La Follette School professor and former Institute for Research on Poverty director Maria Cancian has started service as deputy assistant secretary for policy with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families.
The president nominated Cancian to serve as ACF assistant secretary in February 2014, but the Senate did not complete action on her nomination. She was renominated on February 5, 2015, and the nomination remains pending.
"Maria will be bringing research into practice by contributing her expertise on the relationship between public policies and changes in marriage, fertility, employment and family well-being," says La Follette School Director Susan Yackee, "which epitomizes the Wisconsin Idea."
In January of this year, Cancian joined DHHS as senior advisor to the secretary, and has worked with ACF and other divisions on a range of issues, with particular attention to interoperability, systems integration efforts, and issues relating to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act that have particular relevance to human services programs. Cancian has provided counsel and advice on numerous other issues relating to ACF programs during this time, Acting Assistant Secretary for Children and Families Mark Greenberg announced April 29.
"Over the last several months, it has become clear that ACF would benefit by Maria playing a larger and more formalized role in her work here, and I have asked her to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, with responsibilities for cross-program coordination and strengthening ACF management," the announcement says.
"An economist by training, Maria's knowledge of ACF programs is grounded in her academic research, and decades of program evaluation and technical assistance at the federal, state and local levels," Greenberg's announcement says. "She also brings administrative experience as director of the Institute for Research on Poverty, associate dean for social sciences, and associate dean for fiscal initiatives at the University of Wisconsin–Madison."