Donald Brooks, former director of the District's Glenn Dale Hospital, has been named acting superintendent of Forest Haven, the city's institution for the mentally retarded, Department of Human Services officials said yesterday. He will replace Clifford Hubbard.

DHS director James Buford emphasized that Hubbard's removal was not punitive, and said that Brooks, 37, was brought into Forest Haven "because, unlike Mr. Hubbard, Mr. Brooks is a trained hospital administrator."

"We thought that in order to improve the qaulity of care and general operations there, we would like to have someone in a leadership role that had institutional experience," Buford said.

Hubbard, who was named acting superintendent of the Laurel institution in August 1979, is a former head of the Medicaid services division at Forest Haven. He will assist Brooks in the leadership transition, and then might return to his former position, Buford said.

Brooks became director of Glenn Dale Hospital, Washington's facility -- located in Prince George's County -- for the chronically ill and disabled in May 1977. Built in 1937 as a tuberculosis sanitorium, Glenn Dale became obsolete when new methods of diagnosing and treating that disease were developed. In 1959, it became a nursing home, but in September of this year, Buford said, DHS decided to phase out the facility after a study concluded that $8 to $10 million would be required to bring the aging building up to Medicaid standards.

Impressed with Brook's handling of the closing of Glenn Dale, slated for Jan. 1, Buford said Brooks's "skills will be useful in helping to carry out plans to correct the deficiencies at Forest Haven" that threaten the institution's eligibility to receive Medicaid funding.