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Media Memo: UW-Eau Claire grad heads state's new Department of Children and Families

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Julie Poquette, UW-Eau Claire News Bureau

DATE: July 7, 2008

SUBJECT: UW-Eau Claire grad heads state's new Department of Children and Families

UW-Eau Claire graduate Reggie Bicha is the inaugural secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. The new department, which merges child welfare, child support, child care services and the W-2 program into a single, unified agency, officially launched July 1. It is Wisconsin's first cabinet agency devoted exclusively to helping and protecting kids and families of the state.

Bicha and Gov. Jim Doyle were in Eau Claire this morning to announce the launch of the department during a press conference at the Children's Museum of Eau Claire. Bicha, who previously served as the division administrator of Children and Family Services in the state's Department of Health and Family Services and also served as DHFS deputy secretary, graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1992 with a degree in social work.

Bicha has 15 years of social work experience, 12 of which were in leadership roles, including serving as the Pierce County director of human services. He also served as vice president of the Wisconsin County Human Services Association and chaired the West Central Wisconsin Care Management Collaborative, which is a group of nine counties and three private organizations working to develop a public/private managed care system to expand family care and serve seniors and people with disabilities. Bicha was also appointed by Doyle to the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board in 2003 and was a foster parent from 1995 to 1998.

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