2-14-10 Senate Confirms Two HHS Appointees

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WASHINGTON–This week, the Senate unanimously confirmed Ellen Murray as Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources and Bryan Samuels as Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at HHS.

“Ellen Murray brings over ten years of experience as staff director for the United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a statement. “She has extensive knowledge of the HHS budget, and will be a tremendous asset to our Department. Bryan Samuels has devoted his career to working on behalf of children, youth and families. His distinguished career in public service has been guided by his personal experience growing up in a residential school for disadvantaged children.”

Ellen Murray has served as staff director for the United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies since 1999.  In that capacity, she oversees the annual $150 billion Labor Health and Human Services Appropriations bill. Murray has extensive knowledge of the HHS budget. Prior to her tenure with the Senate, she served in both the budget office and the Office of the General Counsel at HHS.  Previously, Murray served as an economist at the Social Security Administration. She is a graduate of Trinity College in Washington, DC with a degree in Economics and the George Mason University School of Law.

Bryan H. Samuels has spent his career formulating service delivery innovations and streamlining operations in large government organizations on behalf of children, youth and families. As Chief of Staff for Chicago Public Schools, 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, 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% and number of days “on run” by 50%; decreased the use of residential treatment or group homes by 20%; and eliminated the number of past due child protection investigations by 60%. 

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