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Two key administrators in the Nebraska state Child Welfare division have resigned on the first day that new Children and Family Services Director Matt Wallen assumed his duties. 

Spokesman Russ Reno said Vicki Maca, protection and safety deputy director for the Health and Human Services Department's division of children and family services, resigned Monday and gave two weeks notice, but left Tuesday, according to an email from Wallen to stakeholders and other people in child welfare. Lindy Bryceson, field operations administrator, left immediately on Monday after resigning. 

Doug Kreifels, division financial officer, will serve as interim Southeast Area child welfare administrator, according to Wallen's email. 

Lynn Ayers, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center, said Sherrie Spilde, the former Southeast Service Area administrator, left a couple of weeks ago.  

Ayers said it appears the division is taking a new direction and was looking for new leadership. 

"Those of us that work in the child welfare field (view it as) years of experience that just went out the door, and we're just concerned that the agency can stabilize and move forward," she said. 

Wallen replaced Doug Weinberg as division director, effective Friday. Weinberg resigned a month ago and will return to his home state of Indiana, Gov. Pete Ricketts said in announcing his departure. 

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Wallen was chief of staff to the department's CEO Courtney Phillips beginning in 2015. In that role, he implemented HHS' business plan and led efforts to stabilize the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney.

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Before coming to the department, he worked for U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse and the late Rep. Steven LaTourette of Ohio. 

Maca has worked with the department in several capacities since May 2005, Reno said. She was appointed administrator for the community-based services section is 2008. Before joining HHS, she was a protection and safety administrator at Project Harmony in Omaha. 

Bryceson has worked for the department since 1982, and was field operations administrator since 1984. 

Reno said the division will begin a search for their replacements. 

Round 2 of a Child and Family Services review by the federal government was conducted in 2008, and Round 3 was done this year in June, said Julie Rogers, inspector general for child welfare. It looks at data over three years. Rogers did not know the results of the latest review, or if it had anything to do with Weinberg's, Maca's or Bryceson's departures.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7228 or jyoung@journalstar.com

On Twitter @LJSLegislature.

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