Longtime worker to head Child Protective Services

Published: Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 - 7:20 am

Michelle Callejas, a longtime Sacramento County human services employee and manager, is the new head of the county's embattled Child Protective Services unit.

Callejas is replacing Laura Coulthard, who left CPS this summer as the agency struggled with widespread criticism and deep budget cuts.

Luis Villa served as acting deputy director at CPS after Coulthard took an extended leave in June. She officially left the agency in August. Officials declined to comment on the reasons for her departure.

A string of high-profile deaths in the child welfare system has recently brought the agency under scrutiny. Following investigative stories by The Bee, a county grand jury and private consultant published a scathing report about CPS, including questions about management. Some child advocates, however, said Coulthard made significant changes in an effort to turn the agency around.

Callejas has more than 20 years of experience in the human services department, including some work with CPS, said Ann Edwards, Health and Human Services director. Callejas will begin serving in her new role in early December.

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Read more articles by Cynthia Hubert

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