Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family

Governor's Office of Youth, Faith and Family

Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family Director to Leave Position at End of Year

December 1, 2022

Maria Cristina Fuentes, Director of the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family (GOYFF), today announced her intention to leave her position at the end of 2022. Fuentes will go on to serve as Chief of External Affairs at Copa Health starting January 2023.  

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve in Governor Ducey’s administration,” said Fuentes. “This position has allowed me to collaborate with national, state and local partners to improve the lives of our most vulnerable Arizonans and improve the way we support our communities.”

“Director Fuentes’ efforts to lead multi-agency, cross-sector initiatives that strengthen services and service delivery to all Arizonans has been incredible to witness,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. "Her extensive background working with community programs and proven policy expertise was why I appointed her to this position back in 2017. Now in 2022, Maria Cristina’s efforts have proven to be assets in promoting healthier, happier Arizona citizens.”

Under Director Fuentes’ leadership, GOYFF received national and global recognition for efforts related to supporting parents and their children. Fuentes increased federal and private investments to the state by 53% totaling nearly $22 million new dollars. These funds provided for additional community-based and statewide programs to support: substance abuse prevention, human trafficking, intimate partner violence, service and volunteerism, juvenile justice delinquency prevention, and child well-being. During her tenure, Director Fuentes spearheaded efforts towards Arizona becoming a trauma-informed state, igniting state agencies and service providers statewide - and across disciplines - to grow and evolve their services to recognize the impact and effects of trauma on the individuals they serve.

Fuentes also served as Vice-Chair of the Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership (2017-2019). She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Arizona Human Trafficking Council and the Governor’s Council on Child Safety and Family Empowerment (CSFE).

“Maria’s contributions have broadened and increased critical resources and services, increasing support and positively impacting Arizonans in every corner of our state,” said First Lady Angela Ducey. “Doug and I are grateful for her continued service to Arizona in this capacity. I have the utmost faith that she will continue to build on this legacy and move much needed work forward.”

Director Fuentes will continue to serve as the Director of GOYFF until December 30, 2022. Upon her departure, Deputy Director Tonya Hamilton will serve as the agency's Acting Director.

In her new role as Chief of External Affairs, Fuentes will work to advance Copa Health’s mission of providing world-class educational, therapeutic, rehabilitative and social services to children and adults with developmental, physical and behavioral health challenges.

Previous to Fuentes' appointment, she served six years in the Administration of President George W. Bush in the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Justice and The White House. Following her time in the Bush Administration, Fuentes worked at Casey Family Programs, where she furthered the foundation’s mission to safely reduce the number of children in foster care and improve well-being outcomes of children and families.