As part of the Systems Change Team at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), Elissa Gelber has primarily been engaged in child welfare reform work in New Jersey and South Carolina. This work has involved monitoring progress through the collection and analysis of data; collaborating with staff, stakeholders, youth, and families; engaging in qualitative service reviews; providing resources and assistance; and preparing public reports.
Prior to joining CSSP, Elissa served as Project Director and Clinical Director at the Center for Court Innovation in New York City, where she oversaw a Youth Justice Center that provided a range of programming for court-involved youth and their families, including diversion, alternative to detention and placement, and violence prevention programs, clinical and case management services, and community initiatives in collaboration with the NYC Administration for Children Services, Department of Probation, and law enforcement. Elissa has worked as a case manager and Program Coordinator for a federally funded youth development program for adolescents in East New York, Brooklyn, where she oversaw and facilitated clinical and social action groups for youth and families and provided trainings to school-based staff on the impact of trauma, and collaborative approaches to working with justice-involved youth and adolescents in foster care. Earlier in her career, Elissa worked as an attorney at Children’s Rights in New York, where she represented children in foster care seeking relief through class action litigation. She is certified in numerous trauma-focused clinical interventions, and trained in the use of Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC) at St. Lukes Center for Children and Families in New York. Elissa was awarded a Luce Foundation fellowship focused on the development of family preservation programs in in Hanoi, Vietnam, and has served on city-wide committees aimed at developing practice standards to address the needs of youth involved with both the juvenile justice and foster care systems. Elissa is a graduate of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and has a JD from Harvard Law School, and a Bachelors degree in Political Theory and Economics from New York University.