LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Department of Human Services Director Cindy Gillespie said Friday that Mischa Martin, who has served as interim director of the agency’s Division of Children and Family Services for the past three months, will become the division’s permanent director.

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Department of Human Services Director Cindy Gillespie said Friday that Mischa Martin, who has served as interim director of the agency’s Division of Children and Family Services for the past three months, will become the division’s permanent director.


An Arkansas native, Martin has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a law degree and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She began working at DHS as a child welfare and adult protective services attorney in 2008, became assistant deputy counsel in 2013 and was promoted in 2014 to an attorney supervisor in DHS’ Office of Chief Counsel.


She replaces Cecile Blucker, who resigned earlier this year.


"Mischa has been a tremendous asset and steadying force within the division in the midst of significant changes in the last few months," Gillespie said in a statement. "She has strong relationships with many people in the child welfare system, a passion for working with our most vulnerable children and a willingness to think outside the box to find solutions to big issues plaguing the system."


DCFS investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect; oversees the foster care system, including adoptions of children in foster care; and works to prevent abuse through outreach and education campaigns.


"I’m honored to take this position because it allows me to come to work every day and protect children," Martin said. "I look forward to working with judges, foster parents, non-profit partners and the many other people who help us do our job of keeping kids safe and providing them with stable, loving homes."