Elaine has devoted her career to developing and promoting model policy for children and families in health, safety and learning. Expert in trend analysis and public will, she knows how and when to move initiatives forward to maximize public interest and community partners for policy.


Elaine Zimmerman has been a leader in states, changing how parents participate and lead for children. She has systemically studied and designed the family civics curriculum and leadership process to bring parents back as an intentional constituency, across cultures, for children.


The Parent Leadership Training Institute, (PLTI), began when Elaine recognized that parents were missing from family policy. She worked with parents for two years and learned that parents were marginalized, did not see themselves as a constituency and they lacked a democracy toolkit necessary for purposeful participation in civics. Elaine wanted to bring parents to the table, across differences and issue area. She knew parents could convey what worked, what was needed and what needed repair for children. She saw that the nation had shifted from civics to service and that in this process, parents were tended to, rather than seen as key partners.  From this extensive work and research emerged the content and twenty-week course for the Parent Leadership Training Institute in Connecticut which is now offered throughout communities across the United States and in Australia.


Elaine was formerly the Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Children. In addition to PLTI, her work with state leaders includes design of law in school readiness, early reading success, anti-bullying, children and disaster, children’s behavioral health, home visitation and anti-poverty law. She guided legislation to establish Connecticut’s Blueprint in Reading and Two-Generation initiatives. She is recognized for one of the strongest parent leadership and family civics model in the states. For this work she was awarded the Good Housekeeping Award for Women. At the center her work is the critical role that community does and must play in preparing children for their future. Currently, Elaine is the Regional Administrator, Region 1, for the Administration for Children and Families under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. In this capacity, she partners with state, local, community based organizations, and tribes within the Region to promote economic and social well-being of children, families, individuals and communities in the New England region.


Elaine has a B.A. with a dual major in Cultural Anthropology and Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in Community Mental Health from the University of California, Berkeley. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Family Therapist and Psychotherapist.