Vanessa Garrett Harley to be Deputy Mayor for the Office of Children and Families after transition from Managing Director’s Office & Jessica Shapiro named Acting Deputy Mayor, Office of Children and Families

PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Jim Kenney today announced two key leadership updates. This spring, Vanessa Garrett Harley will be appointed Deputy Mayor for the Office of Children and Families. Her appointment will be effective March 28, 2022 after she transitions from the Managing Director’s Office. Managing Director Tumar Alexander will be taking medical leave effective January 22, 2022. During this transition period, Garrett Harley will serve as Acting Managing Director, and Jessica Shapiro, First Deputy, will serve as Acting Deputy Mayor, Office of Children and Families.

“Vanessa Garrett Harley has dedicated her career to public service, to the safety and wellbeing of all Philadelphians, and to the welfare of our city’s children,” said Mayor Kenney. “She is an outstanding leader and I am confident that her experience and expertise will continue to serve the Managing Director’s office as well as further our work to support children, families, and communities when she becomes Deputy Mayor.”

Vanessa Garrett Harley currently serves as the City’s First Deputy Managing Director, assisting the managing director in overseeing the daily operations of the City of Philadelphia. Prior to her appointment as First Deputy Managing Director, Garrett Harley was the Deputy Managing Director of Criminal Justice and Public Safety.

“I am honored and humbled to have been appointed to fill the role of Acting Managing Director and incoming Deputy Mayor for the Office of Children and Families,” said Vanessa Garrett Harley. “The opportunity to work with the Office of Children and Families allows me to return to an area of work that I have always loved and cared about – working with children, youth and families. I have come full circle in my career in City government, and am excited about utilizing the wealth of experience that I have gained in my other roles to further the goal of ensuring that children, youth and families are safe, have equitable access to services and public spaces, and have quality educational opportunities.”

Garrett Harley is a lifelong Philadelphian, and her career in City government includes 20 years of extensive experience in child welfare, juvenile justice, and social services. A staunch advocate for children and families, she has served as the Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services and Chair of the Social Services Law Group at the Philadelphia Law Department. Garrett Harley is a graduate of Georgetown University and received her J.D. from Temple University School of Law and has more than 30 years of legal experience.

Jessica Shapiro will be Acting Deputy Mayor, Office of Children and Families, succeeding Cynthia Figueroa whose final day with the City was January 7, 2022. Shapiro will return to the role of First Deputy when Garrett Harley becomes Deputy Mayor.

“I am deeply committed to serving the City of Philadelphia’s children, families, and communities,” said Jessica Shapiro. “I’m honored to continue my public service as Acting Deputy Mayor and look forward to continuing to support and improve the programs and services offered by the Office of Children and Families. I also look forward to supporting Vanessa Garrett Harley when she transitions to Deputy Mayor in the coming months.”

Shapiro is a tireless champion for children and families, with 25 years of service to the City of Philadelphia. Shapiro most recently served as First Deputy for the Office of Children and Families, where she helped expand the Office to include a broad range of departments and programs to help the City better coordinate its child and family serving programs.

She has also served as the Acting Commissioner of the Department of Human Services (DHS), First Deputy Commissioner of DHS, and as Chief of Staff for two DHS Commissioners. Shapiro began her career with the City as an Assistant City Solicitor in the Law Department where she represented DHS in Family Court. She was promoted while at the Law Department, ultimately serving as Senior Attorney and assistant to the Chair of the Social Services Law Group, where she worked on policy, legislative, budget and reform issues for DHS.

Shapiro is a graduate of Tufts University and Boston College Law School.

A headshot for Vanessa Garrett Harley is available for download.
A headshot for Jessica Shapiro is available for download.