The Delaware Senate has confirmed the nomination of recently retired Delaware State Police Superintendent Col. Robert Coupe as commissioner of correction and attorney and former education policy advisor Jennifer Ranji as secretary of the State Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.
“I would like to thank the members of the Delaware Senate, including the executive committee, for their confidence in Col. Coupe and Jennifer Ranji,” said Markell. “Because public safety is one of the most important functions of government, Delaware is fortunate Col. Coupe will be leading our Department of Correction. We are also pleased our Children’s Department will gain the leadership of Jennifer Ranji, who carries a deep commitment to making a difference for families and children served by our state.”
Coupe served as Delaware State Police superintendent from July 2009 until December 2012. He had 28 years of service to the state police upon retirement. As superintendent, he commanded 676 Troopers and 270 civilian employees.
“I am confident my professional work and leadership experience with the Delaware State Police will provide a solid foundation as I join the leadership team at the Department of Correction and move the department forward," said Coupe. "I am excited for the opportunity to serve as commissioner and believe I can make a difference for employees and the people we serve."
Ranji served as educational policy advisor in the office of Markell from September 2009 to July 2012. She was the lead staff person on Race to the Top and Early Childhood Race to the Top initiatives and played a leading role in developing the governor’s education policy agenda, working closely with the Department of Education, the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, and other agencies and stakeholders.
Prior, Ranji was in private legal practice, served as deputy legal counsel in the office of Gov. Thomas Carper and as director of legal affairs for Family Court of the State of Delaware. While in private practice, she provided pro bono representation to domestic violence victims through Delaware Volunteer Legal Services and to child abuse victims through the Office of the Child Advocate.
"I have spent a significant amount of time working on behalf of children at risk, representing children in the child welfare system and developing policy level changes," said Ranji. "I believe a combination of on-the-ground experience with cases combined with strong policy work and a compassion for helping at-risk families will make me an effective and strong leader for the Department and I look forward to beginning this work."
The State Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families provides and manages a range of services for children who have experienced abandonment, abuse, adjudication, mental illness, neglect, or substance abuse. Its services include prevention, early intervention, assessment, treatment, permanency, and after care.
The Children’s Department employs approximately 1,200 staff at 31 locations, who serve over 8,000 children on any given day. Among the workforce are 52 family crisis therapists, who work in elementary schools throughout the state. Additionally, the department provides licenses to nearly 2,200 daycare operations, which provide services for more than 49,000 children in Delaware.
Coupe and Ranji were nominated by Markell March 1.