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Leadership Team

Frank Farrow - President

Frank Farrow has served as CSSP’s director since 2001. In that role, he has helped build the organization’s capacity for policy analysis and research, as well as technical assistance to federal and state governments and local communities. With CSSP’s board and leadership team, Farrow has focused CSSP on work that has a clear tie to improved results for children, families and communities; a commitment to equity and to CSSP’s evolution as an anti-racist organization; and to strategies that integrate service system reform, community change and policy analysis. Prior to becoming director, Farrow served as CSSP’s deputy director and as director of children’s services. From 1999 through 2009, Farrow also served as the director of community change initiatives at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland, where he implemented new approaches to technical assistance and managed a national place-based initiative. Farrow was the director of social services for the state of Maryland from 1983 – 1987. In that capacity he managed the state’s child welfare programs, services to the impaired elderly, community services for chronically mentally ill adults, child day care, services for the homeless and other social services. He has chaired national and international boards, most recently the board of the International Initiative for Children, Youth and Families. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s degree in social welfare policy and planning from the University of Chicago.

Judith W. Meltzer - Executive Vice President

Judith Meltzer is responsible for co-directing all of CSSP’s work. A particular focus of her work is on policies and strategies for child welfare reform and the development of community partnerships for the protection of children. Meltzer helped pioneer efforts to strengthen child welfare systems through more productive, less adversarial approaches to resolving class action litigation. She serves as the federal court-appointed monitor of the District of Columbia and New Jersey’s child welfare systems which are subject to oversight as the result of class action litigation. In addition, she helps oversee technical assistance to child welfare agencies in Tennessee and Connecticut operating under court-ordered settlement agreements to improve child welfare systems. In 2005, Meltzer was honored by the American Public Human Services Association with the Peter Forsythe Award for Leadership in Public Child Welfare. Before joining CSSP, she was a research associate at the Center for the Study of Welfare Policy, a lecturer at the School of Social Administration at the University of Chicago and a planning and evaluation specialist for the Chicago regional office of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Meltzer graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in social welfare policy.

Executive Team

Donna Cohen Ross - Vice President

Donna Cohen Ross leads CSSP’s work on Young Children and their Families, which promotes the development and spread of effective, comprehensive local early childhood systems. Cohen Ross has devoted her career to reducing poverty and improving access to public benefits for low-income children and families through policy, advocacy and outreach.  Prior to joining CSSP, Cohen Ross was a Principal at Health Management Associates where she consulted with maternal and child home visiting, early literacy, school nursing and community health worker programs on strategies for securing Medicaid support. From 2010 to 2015, Cohen Ross served as a Senior Policy Advisor and the Director of Enrollment Initiatives in the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  There she directed the first-ever federal campaign to enroll children and parents in Medicaid and CHIP and also crafted ground-breaking guidance on Medicaid coverage for maternal depression screening conducted during pediatric visits. Prior to her federal service, Cohen Ross directed the outreach division at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where she ran the widely acclaimed national Earned Income Tax Credit Campaign and also successfully advocated for simplifying health coverage eligibility and enrollment.  Her early work in New Jersey included anti-hunger advocacy at the Association for Children of N.J., the Community Food Bank of N.J. and the Newark Preschool Council, the state’s largest Head start grantee.  

Christine Katz - Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Christine Katz oversees CSSP’s finance, accounting, grants management, human resources, operations and information technology functions. Previously, she was a director at the McQuade Brennan accounting firm in Washington, D.C. While there, Katz developed and managed the firm’s CFO Services Group, which focused on providing outsourced accounting services customized to the needs of nonprofit clients. She has more than 10 years of experience in public accounting within the nonprofit sector.  She graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is a certified public accountant.

Megan C. Martin - Vice President

Megan Martin leads CSSP’s public policy work, which helps federal and state elected officials develop policies, funding and practice in ways that help ensure better results for children and families.  Prior to joining CSSP, Martin was a guest researcher at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, where she helped conduct comparative poverty research on social safety net policy in the United States and the European Union.  In 2007, she was recognized as a “new voice” in social policy for an article on segregation in Detroit published in Qualitative Social Work. Martin has worked for the U.S. Senate as well as for the State of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services. She also served as a Presidential Management Fellow.  She is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and the University of Michigan’s Graduate School of Social Work.

