Chafee picks new leader for child welfare agency

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has picked an educator and child development expert to lead the state’s Department of Children, Youth  Families.

Chafee announced Wednesday that he has chosen Janice DeFrances to be the department’s new director. DeFrances is president of Harmony Hill School, Inc., a Rhode Island school for special-needs students. She is a former school principal and has taught child and adolescent development at the University of Rhode Island and Providence College.

Chafee, an independent, says DeFrances’ background shows a dedication to working to better the lives of children. DCYF manages the state’s programs to help vulnerable children.

The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

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