The Biden administration made another addition to its youth and family services leadership team in December: Kimberly Waller is the associate commissioner of the Family and Youth Services Bureau, a division of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).
Waller, a Pittsburgh native, was the senior policy advisor for the Washington, D.C., Interagency Council on Homelessness — a group that includes cabinet-level leaders on the mayor’s staff with leaders in the advocacy and services community — before joining the administration last month. It is not her first time around at ACF: she was a senior policy advisor for the agency from 2016 to 2018.
The Family and Youth Services Bureau (often referred to as FYSB, pronounced Fizz-bee) is one of two offices within the Administration for Children, Youth and Families, which oddly enough is a smaller agency within ACF. The other office is the U.S. Children’s Bureau, led by Aysha Schomburg, which oversees billions in federal funding for child welfare systems, including maltreatment prevention, child protective services, foster care and adoption.
FYSB, with a far smaller budget of about $500 million, funds programs that provide pregnancy prevention and serve victims of domestic violence. It also manages the three-tiered federal program for homeless and runaway youth: street outreach, basic centers and transitional living. Those programs nearly became the backbone of an $800 million boost during the first year of the pandemic, but that bipartisan plan didn’t make it into any of the Trump-era relief bills. With eviction moratoria around the country ending recently, possibly creating a surge in housing instability and homelessness, it will be interesting to see if a similar push is made this year.
Waller started her Beltway career in the office of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) as a legislative assistant, and then served as a policy attorney for the D.C.-based Children’s Law Center before her first stint at ACF. She is the first presidentially appointed leader at the Family and Youth Services Bureau since 2019, when Trump’s choice, William Wubbenhorst, left after two years with the administration.