Today, Santa Clara County Social Services Agency Director Will Lightbourne was named Director of the California Department of Social Services by California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley. Lightbourne will serve in this new post through an interagency agreement between the County of Santa Clara and the State of California.

“Will’s departure will be a huge loss for Santa Clara County,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith.  “But I’m supportive of allowing the State to benefit from Will’s significant leadership abilities in the Social Services arena.”

As the Director of the California Department of Social Services, Lightbourne’s responsibilities will include oversight of the State’s public assistance programs, children’s services, community care licensing, and adult safety-net services. He will serve as an “executive on loan” to the State.

“Our loss is a remarkable gain for our entire state, and each of the counties in California will benefit from Will’s leadership,” said President Dave Cortese, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors and Chair of the Board’s Children, Senior and Families Committee. “We trust that Will’s knowledge, experience and vision will be instrumental in redirecting priorities during challenging times and helping to transform the State’s Social Services system for the better.”

Lightbourne has served as the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency Director since 2000. During that time, Lightbourne has helped the Agency make great strides in modernizing public human services, configuring front-end services in the Department of Family and Children’s Services, and moving the Agency toward implementation of a Centralized Client Services system in its Department of Employment and Benefits Services. This system should be implemented over the next few months.

During Lightbourne’s tenure, Santa Clara County Social Services Agency has made extraordinary progress in reducing racial disproportionately in entries to care and in moving from a shelter-based to a home-based system of care. As a result of Lightbourne’s leadership, the County’s Department of Aging and Adult Services is considered state-of-the-art in adult protection. The In-Home Support Services staff has implemented rapidly changing state regulations, and the Public Guardian and staff have given a new focus to client/family engagement.

“I am honored that Governor Brown and Secretary Dooley have entrusted me with this responsibility,” said Lightbourne. “Ahead of the Administration is a challenging task – balancing the state’s books while maintaining the most effective self-sufficiency, protective care and safety-net services on which at-risk and vulnerable Californians rely.”

Consistent with his leadership in the Social Services area, Lightbourne has recently served as a Board member on the California Budget Project, the First 5 Commission of Santa Clara County, the Santa Clara County Health Authority, the California Child Welfare Council, and the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care.

Prior to serving as Director of the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency, Lightbourne, 61, was Executive Director of the San Francisco City and County Human Services Agency from 1996 to 2000.  From 1990 to 1996, he served as the Director of the Santa Cruz County Human Services Agency.  From 1975 to 1990, Lightbourne held a number of positions with Catholic Charities in San Francisco, including Chief Executive Officer and General Director.