JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Social Services has named a replacement for the retiring Director of the Division of Youth Services.
Scott Odum is replacing Phyllis Becker in overseeing the division that has nearly 900 Missouri youth committed to their custody.
“Scott Odum is a stellar leader who has dedicated more than 25 years of his professional career serving the youth the courts commit to the custody of the Division of Youth Services for care and treatment,” said Steve Corsi, Director, Department of Social Services. “Scott’s extensive experience, drive for improvement, and passion for innovation will keep Missouri as the gold standard for juvenile justice programs.”
“I am both humbled and excited by this opportunity,” said Odum. “I am proud of the outcomes the Division of Youth Services has achieved for youth and families over the course of the last 25 years and to have been a part of it. It will be an honor to work with my Division of Youth Services and Department colleagues in a new role. I am committed to carrying forward the great things being done today within DYS and will have a continued focus on opportunities to improve.”
Odum began his career with Division of Youth Services as a Youth Specialist and he has steadily risen through the ranks of DYS. Over the years, Odum has developed an expertise in state government and exceptional administrative skills and for the past four years Odum has served as a Deputy Director overseeing statewide functions including the division’s education department, Medicaid interactions, Dual Jurisdiction, court relations/legal matters, and legislative processes.
The opportunity for Odum to to head the youth division arose with the retirement of Becker.
“I thank Phyllis Becker her for her many years of extraordinary service to the Department of Social Services to help youth find a pathway to success and become productive members of society,” said Corsi. “The Department is proud of her outstanding work in juvenile justice and Missouri’s low youth recidivism rate speaks for itself. Over 72 percent of youth are law-abiding citizens three years after discharge. What an incredible legacy for Phyllis to leave behind and I wish Phyllis all the best in her retirement.”
The Division of Youth Service’s innovative therapeutic youth development approach focuses on prevention and diversion at the front-end of the system. The goal for youth is to become law-abiding and productive Missouri citizens who lead fulfilling lives.
As of December 2018, there were 891 youth committed to custody of the Division of Youth Services by one of 45 Missouri juvenile courts.