Eloise Anderson

Eloise Anderson is a fellow of the Claremont Institute. Ms. Anderson has been director of social services first in the state of Wisconsin and most recently in California.


Eloise AndersonShe is nationally and internationally cited as a champion of welfare reform across the United States. She was named by the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives to the National Advisory Board on Welfare Indicators and was honored with the 1996 National Governors' Association award for outstanding state official.

Ms. Anderson was appointed to her previous post by former Governor Pete Wilson in 1992. As head of the nation's largest welfare system, she had to cope with a system that consumes one quarter of all the money spent nationwide on welfare, a soaring out-of-wedlock birthrate, and a teen pregnancy rate higher than any other state. She demanded that parents be accountable to their children by ensuring that kids attend school and be immunized as a condition of receiving aid.

Ms. Anderson also dramatically turned public opinion around regarding the destructiveness of AFDC and led the way in crafting California's new welfare reform program, CalWORKs. Her view that the state's 58 counties be empowered to design what is best for their local communities is now a centerpiece of the Golden State's innovative approach to welfare delivery.

Her candid, thought-provoking ideas on welfare reform, child welfare, and other prominent social issues have made her one of the most respected and sought after public officials in the nation. She has been featured on 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, Lehrer New Hour, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), and interviewed by the Foreign Press Association. She has also been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Mirabella Magazine, and the Weekly Standard.

Under former Governor Wilson, Eloise Anderson directed the operations of a department with 4,200 employees and a budget of nearly $18 billion. She was responsible for implementing a wide range of federal and state laws and setting administrative policy regarding welfare grant levels and benefits, community care licensing standards, disability evaluation determination, and child welfare services. She oversaw such diverse programs as child support enforcement, foster care, adoptions, child abuse prevention, child care, refugee support, emergency assistance, and special services to the aged, blind and deaf individuals.

Previous Experience

Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, 1988-1992

Appointed by Governor Tommy Thompson as Administrator of the division of Community Services. Administered the statewide operations for adoptions, aging services, alcohol and other drug programs, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, child welfare, community options program, developmental disability, domestic violence, disability evaluation services, economic opportunity, mental health, Native American relief and social services, and program certification and licensing.

Dane County, Wisconsin, 1985-1988
Assistant to the County Executive

Oversight of the County's operations of airports, civic center, executive office, highways, home health services, mental health, alcohol and other drug programs, public health services, skilled nursing facilities, social services, parks and zoos. Conducted liaison activities with the courts, Sheriff, District Attorney, and various county commissions and boards. Responsible for city/county relations as the major liaison to towns, villages, and state agencies. Responsible for budget development.

Wisconsin Department of Employment Relations, 1983-1985
Employment Relations Specialist

Responsible for third step grievances and representative of management at arbitration. Negotiated for management with various unions for labor contracts.

Other Work Experience

Public Administration:
Wisconsin Department of Employment Relations, 1979-1983
Wisconsin Department of Local Affairs and Development, 1972-1979

Community Organizer/Women's Worker/Social Work Supervisor:
Northcott Neighborhood House (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), 1966-1969
Frederick Douglass Community Center (Toledo, Ohio), 1965-1966

Committee/Board/Task Force Participation/Awards

U.S. General Accounting Office/ Rockefeller Institute of Government Working Seminar on Social Program Information Systems, 1998

CARF National Advisory Committee for Children’s Services, 1998

American Public Welfare Association Child Welfare Advisory Group, 1997

Recipient, National Governors’ Association Award for Outstanding State Official, 1996

National Advisory Board on Welfare Indicators, 1996

National Resource Center on Child Maltreatment Advisory Board, 1996

Board of Directors, Tierra Del Oro Girl Scouts of America Board, 1995

Commission for a Nation of Lifelong Learners, 1995

Advisory Board of the National Fatherhood Initiative, 1994

Statewide Independent Living Council, 1994

Attorney General’s Policy Council on Violence Prevention, 1994

California Task Force to Review Juvenile Crime and the Juvenile Justice Response, 1994

American Public Welfare Association Executive Board, 1994

Academic Advisory Board of the Center for Applied Cultural Studies and Educational Achievement, 1993

University of Wisconsin Hospital Council of Trustees, 1989-1992

Interagency Coordinating Council (Chairperson), 1989-1992

Governor’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Crime, 1987-1992

Black Hawk Girl Scout Board (President), 1981-1992

Military Experience

United States Army Reserve, 1972-1977

Educational Experiences

Harvard University, 1995
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1974-1976
Graduate Studies: Urban Affairs, Public Administration and Planning

Central State University, Ohio, 1960-1961; 1962-1965
Undergraduate Studies: B.S., Sociology

University of Toledo, Ohio, 1961-1962
Undergraduate Studies: Sociology and History

Speaking Topics

  • Child Welfare
  • Fathers
  • Child Support
  • Welfare
  • Social Security
  • Homelessness
  • Pre-School
  • Child Care
  • Elder Care
  • Unmarried Parenting
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • General Family Issues

Articles by Eloise Anderson