Brooks Leaving DHS

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Janice Broome Brooks says she's stepping down as head of the state's welfare agency to spend more time with her family. The executive director of the state Department of Human Services announced her resignation Tuesday during a news conference in Jackson. Her last day is Friday.

Brooks says she'll be moving to Washington, D.C., where her husband is a lawyer and a minister. She also has two sons.

Gov. Ronnie Musgrove appointed Brooks in November 2000 to lead the 3,000 employee agency after he fired Bettye Ward Fletcher. Brooks left a job in Washington, D.C., to return to her home state.

DHS oversees food stamps, child support collection and welfare benefits and investigates suspected child abuse and neglect. The agency has been plagued by budget and personnel troubles.

Brooks says her battles with legislators had nothing to do with her decision.

Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Bunky Huggins says the governor should appoint DHS deputy administrator, Thelma Brittain, as interim director. He says lawmakers could then work with her during the general session that starts in January.