Sarah A. Morrison - Director of Learning and Evidence

Sarah Morrison leads CSSP’s growing body of work on more effective use of evidence for learning and improving outcomes for children, families and communities. Previously, she helped advance CSSP’s child welfare system reform efforts as co-director of the Child Welfare and Supportive Housing Resource Center providing technical assistance to five federally funded demonstration sites around the country. She was also one of two federally appointed monitors of a class action consent decree in Georgia. Prior to joining CSSP, Morrison was a senior evaluator at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). While there, she was responsible for designing, managing and reporting on evaluations of programs authorized or expanded by the Family Support Act of 1988, including transitional benefits and child support enforcement. Morrison’s additional experience includes management consulting in Ernst and Young’s public sector practices in Chicago and Washington, D.C., and public opinion research polling and teaching at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.

Susan Notkin - Senior Vice President

Ms. Notkin has been working on behalf of children and families for over 30 years, designing and managing an array of innovative public and private initiatives. Ms. Notkin serves as CSSP’s Senior Vice President managing the organization’s work on systems reform by  advancing responsive, progressive public services for children and families involved in child welfare and other public human service systems.  Ms. Notkin is leading CSSP’s Youth Thrive, a multi-year national initiative, which works to promote the healthy well-being and development for all youth, with a particular focus on youth in child welfare, juvenile justice and homeless systems.  

Prior to joining CSSP, Ms. Notkin was the Director for the Children’s Program at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. During her 17 years with the Foundation, she created and implemented a 10-year $50 million grant making program entitled Community Partnerships for Protecting Children. Earlier, Ms. Notkin directed the Foundation’s Program for Homeless Families.

Before joining the Foundation, Ms. Notkin designed the New York City Child Protective Services Training Academy for the City’s child welfare agency.  During the early 1980s, she held positions in the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, where she represented the rights of clients residing in mental health institutions and directed the state’s agenda in child abuse prevention, child protection, early care and education and domestic violence.

She is on the board of the Institute for Community Peace and is the president of the board of the Donaldson Adoption Institute.  

Jessica Pika - Director, Communications

Jessica Pika oversees CSSP’s internal and external communications strategy, with the goal of improving organizational impact, influence and visibility. Her work includes oversight of CSSP’s communications strategy from message framing and audience outreach to social media strategy and media relations and relies on close collaboration with staff and external partners. Prior to joining CSSP, Jessica was the Director of Communications and Editorial Content at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (TNC), a national nonprofit devoted to reducing rates of unplanned pregnancy in the United States. During her tenure at TNC, she managed teen and corporate digital content strategy, including the organization's award-winning annual national social good campaigns focused on raising awareness about healthy sexual behavior and increased use of birth control. Jessica also handled media relations, design and creation of new publications and provided general communications and editorial guidance to all program areas of the organization. Jessica has more than 15 years of nonprofit communications experience and is a graduate of Wake Forest University.

Kristen Weber - Director of Equity, Inclusion and Justice

Kristen Weber coordinates the Institutional Analysis project—a qualitative review process to analyze laws, policies and practices that contribute to racial disparities in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She also serves as a senior member of the getR.E.A.L team that works at the local, state and national level to support the healthy sexual and identity development of youth in foster care, with a particular focus on youth who identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and youth who are gender nonconforming. Kristen also is part of teams at CSSP monitoring federal consent decrees focused on improving the child welfare system in Washington, D.C., and the state of New Jersey. Prior to joining CSSP, Weber was an attorney at Legal Services for Children in San Francisco, where she specialized in the legal representation of children impacted by HIV/AIDS and in the legal issues faced by runaway and homeless teenagers. She is a graduate of Yale University and earned a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Senior Fellows

