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Howze Appointed New DCFS Undersecretary

Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) Secretary Ruth Johnson today announced that Richard "Dickie" Howze will serve as the agency's Undersecretary for the Office of Management and Finance. The Undersecretary post was held previously by Johnson, who was appointed as the DCFS Secretary by Governor Bobby Jindal on June 25.

Howze will be responsible for DCFS' $1 billion budget and the management fiscal services, human resources, information technology and planning, budget and support services. In addition, he will oversee the agency's modernization and reorganization efforts designed to streamline the agency, decrease DCFS' overall footprint and implement new technology and systems to provide DSS clients with more efficient and effective services.

"Dickie brings to this new role more than 32 years of public service in the Information Technology Division," Johnson said. "His experience will be a valuable resource in our efforts to reorganize and streamline our agency and provide more modern access to our services through technology and improved customer service."

As DCFS Undersecretary, Howze will work to develop and implement a statewide customer service call center, web-based enrollment, electronic case records and document imaging systems with the goal of improving customer service and client outcomes while reducing duplication, providing quality assurance and streamlining business processes.

Prior to his appointment, Howze served as the director of DCFS' Division of Information Services. As such, he was responsible for making final recommendations for DCFS' IT budget which includes all major expenditures including mainframe, desktop and network equipment and other technology. He managed DCFS' business and intelligence reporting, quality assurance and disaster recovery and continuity of operations planning for the agency, as well as the user support center, IT security, database administration, and applications, server and technical support.

In his previous role, Howze represented DCFS IT at the executive management level and with federal administrators, which included long-range planning, decision-making and developing standards and administrative processes. He also played a key role in the Emergency Support Function 6 function for DCFS at various levels including support for mass evacuation and deploying all hardware necessary to support Disaster Food Stamp operations.

"Dickie was instrumental in the successful implementation of our online pre-application system for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program which is the first year-round system of its kind the nation." Johnson said. "He also has been instrumental in the implementation of our online application for regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Both systems utilize technology to expand the ways in which Louisianians can access DCFS services and assistance."

Previously, Howze served as IT Deputy Director with responsibilities over IT security, agency-wide help desk, infrastructure and software management and database, IT operations, server and network areas. Prior to that, he served as the IT Technical Support Manager, supervising a team of information technologists responsible for the installation of all mainframe operating systems and software.

Recently, Howze managed the Information Technology aspects of the consolidation of the DCFS to one budget unit, which involved the merger of 18 offices statewide. He is presently implementing the Tracking of Time Services (TOTS) system, which utilizes finger imaging technology for the check-in and check-out process for children receiving day care assistance from the state.
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