Commissioners Announce New Director at Children, Youth & Families

The York County Commissioners today announced the hiring of Kim James as the new director of the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families.

James comes to York County from the University of Pittsburgh’s Child Welfare Resource Center, where she served as a practice improvement specialist. In that role, she worked with county offices of Children, Youth and Families to improve service delivery and cost effectiveness.

She replaces Deb Chronister, who retired earlier this year. July 1 is James’ first day on the job.

“Kim’s wealth of experience, personality and long-established relationships within York County make her the perfect fit for this position at the Office of Children, Youth and Families,” said Commissioner Doug Hoke. “She brings to the table a keen understanding of the child welfare system that will further strengthen the agency.”

James is a licensed social worker who has approximately 20 years of experience with child welfare and adoption-related agencies. She holds a master’s degree in social work from Temple University and a bachelor’s degree in social work from Bloomsburg University.

“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to serve the community in this position,” James said. “I will use all the skills I’ve honed over my career to build upon the agency’s success.”

James said her first priorities upon taking the job are to develop a strong rapport with the staff and connect with community partners.

She also said she is a strong believer of the agency’s focus on working with families to improve outcomes for children.

“It’s important the community feel comfortable calling our office if they believe a child or family needs help,” she said. “More often than not, we are able to work with a family to address any challenges without the child leaving its care.”

Statistics show a 46 percent drop in the number of kids placed outside of their home since 2006. The overall number of children in placement at the end of 2012 totaled 335, compared to 623 at the end of 2006.

Of children in placement at the end of 2012, approximately 1/3 were living with relatives or friends, reflecting an ongoing push to keep children in comfortable environments that allow them to maintain community connections.

A former York County resident, James currently lives with her husband and two children in Upper Allen Township, Cumberland County.

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