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O’Malley Announces New Juvenile Services Head

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) —  Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed a former Virginia official on Monday to be the new secretary for the long-troubled Maryland Department of Juvenile Services.

Sam Abed, who was chief deputy director for the Department of Juvenile Justice in Virginia, worked for nearly five years at the Virginia department.

Abed will focus on increasing the number of treatment beds in Maryland while leading efforts to partner with local law enforcement as well as other agencies that focus on children, the O’Malley administration said.

Abed replaces Donald DeVore, who announced in November he would not seek reappointment to the post. DeVore’s tenure was marked by a critical state audit and a variety of unfavorable reports by an independent juvenile justice monitor.

The October audit found that contractual agreements were not always executed by DJS prior to the contract start dates.

The Maryland Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit issued a special report last year criticizing the Cheltenham Youth Facility in Prince George’s County over the killing of a 65-year-old teacher, allegedly by a 13-year-old boy detained there.

The monitor also criticized the department in 2009, saying it hampered an investigation into a violent escape of 14 youths at the Victor Cullen Center in Sabillasville.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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