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Hermann McCall ’78 will become the exec­utive director for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Ser­vices’ Children’s Ser­vices Agency in late April.

McCall is leaving his position of 14 years as director of the Juvenile Justice Pro­grams, a segment of the CSA, to relieve Steve Yager, who retiring after 30 years as the exec­utive director. The state health department’s director, Nick Lyon, appointed McCall earlier this month.

“Herman’s expertise in child welfare and his com­mitment to meeting the needs of vul­nerable children in Michigan will allow the department to con­tinue the tremendous progress that Michigan has made with its child welfare system under Steve Yager,” Lyon said in a news release.

The CSA oversees all child welfare ser­vices in Michigan, running more than a dozen pro­grams, such as child pro­tective ser­vices.

In the weeks leading up to Yager’s retirement, McCall is working more closely with him.

“Most of this time has been devoted to under­standing the nec­essary com­plex­ities of projects and ini­tia­tives in progress and ensuring the tran­sition is as smooth as pos­sible,” McCall said in an email.

A devel­oping goal of the CSA is to lessen federal over­sight of the agency, and since 2006, there have been sig­nif­icant strides towards this with the guidance of Steve Yager, McCall said. Fully exiting from the federal court’s over­sight is in the near future, as the state of Michigan is working on the Imple­men­tation, Sus­tain­ability, and Exit Plan to ensure it. McCall said this plan acts as a roadmap for the CSA teams in car­rying out their work.

McCall’s expe­rience and love for helping youth grew while studying soci­ology at Hillsdale College, he said. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in coun­seling from Western Michigan Uni­versity and a doc­torate degree in edu­cation from Cal­i­fornia Coast Uni­versity.

At Hillsdale, McCall interned with the county court, taught physical edu­cation in the Hillsdale public school system, and vol­un­teered at the Mary Randall Preschool.

“The biggest takeaway for each of those expe­ri­ences was that even with dra­mat­i­cally dif­ferent life expe­ri­ences that the young people that I had the oppor­tunity to work with, if you approach the expe­rience with a genuine com­mitment to teach, coach, guide, and learn from the expe­rience, you can have the oppor­tunity to have a real pos­itive impact on the lives of others and par­tic­u­larly children,” McCall said.

During McCall’s time with the Juvenile Justice Pro­grams, he and teams of pro­fes­sionals thought­fully developed and imple­mented strategies for improving the lives of justice-involved youth, and McCall said he plans to apply this expe­rience to other youth pro­grams. Some of these points he plans to implement while directing the CSA include using evi­dence-based inter­vention strategies that ulti­mately secure sta­bility in children’s lives.

“Our pri­or­ities include reducing place­ments of youth outside their homes and outside their com­mu­nities,” McCall said. “Whenever pos­sible, those ser­vices should be pro­vided within the home, and when out-of-home ser­vices are nec­essary they should be for the shortest amount of time nec­essary.”