Assistant Commissioner for Children and Family Services
James Koppel serves as the assistant commissioner for Children and Family Services for the Minnesota Department of Human Services. He is responsible for services and policies that promote child care, child support, economic stability, child safety and permanency, and successful transitions for immigrants.
Named assistant commissioner in December 2014, Koppel previously served as deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health, responsible for protecting, maintaining and improving the health of Minnesotans.
Prior to that, Koppel served as executive director of Minnesota's Children's Defense Fund, a national nonprofit child advocacy organization, and regional director of Children's Defense Fund Upper Midwest Region, managing outreach, organization and advocacy projects in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. Koppel has also served as the vice president for the Minnesota Hospital and Healthcare Partnership and executive director of the Minnesota Health Care Access Commission.
Through his work at Children's Defense Fund Minnesota, he also helped thousands of families get the health care, child care, nutrition and tax benefits that they were entitled to and implemented Bridge to Benefits to help families gain quick access to public programs such as health care coverage, child care subsidies, low-income tax credits, energy assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and other nutritional programs, including free or reduced school meals.
Koppel earned a bachelor's degree from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, and a master's degree in social work from Howard University in Washington, D.C.