COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Governor DeWine made an announcement for what he’s calling a “historic opportunity to put a focus on children.’

He introduced Monday Kara Wente as the executive officer of the new Department of Children and Youth. This new organization will streamline all services for children and their families in Ohio that are currently scattered through multiple agencies such as The health department, disabilities, department of development, and health and addiction services and department of education.

“She is now pulling that portion of each one of those that has to do with children into this new organization,” DeWine said.

Previously, Wente has served as the Director of the Governor’s Children’s Initiative since January 2023. Wente has been leading the transition efforts for the Department of Children and Youth.  Prior to her appointment, Wente served as the Chief Operating Officer for Future Ready Columbus.

Dewine also appointed Alisha Nelson as the new executive director of One Ohio. She’ll put together a team to tackle drug addiction, especially the opioid epidemic. That team will decide how state money is spent at the local level.

Patty Coller contributed to this report.