Bill Bettencourt - Senior Fellow

Bill Bettencourt co-leads CSSP’s get R.E.A.L initiative, which works to improve healthy sexual and identity development for system involved youth. The initiative includes site work in Allegheny County and in California as well managing a network of public and private sector members. Bettencourt has over 40 years of experience working in the social services field, spending more than 26 years with the City and County of San Francisco, the last four as the Director of Children and Family Services. He has also served as a Program Officer with the Stuart Foundation funding child welfare improvements in Washington State and California. As a Senior Consultant for The Annie E. Casey Foundation, he led the implementation of the Family to Family Initiative in 28 counties in California serving 80 percent of the children in foster care in the state. He also coordinated the work of Family to Family in Washington State and Alaska and led a national team focused on improving efforts in states and counties nationally to address racial disparities. He also led system improvement efforts in California aimed at improving outcomes for LGBTQ children, youth, and families involved with the child welfare system. He recently led CSSP’s partnership with the University of Illinois, Chicago on work in California focused on improving services and outcomes for Latino and LGBTQ children and families involved with the child welfare system, a research project in Santa Clara and Fresno counties.

Prior to joining the staff, he was a consultant on CSSP’s Institutional Analysis team. He has served as an advisor to the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University as well as on numerous boards and advisory councils. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University and his Master’s degree from the University of San Francisco.

Leonard D. Burton - Senior Fellow

Leonard Burton brings over twenty-five years of executive leadership, youth development and systems improvement experience to CSSP's Youth Thrive™ initiative. He is helping engage and support public agencies implementing the Youth Thrive™ framework; a multi-year body of work to ensure healthy development and well-being for youth involved with child welfare and other public human services systems. Leonard has been an advocate for vulnerable populations and at-risk young people his entire professional life, most recently as the chief operating officer of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative. In that role, Burton helped led work in 18 states and nationally to make sure that youth exiting foster care have the resources they need, including education, jobs, housing and lifelong family connections. He launched a successful co-investment strategy, bringing additional investments of regional and national foundations to support local sites and the national initiative. Leonard previously served as assistant commissioner of child welfare and regional services for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. He currently serves on the boards of directors for both Child Trends and Black Administrators in Child Welfare. Burton holds a bachelor's degree in public management from Austin Peay State University and a master's degree of education in administration and supervision from Tennessee State University.

Amy Fine - Senior Fellow

Amy Fine helps shape CSSP's approach to integrating health, education, human services and other family supports at the community level, focusing on more preventive, developmentally-oriented service systems for children and families. In this role, she contributes to the content of multiple CSSP initiatives. With more than 25 years of experience working on issues related to maternal and child health, Fine has served as a consultant to federal and state health agencies, private philanthropies and national initiatives focused on improving results for children. Her previous work includes positions at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Institute of Medicine and the University of North Carolina’s Child Health Outcomes Project. She has degrees from The University of Michigan and University of California, San Francisco and earned her master’s of public health from the University of North Carolina.

Steve Cohen - Senior Fellow

Steve Cohen leads CSSP’s partnership with the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, with a particular focus on helping public systems take up emerging knowledge about child development to improve policy and practice. He aslo takes part in CSSP's work on evidence and on young children and their families. Cohen was previously vice president and chief program officer of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. His work there included extensive experience helping to reform child welfare systems facing class action litigation. Earlier in his career, Cohen served as associate executive director of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, a large, multisystem human services agency in New York City. He also held senior positions in child welfare and juvenile justice in New York City government. Cohen has a master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.

Salin Geevarghese - Senior Fellow

Salin Geevarghese serves as a senior fellow at CSSP as well as the founding Director of the Mixed-Income Strategic Alliance and its Innovation and Action Network. The Mixed-Income Strategic Alliance is a collaboration of CSSP, the National Initiative on Mixed Income Communities at Case Western Reserve University and Urban Strategies, Inc. Prior to CSSP, Geevarghese served in a senior appointed leadership post as HUD's Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of International and Philanthropic Innovation (within the Office of Policy Development and Research) during the Administration of President Barack Obama. Appointed by Secretary Shaun Donovan and serving under Secretary Julian Castro, Salin led an innovation team charged with engaging cross-sector and crossborder partners to harness and apply best practices, programs and policies for the benefit of communities and aligning common efforts. Before his appointment, Secretary Donovan appointed Salin as Acting Director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, where he worked to advance housing and communities that increase affordability, cost savings, efficiency and quality of life. Salin has also previously held senior level positions at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and the BellSouth Corporation.

