Kim Brito named new interim director of DHS

Gov. Daniel J. McKee has named Kim Brito the new interim director of the Department of Human Services.

PROVIDENCE – Gov. Daniel J. McKee Friday appointed Kim Brito as the new interim director of the Department of Human Services.

Brito, the current deputy director for policy and operations at the Department of Human Services, will take over the role of Yvette Mendez on Aug. 8.

A Rhode Island College alumna and a licensed independent clinical social worker, Brito first joined state service in 1998 as a social caseworker at the Department of Children, Youth & Families. She then served as administrator of policy and research at DHS for six years, before becoming the associate director of policy and research in 2015.

“Kim has more than 23 years of state service,” the announcement from the governor’s office said. “In her current role, she has been responsible for assisting the Director in ensuring effective operations and service delivery to more than 300,000 people. In addition, she maintains agency policy and oversight, process improvement efforts, staff training and development, and other leadership duties.”

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Brito is the third interim director to take over the role since Courtney E. Hopkins resigned over a year ago. After Hopkin’s resignation, Celia J. Blue, co-founder of Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition, took over the interim position, but she left the department at the beginning of February 2022. Blue was then replaced by Mendez, former chief of staff for the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

Mendez is now returning to the Executive Office of Health and Human Services as acting assistant secretary.

“Under her leadership, DHS has continued to steadily improve the timeliness of SNAP applications, hire positions throughout the agency, secure resources that will help more Rhode Islanders access essential benefits, and establish a governance structure to manage resumption of Medicaid recertification,” read the governor’s statement. “We are grateful that she is bringing her skills back to EOHHS as Acting Assistant Secretary.”

Claudia Chiappa is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Chiappa@PBN.com.

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