Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman announced today that Todd Landry, director of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Division of Children and Family Services, will leave April 1 for a job opportunity in Texas.

Heineman tapped Landry to head the largest division within DHHS in July 2007. With 2,000 employees and offices across the state, the division is responsible for providing and overseeing child welfare, juvenile justice, economic assistance, and child support enforcement services.

One of Landry's most important accomplishments as director involves accelerating reform of the state's child welfare system. Changes put in place under his watch resulted in safely reducing the number of state wards to 6,506 at the end of 2008, which is the lowest level in five years. In 2008, the division achieved a record 551 adoptions of state wards.

Also last year, child support collections peaked at over $273 million, an all time high for the program designed to help children obtain financial support from both parents and ending or preventing reliance on welfare.

In September 2008, the agency implemented ACCESSNebraska, which has allowed thousands of Nebraskans to apply for public assistance programs online rather than traveling to a DHHS office.

"Todd has been an outstanding asset to the department," Gov. Heineman said. "Through his vision, the division has implemented new strategies to improve services for Nebraskans. The initiatives he's put in place are working and will continue. While the reforms he has led have helped this division provide better service to the children and families of our state, he has also provided a strategic vision that will help this division and the department continue moving forward. I'm sorry to see him go."

He will become the executive director of Lena Pope Home, an organization providing services to children and families in Fort Worth, Texas.