The director of a state agency tasked with administering numerous social services programs like food stamps, employment benefits and child care plans to step down from his position at the end of the month.

Pankaj Bhanot, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services, is leaving his position due to “health and family reasons” effective Aug. 31, Gov. David Ige’s office said in a press release.

“Pankaj’s commitment to our community and his passion for providing a voice for those who need help, benefited countless people across our state,” Ige said in the release.

Bhanot has been the DHS director since 2016.

Cathy Betts will take over as head of DHS come Sept. 1, according to the press release.

Betts is the former executive director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women and is also a former deputy attorney general.

Something to consider...

Civil Beat is a small, independent newsroom that provides free content with no paywall. That means readership growth alone can’t sustain our journalism.

The truth is that less than 2% of our monthly readers are financial supporters. To remain a viable business model for local news, we need a higher percentage of readers-turned-donors.

Will you consider making a tax-deductible gift today?

About the Author