Just before the Senate departed for their summer break they gave approval to Rafael J. Lopez as the new Commissioner for the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF).  Lopez was confirmed on August 5th, after having been formally nominated by President Obama in January 2015. Lopez will fill a position that has been vacant since Bryan Samuels left in August of 2013.

While awaiting his Senate approval, the hearing had been held in April, Lopez was a Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Previous to his White House work he served as the Associate Director for Talent and Leadership Development at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  Prior to his Casey work he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Family League of Baltimore City, Inc., a member of the Baltimore City Mayor’s Cabinet; Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families; Deputy Director of the City and County of San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families; and Senior Deputy for Health and Human Services for Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina among his various positions.

While testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, Mr Lopez emphasized the significance and challenge of substance abuse, mental health and poverty issues as it impacts on some of the most vulnerable families in the country. He also highlighted his concerns regard homeless and runaway youth especially LGBTQ youth..