About Us

Who We Are

As an agency committed to access and achievement, the vision for the Rhode Island Department of Human Services (DHS) is that all Rhode Islanders have the opportunity to thrive at home, work and in the community. 

A close up photo of a mother holding hands with her sleeping baby.

DHS works hand-in-hand with community partners and resources throughout our great State to deliver critical benefits, supports and services to more than 300,000 families, adults, children, older adults, individuals with disabilities and veterans every year. We are part of the solution to end poverty and food insecurity and we make a lasting, positive impact on the State’s health and future.

More specifically, DHS strives to guarantee:

  • Families are strong, productive, healthy, and independent.
  • Adults are healthy and reach their maximum potential.
  • Children are safe, healthy, ready to learn and reach their full potential.
  • Child Care providers deliver high quality education services.
  • Older Adults and Seniors and individuals with disabilities receive all necessary services to enhance their quality of life.
  • Veterans are cared for and honored.

DHS believes in continuous improvement. We have guiding principles and a strategic plan with strategies to help us operate as efficiently as possible and always support the whole family.  

Learn more about the Department’s progress with our year end reflections. We also have our 2021 Legislative Priorities that you can find below.  

A picture of Celia Blue, the interim director of DHS as of May 14, 2021.

Leadership

Governor Dan McKee announced on May 14, 2021 that Celia J. Blue will serve as interim director of DHS as his administration interviews candidates to serve the role in a permanent capacity. 

Interim Director Blue served as a former chief of staff and Deputy Director at DHS for over four years under former Directors Eric Beane and Courtney E. Hawkins when they led the Department. Blue was also DHS’ Chief Administrative Officer and the executive lead for human resources/personnel, information technology systems and support, performance analytics and continuous improvement as well as civil rights, diversity, equity and inclusion.  

She is the former Registrar/CEO of Motor Vehicles for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is a seasoned executive leader with over 25 years of leadership experience in the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Prior to joining DHS, Blue was the Chief of Staff for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT). While at RIDOT, her focus was rebuilding RIDOT. She led the largest reorganization in its history and transformed it into a highly efficient and effective state agency.

In 2015, Celia worked with 12 women of color from across Massachusetts and led the development and public launch of the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition (MAWOCC) Inc., a volunteer-led organization. In her current role as President and CEO, she oversees the day-to-day operation, champions the organization and advocates its mission. In addition, Blue is a leader of Black Families Together in Worcester.

Prior to her roles in Rhode Island, Celia spent nine years in the transportation industry in Massachusetts and nationally gaining experience in multiple modes; aeronautics, rail and transit, highway and the registry of motor vehicles. First appointed as a commissioner for the former Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission, she was later appointed as Assistant Secretary for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and then promoted to the position of Registrar/CEO of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. 

Blue is the first African American in Massachusetts’ history to serve as the Registrar for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As Registrar, she managed operating and capital budgets totaling $280 million and oversaw approximately 800 employees in 31 locations. 

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Worcester State University and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Anna Maria College. She has received awards for her leadership and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and was recently named in the Power 50, Class of 2021 by Worcester Business Journal.

Blue sits on the boards of a number of civic, community organizations in Central and Eastern Massachusetts. She is the President & CEO, Visionary and Founding member of MAWOCC. She is the Chair of the Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School District Board of Trustees, Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, Finance and Education Committee member and she is a board member of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau Board. She is also a board member of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy Advisory Board, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials Advisory Board, Boston Chapter. In addition, Blue is a Corporator for Girls Inc. and the YMCA of Central MA.

RI Department of Human Services

Executive Office
Louis Pasteur Building
25 Howard Avenue
Cranston, Rhode Island 02920
Phone: 401-462-2121