Media Release Banner


November 15, 2013

Tim Decker named Director of Missouri Children's Division within the Department of Social Services

Nationally recognized leader with nearly three decades experience to lead agency working to prevent child abuse and neglect

Jefferson City, MO—Tim Decker, director of Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS), has been named director of Children's Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS). Decker will assume his new duties on November 25, 2013.

"Tim has served the Department of Social Services since 1984 and helped the Division of Youth Services become a nationally recognized program that helps troubled young people become law-abiding citizens," said Brian Kinkade, acting director of the Department of Social Services. "Tim is a respected leader for his innovative work and I believe his strong leadership skills, depth of experience, and success in strengthening Missouri families makes him the ideal person to fulfill the position of Children's Division director."

"I look forward to working with our staff, partners, and communities to protect children from abuse and neglect and ensure that those in care are provided quality services and the opportunity for a safe and prosperous future," said Decker.

Decker, a past president of the Council of Juvenile Corrections Administrators, has served as Director of the Division of Youth Services (DYS) since 2007 and led DYS to earn the Harvard Innovations in American Government Award in 2008. He serves as guest lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School and contributed to a teaching case study regularly used in social welfare and public policy classes at Harvard.

In 2012, Decker worked with leaders across various state departments and the court system to establish Missouri's Crossover Youth Initiative focused on preventing youth with traumatic histories of abuse/neglect from becoming involved in juvenile delinquency, as well as improving practices and outcomes for those youth who become involved in juvenile justice.

Decker earned a degree in Social Work and Psychology from Park University in Parkville, Missouri and completed the Institute for Education Leadership Education Policy Fellowship Program in 2007.

"I would like to express our tremendous gratitude to Melody Yancey who has served as acting director for the Children Division for the past few months," said Kinkade. "Melody is an extraordinary and dedicated leader and she has done an outstanding job leading the division and making these transitions for the division easier for everyone."

Phyllis Becker, DYS deputy director, who is responsible for professional development, quality improvement and supervision of the Southwest region, will become interim director of the Division of Youth Services. Becker joined the Department of Social Services in 2007 and has served youth and families in Missouri for more than three decades.


Media Contact

Rebecca Woelfel