N.H. DCYF Taps N.J. Official As New Leader

Sep 19, 2017

A state health official from New Jersey has been tapped to serve as the new leader of New Hampshire’s Division of Children, Youth and Families. 

The Deputy Commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Children and Families, Joseph Ribsam, will take over New Hampshire's DCYF at the end of October. He is slated to join the agency as it grapples with sweeping reform efforts and lawsuits prompted by the deaths of children who were at one time in the state’s care.

Ribsam has been deputy commissioner of New Jersey’s child welfare agency for about three years. Before that, according to a press release, he worked as a family law attorney and a middle school teacher.

New Hampshire's previous DCYF director was dismissed in March, after news reports that the agency bucked its own procedures to close out more than 1,500 abuse and neglect cases over a period of just two days.

A law reforming how cases of child abuse and neglect are handled was signed in June. At that time, an existing commission to study child fatalities was also extended but has not met since May.

NHPR reached out to Ribsam at his official New Jersey email address requesting to talk about his new role but did not receive a response as of press time.

DHHS spokesman Jake Leon declined to connect NHPR with Ribsam at this time, saying, "Joe is still in his current position and his focus needs to be on his current responsibilities to his department and the people of New Jersey." Leon said it would be possible to speak with Ribsam once he begins his official position in New Hampshire.