Mark Friedman - Senior Fellow

Mark Friedman is the director of the Fiscal Policy Studies Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico and author of the book Trying Hard Is Not Good Enough: How to Produce Measurable Improvements for Customers and Communities. He has more than 30 years experience in public administration and public policy, including nearly two decades in senior positions with the Maryland Department of Human Resources. His Results-Based Accountability™ framework has been used in more than 40 states and in countries around the world.

James O. Gibson - Senior Fellow

James Gibson leads CSSP’s efforts to help promote responsible redevelopment initiatives in Camden, New Jersey, and is involved in the Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare. He chairs the board of directors of PolicyLink, a national institution devoted to strengthening communities. Prior to joining CSSP, Gibson served as a senior associate at the Urban Institute and was the founding president of DC Agenda, a 10-year community assistance initiative in the nation’s capital. He has also served as a program director for The Rockefeller Foundation; president of the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation in Washington, D.C.; city administrator for planning and development for the District of Columbia; executive associate of The Potomac Institute and the former executive secretary of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP. Gibson has received numerous national awards for his work in civil rights, community development and philanthropy.

Mark L. Joseph - Senior Fellow

Mark Joseph is an associate professor at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and Founding Director of the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities. His current research is focused on the study of mixed-income development as a strategy to reduce poverty. He has studied the economic impacts of incarceration as well as comprehensive community development strategies in high poverty neighborhoods. Joseph received his B.A. in Government from Harvard University. He received a Harlech Scholarship for graduate study at Oxford University. He continued his graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Harris School of Public Policy Studies. Joseph completed a post-doctoral scholarship at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, and was a research associate at the Chapin Hall Center for Children.  His co-authored book, Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed-Income Public Housing Transformation, will be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2015.

Judy Langford - Senior Fellow

Judy Langford’s work for CSSP includes field research, policy and program analysis and technical assistance to foundations, governmental agencies and private organizations on the development and implementation of family supportive practices and policies. She is currently the national project director for Strengthening Families, a multidisciplinary approach to preventing child abuse and promoting healthy child development that is now used in more than 25 states. Langford is also part of the leadership team for the federal Quality Improvement Center on Early Childhood. She is the former executive director of the Family Resource Coalition and previously headed the Ounce of Prevention Fund in Chicago. She has been an advisor to numerous foundations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Casey Family Programs.

Helly Lee - Fellow

Helly Lee is an immigrant and refugee policy fellow at the Center for the Study of Social Policy. In that role she provides expertise on program and policy issues impacting immigrant and refugee families as well as broader guidance on advancing equity through public policy. Lee also serves as a senior fellow at frontline solutions where she works with non-profit and philanthropic clients to advance organizational goals including institutionalizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts and developing effective storytelling strategies to communicate client work. Formerly, Lee served as an advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, a senior policy analyst at CLASP, the director of public policy for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center and in the office of Congresswoman Betty McCollum. For several years Lee served as a board member at Legacies of War where she supported the organization’s work through community engagement and policy advocacy to establish historic congressional support to address the long-standing impact of U.S. cluster bombs from the Vietnam War era in Laos today. Lee is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and the University of Michigan Graduate School of Social Work.

Charles M. Payne, Ph.D. - Senior Fellow

Charles M. Payne is the Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, where he is also an affiliate of the Urban Education Institute. His interests include urban education and school reform, social inequality, social change and modern African American history. His books include So Much Reform, So Little Change (Harvard Education Publishing Group), which is concerned with what we have learned about the persistence of failure in urban districts. Payne is among the founders of the Education for Liberation Network, which encourages the development of educational initiatives that encourage young people to think critically about social issues and understand their own capacity for addressing them. Payne has taught at Southern University, Williams College, Northwestern University and Duke University. He has won several teaching awards and at Northwestern, he held the Charles Deering McCormick Chair for Teaching Excellence and at Duke, the Sally Dalton Robinson Chair for excellence in teaching and research. Payne holds a bachelor's degree in Afro-American studies from Syracuse University and a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern.

