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Date Posted: 12/04/2018

Arkansas Department of Human Services Announces Leadership Change in Division of Youth Services

For Immediate Release
December 4, 2018

Media Contact
Marci Manley
Deputy Chief of Communications

Arkansas Department of Human Services Announces Leadership Change in Division of Youth Services

Guhman to focus on supporting broader juvenile justice system reform effort, needed legislative changes

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) – The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Youth Services (DYS) Director Betty Guhman announced today that she plans to step down from the director position to dedicate her energy to supporting broader juvenile justice reform and needed legislative changes ahead of the legislative session.  In light of the transformation efforts happening in DYS, DHS will conduct a nationwide search to replace Guhman.

Michael Crump, Director of the DHS Office of Compliance and Integrity, will serve as Interim DYS Director to ensure that the recently announced DYS transformation plan continues on track and as planned. 

“With the DYS transformation already underway, I want to use my remaining time at DHS to work with judges and the Reform Board to support efforts to reform the entire system,” Guhman said. “The State has been talking for years about transforming the system, and I think those changes are really happening.”

DHS Director Cindy Gillespie said Guhman told her earlier this year that she planned to retire by summer 2019. 

“I am grateful to Director Guhman for helping us begin the transformation efforts we have underway in DYS and her willingness to take on the role of supporting those legislative pieces that will be important to moving our juvenile justice system forward,” Gillespie said. “During her time as director, she has worked diligently to engage the families of youth in DYS facilities, recognizing that the majority of these juveniles will return home and that their families are critical for their successful reintegration into their communities. She even established division-wide family engagement weekends at DYS facilities to support that goal.”

Guhman will move to the DHS Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs during the legislative session, and her work will focus on supporting legislation proposed by the Juvenile Justice Reform Board and supported by Governor Asa Hutchinson in addition to work on DHS proposed legislation for DYS.

“I want to thank Michael Crump for his willingness to take the Interim Director position while the search for a new director is underway,” Gillespie said. “He is a proven, capable leader, and he recently oversaw transforming the integrity and fraud efforts inside DHS. I believe he will keep the DYS transformation efforts on track as we continue to reach the milestones we’ve had planned.”

Crump is an experienced supervisor who previously served as a juvenile prosecutor and an attorney for the DHS Office of Chief Counsel. He also has been responsible for both business operations and financials in the Division of Medical Services. He most recently coordinated and supervised the agency’s transformation around fraud and integrity efforts, including implementing an electronic case management and tracking system, creating an online integrity portal for employees, and improving processes to better meet state and federal guidelines.

Keesa Smith, DHS Deputy Director of Youth and Families, said the agency will immediately begin a nationwide search for a permanent DYS director, considering both in-state and out-of-state candidates. DHS intends to fill the position within the next few months.

“Given our ongoing transformation in DYS, we hope to not only find a candidate with a strong juvenile justice background but also someone who has experience in operations and using analytics to strengthen performance and measure outcomes as we continue to move through this process,” Smith said. 


Arkansas Department of Human Services
Arkansas Department of Human Services

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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