About Us

Ann Marie AmbroseAnne Marie Ambrose has served as Commissioner for the City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services (DHS) since June, 2008. DHS is the largest child welfare agency in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, serving approximately 100 thousand children and families each year. Commissioner Ambrose brings over 25 years of leadership and experience in the fields of both child welfare and juvenile justice.

A staunch advocate for children and families, Commissioner Ambrose spearheaded a comprehensive overhaul of the City’s child welfare system. Under Commissioner Ambrose’s leadership, DHS has improved child safety, drastically reduced the number of children placement, and increased permanency for children and youth. In order to be a more transparent and accountable agency, at Commissioner Ambrose’s direction, DHS also made significant changes to the monitoring of provider contracts and focused on key outcomes to improve child and family well being. more »
Brian Clapier
Deputy Commissioner
Brian Clapier, M.S.S., is the Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Performance Management and Accountability (PMA) at the Department of Human Services (DHS). In this position he is responsible for data collection, the monitoring and evaluation of programs, continuous quality improvement processes, and the DHS research agenda for child welfare services provided to the children and families of Philadelphia.

In this current position, Mr. Clapier continues to serve as the Chief Implementation Officer for DHS’ Improving Outcomes for Children (IOC) initiative in Philadelphia and is responsible for overseeing and managing the multi-year phased implementation of IOC.

Prior to his current work, Mr. Clapier served as DHS’ Director of Quality Improvement, where he developed a set of cohesive reviews focused on compliance and quality. He has worked for the City of Philadelphia for over 15 years, during which time he served in the Commissioner’s office designing an array of in-home services focused on safety and placement prevention, including an alternative response service to divert families with no active safety threats to prevention services. Mr. Clapier began his career at DHS as an intake worker, and his past experience includes work in the Philadelphia prisons as well as in foster care. In 2007, Mr. Clapier received his Master of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College. Mr. Clapier is a long-time resident of Philadelphia, where he resides with his wife and two daughters
Timene Farlow
Deputy Commissioner

Timene Farlow, Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Juvenile Justice Services began her career with DHS in 1995 as a social worker. Her first job was in the intake unit, conducting investigations of alleged abuse and neglect and then transitioned to Adoptions as a supervisor. Convinced that her true passion could be lived out working primarily with adolescents, she began  working at the Youth Study Center, the City's only secure juvenile detention facility, in 1999.  Later, she left the Youth Study Center to take on the role of Director of Court and Community Services, a position which served to broaden her exposure to the larger  juvenile justice system and which greatly aided in her acquisition of the skills and understanding needed for her current role as the Division's Deputy Commissioner.  

Ms. Farlow is passionate about her work and is a staunch advocate for youth in the juvenile justice system.   She has a special interest in gender-responsive services for females as well as the issue of disproportionate minority contact and confinement.  She firmly believes that the needs of adjudicated youth can best be met through quality, evidence-based programming which looks not only to address the delinquency needs, but the unresolved dependency needs with which many of these youth also present.      

Ms. Farlow is a native Philadelphian who attended LaSalle University for undergraduate studies and received her MSW from Temple University. She has one adult daughter and a teen-age grand-daughter.
Vanessa Garrett Harley, ESQ
Deputy Commissioner

Vanessa Garrett Harley is currently the Deputy Commissioner of the Children and Youth Division at the Department of Human Services.  In this position she is responsible for child welfare services provided to the children and families of Philadelphia in the hotline, intake, ongoing services and adoption divisions of DHS. These services are strategically designed to ensure the safety, permanency and well being of the Department’s clients.

Prior to arriving at DHS, Ms. Garrett Harley served as the Chair of the Social Services Law Group of the City of Philadelphia Law Department where she was responsible for providing legal advice to the City’s social services agencies.  Ms. Garrett Harley supervised the work of both the Child Welfare Unit and the Health and Adult Services Unit.  Ms. Garrett Harley joined the Child Welfare Unit in 2002 and was promoted to Chair in 2007.  Prior to working in the Child Welfare Unit, Ms. Garrett Harley worked in the Major Trials Unit of the Claims section of the Law Department.

Ms. Garrett Harley’s past legal experience also includes working for the federal government, corporate counsel and private practice. 

A 1985 graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. with a dual major in Government (Public Administration) and Sociology, Ms. Garrett Harley received her J.D. in 1991 from Temple University School of Law.  She was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in December 1991 and the United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania in January 1992.  Ms. Garrett Harley is also a 2007 graduate of the Urban League Leadership Forum, a program that identifies and trains minority leaders and establishes a forum for promoting effective leadership in all sectors of society.
Douglas M Robinson
Deputy Commissioner

Douglas M Robinson is the Deputy Commissioner for the Finance Division at the Department of Human Services. In this position he is responsible for the oversight of all agency financial operations including budget, contracts and financial services.

Prior to his current position, Mr Robinson retired from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Children and Families. During his 20+ year tenure Mr Robinson held various positions of management at the Department and Bureau level, including Director of Grants Management and Federal Reporting, Deputy Commissioner of Operations. For the last 13 months of his tenure he served as the Interim Commissioner for the Bureau for Children and Families.

Doug is a 1990 graduate of Fairmont State College in Fairmont West Virginia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration/Accounting and a Minor in Sociology. He also holds a graduate degree in Management from Marshall University in Huntington West Virginia.

Doug has over 20 years’ experience in the funding of child welfare.