Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Bryan Samuels is the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). Samuels has spent his career formulating service delivery innovations and streamlining operations in large government organizations on behalf of children, youth, and families. His commitment to public service is largely motivated by his own success in overcoming great personal hardship during his eleven and half years of growing up in a residential school for disadvantaged children. This experience helped shape his commitment to serve children who lived in foster care and reinforced his belief that dedicated people and well-designed programs can make a dramatic impact on the lives of at-risk youth. As Chief of Staff for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Mr. Samuels played a leadership role in managing the day-to-day operations of the third largest school system in the nation with 420,000 students, 623 schools, 44,000 employees, and a $5 billion budget. His responsibilities include reviewing all policy changes recommended to the Chicago Board of Education and developing a model to address the impact of exposure to violence on student outcomes. Prior to this role, from 2003 to 2007, Samuels served as the Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the nation’s third largest child welfare agency. While Director, he moved aggressively to implement comprehensive assessments of all children entering care, redesigned transitional and independent living programs to prepare youth for transitioning to adulthood, created a child location unit to track all runaway youth, and introduced evidence-based services to address the impact of trauma and exposure to violence on children in state care. As a result of his efforts, DCFS established the lowest caseload ratios for case managers in the nation; reduced the number of youth “on run” by 40 percent and number of days “on run” by 50 percent; decreased the use of residential treatment or group homes by 20 percent; and eliminated the number of past due child protection investigations by 60 percent. Prior to 2003, Samuels taught at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, while also providing technical assistance to state and local governments to improve human service delivery to vulnerable populations. Samuels holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy Studies and a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from the University of Notre Dame.