Princeton human services director leaving to take state deputy commissioner post

Elisa Neira

Elisa Neira, the human services director for the municipality of Princeton, is leaving her position to take a job with the state. She has been named the new deputy commissioner for the Department of Human Services.

Neira’s appointment was announced at the Princeton Council meeting on Monday night. She will begin her new job on March 5.

Councilwoman Heather Howard, who served on Gov. Phil Murphy’s transition team, said Neira will oversee the Division of Family Development. The division provides leadership and supervision to the public and non-profit agencies that deliver financial assistance and safety net services to individuals and families in New Jersey.

Programs within the agency include: Work First New Jersey/Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Work First New Jersey/General Assistance – the two programs that make up the state’s welfare program; NJ SNAP (formerly food stamps); child support and child care services.


Neira has been the head of the human services department in Princeton since June of 2013. The Lawrenceville resident is originally from Ecuador. Neira earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Rutgers University and her master’s degree in social work from Fordham University. She worked at the New Jersey Association of the Deaf-Blind for four years, first as group home manager and residential coordinator, then as the social worker overseeing the operation of eight group homes for the developmentally disabled throughout New Jersey, before coming to Princeton.