Ex-lawmaker out after three months with child welfare services
JEFFERSON CITY – A former state lawmaker who took over the division that oversees child welfare services in Missouri has left the post after just three months.
David Wood, a Republican from Versailles, told the Post-Dispatch Monday that he is no longer the director of the Division of Children's Services, which is part of the Department of Social Services.
"I am no longer an employee of the children's division," Wood said.
He provided no details of the split, but said he did sign a resignation letter. He was earning an estimated $111,000 annually.
DSS spokeswoman Rebecca Woelfel said Joanie Rogers is now serving as interim director. A spokeswoman for Gov. Mike Parson provided no details. "We don't comment on personnel issues," Kelli Jones said.
The division oversees child abuse and neglect issues, child care licensing, adoption and foster care for children in the state. During the pandemic, there has been a sharp drop in the number of calls to the state's child abuse hotline, triggering concern that with children at home, teachers and other mandated reporters are not seeing evidence of abuse.
Wood took over in mid-June, resigning his seat in the House. He was term limited and could not run for re-election in November. Wood is a former teacher and focused on social services in his role as a member of the House Budget Committee. At the time, he said he hoped to bring stability to a division that had seen five directors in the past seven years.
Wood said he regrets the circumstances of his departure.
"I love the children's division. They have a real tough job. I had hoped to spend more time there," Wood said.