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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Doyle creates new administrative post

Gov. Jim Doyle announced the creation of a new government
agency to help ensure the future success of every child in Wisconsin called the
Department of Children and Families Tuesday.

The head of the DCF will be the first state cabinet position
dealing exclusively with children and family services, according to Doyle
spokesperson Rachel Allen.

“It's imperative to make sure that we are investing in
our children and our families to make sure they grow up safe and healthy,”
Allen said. “A department whose only focus is children and families will
be very beneficial to the state of Wisconsin.”


Reginald Bicha has been appointed secretary of the new
department and said he is looking forward to serving in his new position. Bicha
is currently the administrator for the Division of Children and Family Services
at the Department of Health and Family Services.

"It's a great opportunity and
really a historic opportunity for children in the state," Bicha said.

Bicha said he has experience in many areas of child services,
including service as a child welfare social worker, a foster parent and an

The new department will bring together more than 30
different services and more than 500 employees located throughout the state
from the Department of Health and Family Services and the Department of
Workforce Development. The budget for the DCF is more than $1 billion.

[dollars] are coming from existing agencies, so it's what we call 'cost-neutral,'"
Bicha said. "We're going to find efficiencies by bringing these groups together
without having to add additional staff or resources."

added bringing together these groups allow for improved services for the people
of Wisconsin.

"This will
better streamline services, and we'll be able to better reinvest and refocus
around early intervention and education efforts," Bicha said.

University of Wisconsin professor of governmental affairs Susan Paddock thinks
people should not expect big changes right away.

"If people think this is going to make a huge difference, I
think they are going to be disappointed," Paddock said. "I think there will be
some measurable improvements but nothing huge. I'm not opposed to it, but I
don't think miracles happen by relocation."

Paddock also said this new department is the result of
restructuring, adding that people often think there will be cost savings
involved with such reorganizing efforts, but that is usually not the case. The
main benefits, she said, will be having these services under one secretary.

"If you only have one secretary, it is easier to get unified
direction, and it will be easier to get services to children who need it,"
Paddock said.

Helping children has been one of Doyle's main goals as
governor, according to Allen.

“That’s always been one of the governor’s top
priorities,” she said. “Ensuring that every child has the opportunity
to grow up and have the resources available to them to have a healthy

Bicha said he hopes to incorporate some of his own ideas
into existing services.

“This is not simply an exercise in moving accounting
codes around," Bicha said. "We're going to be talking to people about what they
expect to be different from the agencies and also talking with people in other
states about efforts for improving the safety of children that can be
replicated in here in Wisconsin.”

Bicha also wants to make a connection at the community level
for services provided by the DCF.

"State government and local government can do a lot for
people, but it also takes the community. We're always looking for people to
open up their hearts and homes for foster care and adoption," Bicha said.

Some of the services included in the new department will be
Wisconsin Works, Wisconsin Shares, Child Support Enforcement, Domestic Abuse,
Foster Care, Adoption and Child Welfare.

The DCF will be established by July 2008, and Bicha will
continue at his current position until then.

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