Rafael López, Commissioner, Administration on Children, Youth and Families; Acting Associate Commissioner, Family and Youth Services Bureau
Nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate, Rafael López is the Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In May 2016, he also assumed the role of Acting Associate Commissioner of the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB).
López is a results-driven leader with experience in helping lead complex organizations in the public and social sectors where he has served in numerous roles at the city, county, and state level focused on improving the lives of children, families, and communities. From 2013-2015, López served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President and with the Domestic Policy Council.
Prior to his service at the White House, López was an Associate Director at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private, national philanthropy devoted to developing a brighter future for millions of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social, and health outcomes. Previously, López served as the President and CEO of The Family League of Baltimore City, Inc., where he was a member of the Baltimore City Mayor’s Cabinet. From 2006-2009, López was appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to serve on his Cabinet as the Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families. López previously served as the Deputy Director of the City and County of San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families and as Senior Deputy for Health and Human Services for Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina. From 1999-2004, López served as the Founding Executive Director of First 5 Santa Cruz County, where he launched the countywide implementation of the California Children and Families First Act-Proposition 10 and led innovative efforts to expand and create programs and services in health, school readiness, and family support, including the creation of one of California’s first comprehensive health coverage programs for all Santa Cruz County children.
In 1999, López became the youngest person in the City’s history to serve on the Watsonville City Council, where he led neighborhood-based efforts to civically engage youth and immigrant families in the development of city services. He has worked closely with community-based organizations as a volunteer, manager, executive, board member, and founder and was sponsored by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to serve as a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Social Innovation at the Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders. López was awarded a 2007-2008 Annie E. Casey Foundation Children and Family National Fellowship.
Born and raised in Watsonville, California, López is an alumnus of Vassar College and the University of California Santa Cruz, where he graduated with honors in American Studies. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he earned a Master in Public Administration and was named a Lucius N. Littauer Fellow. López and his wife, Rosa Ramírez-López, live in Washington, D.C. with their sons Adán Miguel and Mateo Gabriel.