Illinois’ child welfare department has a new director.
Arthur Bishop has been in charge of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, the agency that oversees the state’s prisons for young people.
Now he’ll run the Department of Children and Family Services, which is tasked with protecting children who are wards of the state and working with families who need help with their children.
In a statement, Gov. Pat Quinn touts Bishop’s long career working with families.
“I am confident that he will carry out the mission of the department by making the safety and well-being of children across the state priority number one,” Quinn said.
Bishop worked for DCFS beginning in the 1990s before he became the director of the juvenile prisons in 2010. Quinn said that during Bishop’s time at DJJ, the population of the youth prisons has dropped to below 900. In the years just prior, the youth prison population had been closer to 1,500.
Bishop succeeds Richard Calica, who had resigned from DCFS shortly before he died from an illness in December. Calica’s chief-of-staff, Denise Gonzales, has been the acting director since Calica resigned.
Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold.