About Us
About the Commissioner: Anne Marie Ambrose

Anne 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.

Anne 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.
A key component of the reform effort under Commissioner Ambrose’s leadership has been the development and implementation of Improving Outcomes for Children (IOC), a ground-breaking service delivery model that is community-based, culturally competent and family centered. IOC represents a significant shift from a dual case management system to a single case management system in which the voice of the child and family is the primary focus.

In June of 2013, DHS received international recognition when the United Nations presented it with the 2013 United Nations Public Service Award, Second Place.This award, given to an applicant in the European and North American region, is for improving the delivery of public services. In 2013, more than 600 organizations from 82 countries submitted applications for the prestigious award.DHS was the only organization from North America to be selected.

Commissioner Ambrose has also received national recognition for her outstanding leadership and vision in the field of child welfare.In 2011 Ambrose was the recipient of Casey Family Program’s Excellence in Leadership Award for her leadership in improving outcomes for children and families in Philadelphia, her successful community and government collaborations, and her national vision and leadership with regards to improving services to vulnerable children and families.

A 1987 graduate of the Emory University School of Law, Ambrose began her career--and her advocacy efforts on behalf of at-risk youth--as an attorney for the Defender Association of Philadelphia. From there she served as DHS Deputy Commissioner for Juvenile Justice Services from 2001 to 2005. During her tenure as Deputy Commissioner, she developed and led initiatives to reform and improve Philadelphia’s juvenile justice system.She tirelessly promoted gender-specific services for girls entering the system and reduced chronic overcrowding at the City’s Detention Center.

From 2005 to 2008, Ms. Ambrose served as the Bureau Director for Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare services for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.In this position, she was responsible for the monitoring of the county child welfare agencies and the Commonwealth’s secure placement system for children adjudicated delinquent.In 2007, she provided critical testimony before the United States House and Senate in support of the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.

Commissioner Ambrose is a gubernatorial appointee to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Committee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and is a member of Georgetown University’s Juvenile Justice Leadership Network. In December 2012 she was appointed by Mayor Michael Nutter as co-chair of Philadelphia’s Violence Prevention Collaborative. The collaborative is a City wide committee dedicating to developing a strategic and comprehensive approach to reducing youth violence.