Jeannie Chaffin, Director of the Office of Community Services

Jeannie Chaffin serves as the Director of the Office of Community Services, within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ms. Chaffin brings local, state and national level experience in anti-poverty efforts to her appointment at ACF.  Prior to joining ACF, Ms. Chaffin served as the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Senior Program and Policy Specialist at the National Association for State Community Services Programs where her responsibilities included policy development and technical assistance to State CSBG Administrators.  Ms. Chaffin also coordinated with existing partners and created new relationships with key national organizations, members of Congress, and the Administration that furthered the purposes of CSBG at the state and local levels.

Ms. Chaffin has worked in the CSBG Network for over twenty years, at both a State CSBG office and a local Community Action Agency.  As Missouri’s State CSBG and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program manager, Ms. Chaffin was responsible for contract management, monitoring, Federal and State reporting, including Results Oriented Management and Accountability, budget development, training, and creating new initiatives and approaches to reduce poverty. 

Ms. Chaffin is a graduate of Drury University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology and a Certified Community Action Professional.

 Picture of Yolanda ButlerDr. Yolanda J. Butler has served as Deputy Director of the Office of Community Services since April 2006.  She served as both Acting Director and Deputy Director of OCS from 2008 to 2011.  In her dual role, Dr. Butler has been an executive manager and advisor for nine block grant and discretionary community and social services grant programs (including one Presidential initiative program) that totaled about $8 billion. Prior to her positions in OCS, Dr. Butler served as a senior advisor on legislative, regulatory and budget policy in the Office of Legislative Affairs and Budget where she worked on key social services and community programs. Butler received the doctorate in Political Science (concentrating in American Government and Public Administration) from Howard University in 2006.

J. Janelle George is the Director of Management Services in the Office of Community Services. Ms. George joined ACF in 2005 through the Department’s Emerging Leaders Program. In nine years with OCS, her portfolio has included the Social Services Block Grant, Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), the restructuring of CSBG Training and Technical Assistance programs, and most recently the Assets for Independence (AFI) Program.  As the Director of Management Services, Ms. George will provide oversight in the areas of budget, human resources and procurement. Her primary responsibility will be to strengthen the administrative and management support provided to each of the OCS’s four Divisions and six programs.

Prior to ACF, Janelle worked in foster care and adoption and served as an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at Saint Louis University, School of Social Service, and Washington University - St. Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work.  Ms. George is a Social Worker with experience in foster care, adoption, criminal justice, and domestic and international community development.  She was also a Licensed Behavior Foster Parent for the State of Missouri for four years.

Ms. George completed her master’s degrees in  public policy and social work from the University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy and from Saint Louis University, respectively, and undergraduate degrees in social work and sociology from North Carolina State University.

Division of Energy Assistance

Lauren Christopher is the Director of the Division of Energy Assistance which administers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Leveraging Incentive Program and the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge Program (REACH) at the federal level.  Previously, she served as the Energy Program Operations Branch Chief in the Division of Energy Assistance for three years starting in 2010. In that capacity, she oversaw the review of grantees’ annual LIHEAP Plans for funding, investigations into consumer complaints, the provision of training and technical assistance to grantees, and grantee compliance reviews.  

Ms. Christopher has a public service career spanning more than 10 years with positions at both the federal and local government levels. She served as a LIHEAP program analyst for performance measurement and policy activities. She also has prior experience with several other federal programs, including the Child Support Enforcement Program and the U.S.-Mexico Border Program, which is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ms. Christopher is an attorney, licensed in Maryland. She received her Juris Doctor from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, and her Master of Public Policy and Bachelor of Arts in political science from American University in Washington, D.C.

Division of Community Assistance 

Seth Hassett is the Director of the Division of Community Assistance (DCA) within the Office of Community Services (OCS). Major programs within the division include the Community Services Block Grant and the Social Services Block Grant.  In addition to coordinating large block grant programs, DSA supports specialized technical assistance and exemplary practice programs focused on areas such as benefits enrollment coordination, performance management, and leadership development for community services providers. Hassett is a social worker with experience in health and human service program administration, policy and budget, as well as community planning and services delivery.

Division of Community Discretionary and Demonstration Programs

Lynda Perez was appointed director of the Division of Community Discretionary Programs in December 2006 and has been the acting director of the Division of Community Demonstration Programs since May 2010. The two divisions run five programs: the Community Economic Development program, the Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individual program, the Rural Community Development program, the Assets for Independence program, and the Strengthening Communities Fund program, totaling about $48.6 million in appropriations for FY 2011. She has extensive experience in grants management, procurement and operations. Perez has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago and has earned a reputation for being a compassionate advocate for low-income people and services.

Rafael J. Elizalde, is the program manager for the Community Economic Development Program (CED); the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), the Job Opportunities for Low Income Individuals (JOLI) and the Rural Community Development Program (RCD) since September 2013.  Previously, he was the program manager for the Compassion Capital Fund program (CCF) and the Strengthening Communities Fund (SCF) programs.  Prior to coming to HHS, Mr. Elizalde served as executive director of a faith-based community development non-profit organization helping multi-cultural, socioeconomically diverse and incarcerated, refugee populations in the mid-Atlantic Region.  Mr. Elizalde was also a division manager for a Northern Virginia Public Library System and a former program manager, policy analyst, budget officer and ethics compliance official for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Mr. Elizalde has a broad background, training and experience in the private and public sectors in program operations, administration, policy analysis and financial accountability, focusing on working with economically distressed and low income populations.  Mr. Elizalde is a U.S. Army veteran, a licensed teacher, certified training instructor, co-mediator, graduate of the American University’s Key Executive Leadership Program, and holds a master’s of public administration from the University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Administration and a bachelor’s in Education, Business, from the University of the State of New York.

Gretchen Lehman is the Policy and Partnerships Branch Chief for the Assets for Independence (AFI) program in the Office of Community Services. Prior to joining AFI, Ms. Lehman was a social science analyst in HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) for six years, covering a research and policy portfolio focused on asset building, financial education, and place-based initiatives. Ms. Lehman came to HHS as a Presidential Management Fellow after earning a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Social and Economic Development from Washington University in St. Louis. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal and completed her undergraduate degree at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.

Last Reviewed: October 5, 2016