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DHS names new Director of Division of Developmental Disabilities Services


LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) has named a licensed certified social worker with leadership experience serving Medicaid beneficiaries with complex behavioral health, developmental, and intellectual disabilities as the new director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS).

Jennifer Daniel Brezée, who most recently served as the Senior Director of Operations at CareSource PASSE, starts as DDS director today.

“We are so excited to welcome Jennifer to our team,” said DHS Secretary Kristi Putnam. “She has held leadership roles at two of the PASSEs that serve Arkansans with developmental and behavioral health disabilities, and she has a true understanding of the importance of the services DDS provides for our beneficiaries. We are grateful that she has decided to bring her skills to DHS, and we know she will be successful.”

Brezée has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and extensive Medicaid experience spanning the past 18 years. She began her career as a school-based mental health professional with Pathfinder, Inc., and later worked at Beacon Health Options as a Clinical Manager. With the implementation of the Medicaid PASSEs in 2019, she served as AVP of Operations with Empower Healthcare Solutions before transitioning to CareSource PASSE in 2020, serving as Director of Network and Operations, leading their implementation to become the fourth PASSE in Arkansas on January 1, 2022. 

“DDS is charged with connecting Arkansans with developmental disabilities and delays to services that let them lead full, productive, and meaningful lives,” Brezée said. “I am incredibly proud to join DHS and to embrace this mission, and I look forward to building on DDS’ rich history of making positive impacts on the lives of beneficiaries across our state.” 

Brezée succeeds Thomas Tarpley, who has been serving as interim DDS Director since November and now returns to serving as Deputy DDS Director. Tarpley led the Division on an interim basis after previous DDS Director Melissa Weatherton was promoted to Director of Medicaid Specialty Populations. In that role, Weatherton leads Medicaid services with a specific focus on DDS, as well as the Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health Services (DAABHS), and the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (OSAMH)

An Arkansas native, Brezée and her family live in Maumelle.

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