauner announces new head of DCFS

Staff Report

Governor Bruce Rauner Friday announced the selection of George Sheldon, 67, as the next Director of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Sheldon was the Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, the state’s equivalent of DCFS, from 2008-2011. He has been given credit for the turnaround of the organization and has been recognized nationally for his work.

When Sheldon began working for the agency, it was referred to as “the troubled Department of Children and Families.” Three years later, a gubernatorial transition report called it the best-run agency in the state.

Sheldon oversaw $200 million in budget reductions without cutting staff or disrupting services to citizens. He was responsible for a $3 billion budget and workforce of 13,000 employees.

Prior to his work as Secretary, he also worked as an Assistant Secretary for Operations.

Most recently, Sheldon was appointed by President Obama as the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a position he held for more than two years until November 2013.

At ACF he was responsible for strengthening the agency’s focus on early-childhood education, finding better ways to support children in foster care and led the first nationwide strategic plan for victims of human trafficking.

Sheldon was a practicing attorney before his work with child and family welfare, working in private practice and for the Florida Attorney General as a Deputy Attorney General for Central Florida.

He was also a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1974 to 1982.

Sheldon earned his bachelor’s degree and law degree from Florida State University.

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