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Posted at 11:37 AM ET, 12/15/2010

Hildum steps down as D.C. juvenile justice chief

By Henri Cauvin

Robert Hildum, the interim head of the District's juvenile justice agency, who was installed in a shakeup over the summer, is stepping aside, he announced Wednesday morning.

In an e-mail to the staff of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, Hildum, said he was returning to the D.C. attorney general's office, where he was the city's chief juvenile prosecutor before being tapped in July to head DYRS. Hildum had hoped to be named permanent director under the new mayoral administration. But last week, according to a source, he received a letter inviting him to apply for the permanent job -- a sign that he was unlikely to be Gray's choice to lead the agency, which has been wracked by turmoil over the past year.

As a prosecutor with little experience running a juvenile justice system, Hildum faced significant opposition from advocates who saw him as a threat to efforts over the past several years to reform the District's troubled long-troubled juvenile justice agency.

But Hildum had supporters as well, who said he had brought a new focus to the agency, and in particular to the dearth of community services for juvenile offenders.

In his e-mail to the staff, Hildum acknowledged the difficulties of the last year. "We all know how difficult a year this has been for the agency and its staff. The challenges were stress-filled as we had to manage through several tragic cases involving our youth, and now we face another leadership transition. Throughout it all, I've learned a lot from you and have appreciated your willingness to continue to perform your job at a high level -- yet under difficult circumstances."

By Henri Cauvin  | December 15, 2010; 11:37 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, D.C. Employees, Vincent C. Gray  
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