JENNIFER VELEZ, ESQ.
Jennifer Velez was confirmed as Commissioner of the NJ Department of Human Services in 2007; re-nominated by Governor Chris Christie and re-confirmed in March 2010. She served as one of the Department's Deputy Commissioners from January 2006 until her nomination.
New Jersey Department of Human Services
DHS has the largest budget in state government, with over 15,000 employees - approximately 75-percent of them serving as direct care workers in the state-run developmental centers and psychiatric hospitals. About one in six New Jersey residents is impacted by the work of DHS.
Commissioner Velez works in partnership with the Administration on initiatives including: Medicaid reform; advancing supported placement of individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness in the community; creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities; and sustaining the safety-net of services made available for the state's older population, and individuals and families with low income.
Velez was named First Assistant Child Advocate in the Office of the Child Advocate when it was created in September 2003. Previous to that role, she served as Senior Associate Counsel and Assembly Liaison in the Office of Governor's Counsel for three Administrations.
Before entering public service, Velez was in private practice at the law firm of Pitney, Hardin, Kipp & Szuch in Florham Park, New Jersey. She received her law degree from Rutgers School of Law in Newark, NJ and her undergraduate degree in Economics from Drew University in Madison, NJ.
She lives in Summit with her husband and two children.