Placer County loaning director of Children’s System of Care to state

Published on August 18, 2015

Placer County’s Director of Children’s System of Care, Richard Knecht, will serve on a year-long assignment to the state’s Departments of Social Services and Health Care Services to assist with a special state project. Knecht will serve as the transformation manager, assisting the departments in implementing enhancements to the mental health and foster care systems.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved a contract with DSS Aug. 18, authorizing the loan of a Placer County employee to the state.

Knecht was selected, in part, due to his leadership of Placer County’s successful model of children’s services for the past nine years.

The state project is a result of the settlement of a 2002 class-action federal lawsuit filed on behalf of California foster children.

“My job will not be to implement the settlement agreement,” said Knecht. “My role is to help the two state departments share information, training resources, and quality improvement processes. The departments offer different services, but they serve the same population.”

The settlement requires the appointment of an individual who can work with both state agencies, counties, and their partners, in addition to families, youth and community based organizations.

“This is a great recognition for Placer County and for Richard by his selection, to lead an initiative that’s statewide,” said Jeffrey Brown, Placer County Director of Health and Human Services. “The state has requested Richard’s assistance because of his excellent track record in directing our Children’s System of Care, which is one of the best examples in the state of a truly integrated service model for at-risk children.”

In Knecht’s absence, Dr. Twylla Abrahamson, CSOC Assistant Director, will assume acting director responsibilities. The state will pay Knecht’s salary, benefits and expenses while he is on loan.