Today the Office of Children and Families announced the appointment of two key leadership positions: Kimberly Ali as Commissioner for the Department of Human Services (DHS) and Sean Perkins as Chief of Early Childhood Education.
“I am excited that two extraordinary leaders, Ms. Ali and Mr. Perkins, have joined the Office of Children and Families leadership team. Their work to help families safely care for children and ensure that free, quality pre-K programs are well-coordinated and accessible is critical. Through the integrated approach of the Office of Children and Families, I am confident that our work will have a positive impact on our city,” said Cynthia F. Figueroa, Deputy Mayor for the Office of Children and Families.
In her role as DHS Commissioner, Ms. Ali oversees both child welfare and juvenile justice operations, including the child abuse hotline, child abuse prevention, juvenile justice diversion efforts, as well as the City’s juvenile detention center. She leads a department of 1,500 employees and oversees a budget of $770 million.
Ms. Ali says, “We have made tremendous progress at DHS over the last few years, including reducing the number of children in placement by 1,000, ensuring that more children are placed with their families, connecting families to prevention services to safely divert them from DHS, and increasing community-based alternatives to detention. I am excited to build upon this work, and continue to improve the outcomes for children and families across both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.”
Ms. Ali began her tenure with the City in 2000 as a DHS Social Worker. She rose through the ranks of DHS, with leadership positions that included Director of Provider Relations and Evaluation of Programs and Operations Director for Ongoing Services in the Children and Youth Division. Most recently, she was Deputy Commissioner for Child Welfare Operations.
Ms. Ali holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Social Work from Temple University.
Sean Perkins is the Chief of Early Childhood Education. He is responsible for setting the vision and executing the strategic development of a system of Early Childhood Education (ECE) for Philadelphia. He leads a team that ensures there is an ample and accessible supply of high-quality PHLpreK seats, a well-trained and compensated workforce, easy access for parents and providers, and an infrastructure that supports coordination across citywide early childhood systems and funding sources.
“I am excited to lead early childhood education for Philadelphia’s Office of Children and Families. With PHLpreK, Philadelphia has made tremendous strides to expand and improve the quality of care for our city’s youngest learners. We will continue to build on this success as we develop an early childhood education system that is strategic and coordinated across all systems to prepare children and families for elementary school,” said Sean Perkins, Chief of Early Childhood Education for the Office of Children and Families.
Previously, Mr. Perkins was the Executive Director of Citywide Education Initiatives for New Orleans Public Schools (NOLA Public Schools), where he led the city’s efforts on early childhood education, career and post-secondary preparedness, students in court-involved secure care, mental and behavioral health supports, and creating a family and student services center.
Mr. Perkins also spent two years creating and executing the plan for unifying the two school districts in New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.
Mr. Perkins holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Education and Human Development from The George Washington University.