PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The acting head of Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families is stepping down and the state has launched a national search for a permanent replacement.

Jamia McDonald said Friday she is leaving to pursue private sector opportunities.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo credits her with helping to reorganize and reform the state’s child welfare agency over the past two years.

McDonald joined the Raimondo administration in Jan. 2015 as chief strategy officer for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. She will continue as acting director as a newly formed search committee seeks a replacement.

Legislation stalled last year that would have allowed people without a master’s degree in social work to take the job. The change would have allowed more candidates, including McDonald, to be considered.


This story has been corrected to show that the announcement was Friday, not Thursday.