Elissa Gelber portrait.

Elissa Gelber

Senior Associate

She, Her, Hers

View Elissa’s condensed bio here.


I am part of a team that works with states under federal court orders to change their child welfare systems. We advocate for transformative practices that enable families and communities to thrive. We help to build accountability by engaging stakeholders, meeting with state leaders, collecting and analyzing data, and producing reports on the impact of these systems on the lives of children and families.

I do this work because

I am committed to systemic change that promotes justice, rather than injustice, and that is reflective of the voices, values, and strengths of families and communities.

I am most proud of

Completing my MSW program, which challenged me to think more deeply about the root causes of the structural inequities I had been fighting against as a lawyer.

Work History

  • Project Director, Center for Court Innovation
  • Program Director, Cypress Hills Local Development Corp.
  • Staff Attorney, Children’s Rights
  • Associate, Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton

Education and Awards

  • M.S.W., Community Organizing and Clinical Work with Children, Youth and Families, Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College
  • J.D., Harvard Law School
  • B.A., Political Theory and Economics, College of Arts and Sciences, New York University
  • Luce Scholar, Henry Luce Foundation

When the day is done

I am outdoors running, biking, and getting messy with my children, or hiding away with a puzzle, a good book, or binge-worthy tv.