OCS Leadership Biography

Jolleen J. George is the Deputy Director in the Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF). As Deputy Director, she provides oversight in the areas of budget, human resources, and procurement. Ms. George’s primary responsibility is to strengthen the administrative and management support provided to each of the OCS’s four Divisions and six programs. She is also serving as the Acting Director of Division of Social Services.

From 2017 – 2018, she served as the Acting Director of OCS where she was responsible for the oversight of OCS programs, totaling approximately $1.58 billion in grant funds. Ms. George’s previous OCS portfolio has included the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), where she served as the CSBG Program Specialist for states and Tribes in Regions I and VIII, the restructuring of CSBG Training and Technical Assistance programs, and the Social Services Block Grant. Ms. George has also served as the Program Manager for the Assets for Independence (AFI) program, where she oversaw AFI program operations, including grantee training and technical assistance and monitoring site visits. Ms. George began her federal service in 2005 through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).

Prior to joining ACF, Ms. George 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. She is experienced in foster care, adoption, criminal justice, and domestic and international community development. Ms. George was also a Licensed Behavior Foster Parent for the State of Missouri for four years. Ms. George completed her Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the University of Chicago, Harris Graduate School of Public Policy and her Master of Social Work (MSW) from Saint Louis University, School of Social Service. She has undergraduate degrees in social work and sociology from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Yolanda J. Butler is a Senior Advisor in the Office of Community Services. Prior to this assignment, and since January 2017, Dr. Butler served as the Director in the Division of Social Services (DSS) where she led the administration of the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) program and related activities including the SSBG Consolidated Block Grant, and the administration and closeout of the Supplemental SSBG Superstorm Sandy resources. As a Senior Advisor in the OCS, Office of the Director, Dr. Butler is responsible for special projects related to and that support initiatives as identified by the Department, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Acting OCS Director. In this role, she is responsible for executing projects that require research design and methodology; data collection; project development; and collaboration and coordination with ACF and HHS offices as well as other stakeholders. Dr. Butler also consults with OCS leadership on other OCS program-specific matters as needed. Dr. Butler served as Deputy Director of the Office of Community Services for over 10 years; and from 2008 – 2011 she also served as the Acting Director of OCS. Dr. Butler has been an executive manager and advisor for nine block grant and discretionary 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. Dr. Butler received the doctorate in Political Science (concentrating in American Government and Public Administration) from Howard  University in 2006 and was a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF).

Portrait picture of Seth HassettSeth Hassett is a senior advisor in the Office of Community Services. He oversees high priority projects including development of new initiatives and performance management efforts. From 1998 to 2019, he served as the Director of the Division of Community Assistance, where he oversaw program management for the Community Services Block Grant, the Social Services Block Grant, and special initiatives such as American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and disaster supplemental awards. Prior to coming to OCS, he served in a variety of roles at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) including service as Chief of the Emergency Mental Health and Traumatic Stress Services Branch in the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) and as Director of the Office of Program Planning and Coordination for CMHS. Mr. Hassett completed his master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California at Berkeley in 1993. He has an undergraduate degree in psychology and history from Guilford College. He began Federal service in 1993 as a Presidential Management Intern. He recently completed the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership for a Democratic Society executive development program.

Division of Community

Charisse Johnson, Director of the Division of Community AssistanceCharisse Johnson is the Director of the Division of Community Assistance, which administers the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). Ms. Johnson’s career in human services spans over 30 years in a wide range of roles and leadership positions. All of Ms. Johnson’s roles have required her to act as a change leader. Ms. Johnson’s work in the Administration for Children and Families began in 2010 as a Program Specialist in the Children’s Bureau within the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect. In 2012, Ms. Johnson became the Branch Chief for the Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Discretionary Grant Program in the Office of Family Assistance. Since 2018, Ms. Johnson served as the Director of the Division of Community Strengthening Grants in the Office of Grants Management.

Prior to becoming a federal employee, Ms. Johnson worked in North Carolina’s child welfare system. From 2007 to 2010, Charisse served as the Section Chief for North Carolina’s Child Welfare System, and in that capacity provided primary leadership and oversight for the state’s child welfare system. Ms. Johnson also has experience in the non-profit sector, and has served on a number of state and national boards and advisory groups. As the Deputy Director of Wayne Action Group for Economic Solvency (WAGES), a Community Action Agency in North Carolina, Ms. Johnson had oversight for Head Start, Early Head Start, CSBG, child care services, and a home visiting program. Ms. Johnson earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Ms. Johnson has two adult children and two grandchildren.

Division of Community Discretionary and Demonstration Programs

Lynda Perez is the Director of the Division of Community Discretionary and Demonstration Programs (DCDDP) which administers three discretionary grant programs: Community Economic Development (CED) program, Rural Community Development (RCD) program, and Assets for Independence (AFI) program. Ms. Perez has extensive experience in program operations, grants management, and procurement. She has been with OCS in her current position since 2006. Ms. 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 social services.

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.

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