Dr. Sharlynn E. Bobo, head of the embattled Child and Family Services Agency, has resigned tonight, according to a mayoral press release. She’s being replaced by Dr. Roque Gerald, head of CFSA’s Office of Clinical Practice and a former deputy director of the agency.

About the only surprising thing about this move is that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty didn’t call a press conference to announce it. Then again, that’s not so surprising either, considering the uncomfortable questions that have surrounded the agency’s performance in the wake of the Banita Jacks tragedy, the June 25 death of 6-month-old Isiah Garcia, and this week’s death of a 5-month-old boy. There have been numerous reports this week of massive backlogs among CFSA caseworkers, and Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells grilled Bobo at a hearing Monday, hours after the death of the 5-month old.

“I have a loss of confidence in the leadership of the agency,” he said, as quoted in the Examiner, “but I don’t believe there is a very deep bench at the agency and that there’s not a likely person to step up who’s been identified.” (Fenty’s vote of confidence in Bobo, in the same article: “I would not keep anyone in a cabinet position if I did not think that they were the best person to do the job.”)

Yep, LL is going to say a press release issued at 9:44 p.m. might have been the smart way to handle this one. You can read it after the jump.

Government of the District of Columbia Executive Office of the Mayor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 16, 2008

FENTY NAMES INTERIM CFSA DIRECTOR

WASHINGTON, DC—Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today announced that Dr. Roque Gerald has been named interim director of the D.C. Child and Family Agency (CFSA) after accepting the resignation of the agency’s director Dr. Sharlynn E. Bobo.

“I accepted Dr. Bobo’s resignation today and would like to personally thank her for her dedication to public service and for working to turn our troubled child welfare agency around,” said Mayor Fenty. “The protection of the District’s children is paramount and we will continue the work started by Dr. Bobo.”

Bobo said that recent questions about the agency’s leadership have created a distraction from the important work CFSA is charged to carry out. “It has a been a pleasure to serve the residents of the District of Columbia and an honor to work with so many talented and dedicated social workers and employees at CFSA,” said Dr. Bobo. “It is my sincere hope that the reforms and improvements we worked on together will continue.”

Dr. Roque Gerald will take over as CFSA’s interim director as the city conducts an intensive search for a replacement. Dr. Roque Gerald has served as a CFSA deputy director. In his current position, he leads the Office of Clinical Practice at CFSA, an office designed, developed and implemented under his leadership. The Office of Clinical Practice includes three administrations: Quality Improvement, Family Team Meeting Division (FDGM) and Clinical Support/Health Services. Dr. Gerald implemented FGDM citywide, enhancing the existing infrastructures in the community. This approach has received national recognition and is part of a three-year independent research evaluation by the American Human Association National Center on Family Group Decision Making.

Prior to joining CFSA, he provided training, technical assistance and clinical consultation to private and public child welfare agencies. Contracts included training and technical assistance to Healthy Families-Thriving Community Collaboratives in the District of Columbia, Alexandria Department of Social Services, For Love of Children, a private child placement organization in the District of Columbia, and the Health Families America in Washington County, Maryland. Dr. Gerald has presented nationally and internationally on Family FGDM, strengths-based strategies, and neighborhood-based family support innovations. He received his Doctorate of Clinical Psychology from the Virginia Consortium for Professional Psychology in 1986 and has more than 30 years experience in providing services to children and families.

###