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Governor DeWine Nominates Director of Department of Children and Youth


Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today that he is nominating Kara B. Wente to serve as the Director of the new Department of Children and Youth.

“Kara Wente has spent her career advocating for children, and I know she shares my vision of ensuring that all Ohio children have the opportunities they need to live up to their full potential and live their version of the American dream,” said Governor DeWine. “For the first time ever, we will have an entire department whose employees are focused every single day on the health, well-being, and opportunities available to all of Ohio’s children. Together, we will help make Ohio the best state in the nation to start and raise a family.”  

Previously, Wente has served as the Director of the Governor’s Children’s Initiative since January 2023. Wente has been leading the transition efforts for the Department of Children and Youth.  Prior to her appointment, Wente served as the Chief Operating Officer for Future Ready Columbus.

With more than 20 years in dedicated state service, Wente has extensive experience in serving the most vulnerable children and families in Ohio. Wente used data as an accountability tool for systemic change during her time as the Assistant Director of Health and Human Services at the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services and led several large-scale system and policy changes as Deputy Director at the Office of Family Assistance.

Wente holds a Master’s in Education and Allied Professions from the University of Dayton and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The Ohio State University.

The Department of Children and Youth was established in the 2023-2024 operating budget and will focus on the efficient and effective delivery of services to Ohio’s more than 2.5 million children and their families.

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