Mayor Vincent Gray today thanked Department of Human Services (DHS) Director David Berns for his hard work on behalf of the District’s most vulnerable residents after Berns notified him that he would be leaving his position to spend more time with his family in Michigan effective June 28, 2014.
Berns was appointed by Mayor Vincent Gray and served District of Columbia residents as the Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS). Berns came to DC from the Casey Family Programs where he served as the executive vice president for Child and Family Services until 2006. He provided strategic direction to the foundation’s nine field offices in Arizona, California, Idaho, Texas and Washington, and its Indian Child Welfare office in Colorado. When he was appointed to DHS Berns stated that he was humbled by the challenge and opportunity to join the team at DHS to continue the work of serve the most vulnerable residents of the District of Columbia.
“David has faced major challenges in his time as DHS director, and he has responded each time with thoughtfulness, expertise, compassion and the ability to execute a plan. The District’s programs for homeless families, TANF recipients and other residents have been vastly improved thanks to his good work, and for that I am very grateful,” Gray said.
Berns served as director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security. In Arizona, he managed a staff of 10,000 employees and a budget of $2.7 billion, leading Arizona's welfare programs, development disabilities services, employment services, child welfare, child support, aging and community services.
Gray cited several major accomplishments at DHS under Berns’ leadership, including:
· The creation and implementation of an integrated service and unified intake model so families could access homeless services and public benefits at the same time and have one case plan;
· A redesign of the District’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that has allowed for work-readiness assessments of all families;
· Securing more than $90 million in federal funding for a state-of-the-art eligibility and case-management information system that will support case-integration efforts, streamlining the process for Medicaid and all DHS services;
Berns received his Master of Arts in Public Administration from Northern Michigan University and his Master in Social Work and bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. Berns was named Social Worker of the Year in 1999 by the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. He also received the Award for Excellence in Public Child Welfare Administration from the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators.