BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services has appointed its first director of medical services in the agency’s child welfare division.

Dr. Rebecca Hook, a pediatric emergency room physician with experience treating children at Our Lady of the Lake and OLOL Children’s Hospital, was named by DCFS for the position.

“Creating this position and appointing Dr. Hook is part of our comprehensive strategy to improve decision-making as it involves child safety, especially in high-risk cases. I’m pleased to have been able to appoint such a specially-trained and experienced doctor for this important work,” said Terri Ricks, DCFS secretary.

She worked as a pediatric emergency room physician at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System’s Our Lady of the Lake Hospital since 2015 and OLOL Children’s Hospital since 2019, according to a release.

“It was a difficult decision to leave the clinical side of medicine, but I believe this position can help unify the community,” said Hook. “We all have the same goal to keep the children safe and healthy. I hope to bridge the gap between Child Welfare and the medical community in order to better serve the children of Louisiana.”

Hook will be working with caseworkers and staff responding to cases of child abuse and neglect. DCFS said she will also be developing medical standards and healthcare guidelines for children and youth in child welfare.