Ruth Johnson was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal as Secretary for the Department of Children and Family Services in late June 2010. Prior to Jindal’s appointment, she served as the Department’s Undersecretary for the Office of Management and Finance, a position she had held since October 2008. In that role, Johnson oversaw DSS’ $1 billion budget and was responsible for the management of fiscal services, human resources, information technology and planning, budget and support services. In addition, Johnson participated in the development of long and short-range strategic planning for DSS and managed special projects as assigned by the Secretary.
Johnson led DSS’ reorganization and modernization efforts designed to streamline the agency, decrease DSS’ overall footprint and implement new technology and systems to provide DSS clients with more efficient and effective services. Johnson oversaw initiatives including the development and implementation of a statewide customer service call center, web-based enrollment, electronic case records and document imaging systems with the goal of improving customer service and client outcomes while reducing duplication, providing quality assurance and streamlining business processes.
Johnson was instrumental in developing the streamlining recommendations that DSS presented to the Governor’s Commission on Streamlining Louisiana Government. Johnson’s recommendations identified more than $32 million in cost savings for DSS.
Prior to her appointment at DSS Undersecretary, Johnson served as the Deputy Undersecretary of the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) from 2005 to 2008. As Deputy Undersecretary, she was responsible for a budget of $186 million. Johnson directed accounting, procurement and financial management policies and procedures and developed a funding application and review process for grant awards.
Johnson also served as OJJ’s Account Administrator where she created the Office of Management and Finance and assisted in the development of the Human Resources Department as a result of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2003, which separated juvenile corrections from adult corrections. She also implemented a system that improved the accuracy of budget projections and corrected calculations of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program matching funds.
From 2002 to 2005, Johnson served as an accountant manager at the Department of Corrections where she participated in the development of an audit, payment and approval process for the local housing of state inmates.
Prior to joining the Department of Corrections, Johnson worked in the Office of Statewide Reporting and Accounting where she revised and simplified accounting close procedures.
Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.