When former Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan took the job as head of Michigan's Department of Human Services in 2011, she made it clear she would only serve for four years. Her time is up and she's stepping down Jan. 1.
DHS is responsible for serving some of Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens. The agency is in charge of foster care, food assistance for Michigan’s hungry, welfare benefits, and child care licensing, among other things.
Director Corrigan has been widely credited for making strides on improving the child welfare system during her tenure. That system is still under federal court oversight assigned in 2008, but the state has asked a judge to re-examine that status.
Despite the four-year notice given by Corrigan, Gov. Rick Snyder has not yet found a permanent replacement. Instead, Nick Lyon will serve as interim director. He'll now have two jobs; since September, he's been the head of the Michigan Department of Community Health.
Whoever permanently replaces Corrigan will have a big job ahead of them. Many DHS programs serve the state's poorest residents. The state poverty rate has remained stuck at about 20 % for the last few years.