Leadership

​​The Secretary of the Department of Juvenile Services oversees and manages the functions of the Department of Juvenile Services.

Welcome Message from Sec​retary Abed​

Secretary Abed

Secretar Abed

Sam Abed, Esquire, comes to Maryland's Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) with exceptional knowledge and experience in managing a juvenile justice agency.

Juvenile Justice Experience:

Sam Abed served as Deputy Director of Operations at the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, with direct supervision over the juvenile justice operations, including the supervision of 6 juvenile correctional facilities and 32 court service units statewide.

As Chair of the juvenile focus area committee and member of the interagency leadership team, he oversaw the development of the agency's re-entry strategic plan. As Chief Deputy Director he supervised an agency budget of over $200 million and the development of a faith based mentoring program for incarcerated youth.

Legal Experience and Education:

Prior to his time as the Deputy Director of Operations, Mr. Abed served as Assistant Commonwealth Attorney for the Office of the Sussex County Commonwealth's Attorney as well as the Office of the City of Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney. He also served as Commissioner for the Virginia Commission for National and Community Service.

Abed received a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and completed an internship at the American University in Cairo, Arabic Language Institute. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond School of Law. He is a resident of Baltimore City.

Office of the Secretary

Under the Secretary, there are two Deputy Secretaries: Deputy Secretary of Operations and Deputy Secretary of Support Services. Within the Office of the Secretary are the following: Chief of Staff and the Office of the Inspector General.

Linda McWilliams
Deputy Secretary of Operations

Linda McWilliams

Linda McWilliams serves as the Deputy Secretary for Operations. She is responsible for directing the operations of community-based services for youth and families, including seven community detention centers, thirty two field offices, and the Statewide Violence Prevention Initiative efforts. She also oversees the operation of seven residential treatment facilities and the provision of somatic health care, victim, substance abuse and mental health services.

McWilliams joined the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services in June, 2011. She has dedicated her career to providing services to youth. Mrs. McWilliams holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. She is an active member of the American Correctional Association were she has served as a delegate assembly member for the past seven years.

Visit the Operations Division page for more information.

Lynette Holmes
Deputy Secretary of Support Services

Lynette Holmes

Lynette Holmes is the Deputy Secretary for Support Services which includes Human Resources, Information Technology, Capital Planning & Budget, Systems Reform, Research & Evaluation, Budget & Accounting, Training, and General Services.

Holmes spent more than 20 years working for state government as both a senior research analyst for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and a senior economist for the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. Holmes brings to her position extensive knowledge of juvenile justice reform, having worked with internal and external stakeholders, juvenile justice experts, and respected researchers at the state and national level, including the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She has developed innovative strategies based on relevant evidence-based research and implemented successful reform initiatives, programs, and procedures.

Visit the Support Division page​ for more information.

Joseph Cleary
Chief of Staff

Joseph Cleary

Jay Cleary serves as the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS). In this capacity, he works directly with the Secretary of DJS to implement initiatives, reforms and policies that are designed to improve the lives of youth in Maryland and move the agency forward. Mr.Cleary supports and advises the Secretary on the functions of the agency.

Cleary joined DJS in 2009 to serve as the agency's Director of Communications and was promoted to Chief of Staff in 2012. He earned his Political Science degree from Villanova University in 1998 and graduated cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2002.

Betsy Fox Tolentino
Director of Legislation, Policy and Communications

Betsy Fox Tolentino

Betsy Tolentino serves as the Director of Legislation, Policy and Communications for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services.

A graduate of Southern Oregon University and Widener University School of Law, Tolentino's career has focused extensively on criminal and juvenile justice advocacy and policy development. Tolentino's experience includes representing and advocating for criminal defendants and children in Maryland's foster care and juvenile justice systems before trial courts, the Maryland General Assembly, and other executives, stakeholders and public policymakers. In her current role, Betsy manages the Department of Juvenile Services' intergovernmental relations and assists program staff in developing and monitoring programs to meet policy objectives consistent with Maryland law and national best practices.

Monique Cheatham
Executive Assistant to the Secretary

Monique Cheatham is the Executive Assistant to Secretary Sam Abed. In this capacity, she provides executive-level support and performs all administrative tasks for the daily operation of the Office of the Secretary.

Cheatham has over seventeen years administrative experience, and twenty-seven years of service with the Maryland State Government. She began her tenure with the Department of Juvenile Services in 2013.

Robin Brady-Slifer​
Acting Inspector General

Robin Brady-Slifer monitors all DJS-operated facilities and DJS-licensed programs both in-state and out-of-state as well as DJS's internal operations. The Office of the Inspector General is charged with investigating all incidents that occur in any program with DJS youth. The Inspector General directly supervises the Office of Internal Auditing, Office of Quality Assurance, Investigative Unit, Gang Intelligence and the Office of Child Advocacy.​​​​​