Governor Martin O'Malley Announces New Maryland Department of Juvenile Services Secretary
ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 7, 2011)–Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the appointment of Sam Abed as Maryland’s Secretary of Juvenile Services. This appointment maintains the Governor’s consistent approach to appointing members of his Executive Cabinet who represent a diverse cross-section of talents, skills, and background.
“I am proud to announce Sam as the new secretary for our Department of Juvenile Services,” said Governor O’Malley. “As public servants, our most solemn obligation is to protect the safety of our citizens. And in these challenging times, when we must do more with less and develop new and innovative ways to serve the people of our State, I am grateful that Sam chose to step forward and use his many talents to help us continue to make progress for Maryland’s most vulnerable youth and their families.”
"Only through effectively working together can DJS achieve successful outcomes for Maryland's youth,” said Abed. “I look forward to solidifying relationships with our partners as well as developing a sense of team within the Department.”
The O’Malley-Brown Administration’s strategic goals include the reduction of juvenile homicides and violent crime in Maryland by 25 percent by the end of 2012. As the new DJS secretary, Abed will help lead efforts to partner with local law enforcement as well as other child-serving agencies to improve reductions in violent juvenile crimes and further reduce the juvenile homicide rates in Maryland. He will also concentrate on efforts to increase the number of treatment beds in Maryland so all the youth served by DJS are treated by a competent and professional staff.
“Sam did great work for our administration as Chief Deputy Director for the Department of Juvenile Justice in Virginia and I know he will serve the people of Maryland with the same passion and dedication,” said former Virginia Governor and current DNC Chairman Timothy Kaine. “It’s my pleasure to join Governor O’Malley in congratulating Sam on his new post.”
Abed served at the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice for nearly five years. He comes to Maryland’s Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) with exceptional knowledge and experience, having held various leadership roles while at the Department under then-Governor Timothy Kaine as well as current Governor Bob McDonnell. A graduate of the University of Richmond School of Law, Abed served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Norfolk, Virginia. In August 2002, Abed was appointed by former Governor Mark Warner as Commissioner for the Virginia Commission for National and Community Service.
Over the course of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s first term, statewide juvenile homicides have decreased by 43 percent. In Baltimore City, juvenile homicides and non-fatal shootings reached their lowest levels in 30 years. In the course of one year, juvenile homicides in Maryland dropped 21 percent between 2009 and 2010. In August 2010, federal oversight of the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center ended, and Maryland’s juvenile facilities successfully exited from federal oversight.
The Administration also championed the creation of the Juvenile Violence Prevention Initiative, a statewide tool to identify and appropriately supervise youth who are at high risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violent crime. Through collaboration with the Department of Public Safety and Corrections and local law enforcement, the Department of Juvenile Services helped create the Juvenile Dashboard to allow law enforcement officers to quickly access information on DJS youth by tapping into a wide variety of databases and records. In addition, Operation Safe Kids, a public health-based approach to providing intensive services to high-risk youth in Baltimore City, was created and expanded to include Prince George’s County. Under Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown’s leadership, the Administration has increased the use of evidence-based programs, such as functional family therapy, to place youth within their communities rather than in facilities away from home. Since January 2007, the use of these programs has driven down the number of out-of-home placements for DJS youth by 12 percent.