Lisbeth (Lee) B. Schorr - Senior Fellow

Lee Schorr’s work is currently focused on efforts to broaden the conventional understanding of evidence as applied to the design, improvement, and evaluation of complex initiatives, and on promoting a results orientation to the reform of social policies and programs. With a group of colleagues, she recently founded The Friends of Evidence, which works to strengthen the role of evidence in efforts (public and philanthropic, local, regional, and national) to ensure the wise allocation of scarce resources, and to improve outcomes among the children and families not faring well in today’s society.  Lee’s extensive experience in social policy, community building, education, health and human service programs has made her a national authority on improving the future of disadvantaged children and their families and neighborhoods. She serves on the boards of the SEED Foundation and Educare D.C., is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and has held leadership positions in many of the major national efforts on behalf of children and families.  Lee’s 1988 book, Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage, analyzed programs and strategies that succeeded in combating serious social problems. In Common Purpose: Strengthening Families and Neighborhoods to Rebuild America, published in September 1997, she showed that most effective interventions depend on the systems contexts in which they are implemented. 

Dr. Robert Sege, M.D., Ph.D. - Senior Fellow

Robert Sege, M.D., Ph.D. is a practicing pediatrician and the Chief Medical Officer at Health Resources in Action. He serves as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Knowledge to Action think tank on child maltreatment prevention. He led the development of Connected Kids: Safe, Strong Secure program for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and received the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2008 Fellow Achievement Award for his work on youth violence prevention. Dr. Sege teaches about evidence-based approaches to child maltreatment and violence prevention that use new scientific knowledge to support parents, children and teens in realizing their hopes and dreams. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale College, his doctorate from MIT, his M.D. from Harvard Medical School and completed his pediatric residency 

Program Staff

Miguel Amaguaña - Program and Research Assistant

Miguel Amaguaña supports CSSP’s learning and evidence work, is part of the CSSP team developing an evaluation plan for The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative and serves as executive assistant to CSSP President Frank Farrow. Prior to joining CSSP, Miguel worked for Identity, a program of social-emotional enrichment for migrant Central American youth in Montgomery County, MD. In that role, he oversaw after-school sessions, created bilingual leadership development curricula and helped identify and address sources of stress and trauma that could affect young people’s well-being. Miguel’s background in performance art engages him regularly in local DC theater and music productions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies and vocal performance from the Oberlin College & Conservatory of Music.

Arthur Argomaniz - Program and Research Associate

Arthur Argomaniz supports CSSP’s child welfare work in Humboldt County, California, the First 5 LA Best Start project in Los Angeles and manages the CSSP LA office. He is a member CSSP’s Place Based Innovations Team and works to support communities as the experts and change makers. Argomaniz is also a community organizer serving as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the IPR Healing Arts Space in South Central LA and a member of the conference organizing committee for the Healing Communities Collaborative, a collaborative focused on uplifting native and indigenous practices in community work. Prior to joining CSSP, he served as a youth advocate and case manager for a South LA based YouthBuild program and interned at the Institute for Community Peace. Argomaniz is a graduate of the University of Southern California and holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in Chicano Studies.

Charlyn Harper Browne - Senior Associate

Charlyn Harper Browne manages CSSP’s participation in the Quality Improvement Center on Child Welfare Involved Children and Families Experiencing Domestic Violence (QIC-CWDV), a five-year project funded by the Administration on Children and Families, Children’s Bureau in the U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services.  In addition, she contributes to projects within CSSP’s Young Children and Their Families and Youth Thrive initiatives.  Prior to joining CSSP, Dr. Browne served as a college and university professor teaching in undergraduate psychology departments and graduate counseling departments. During her tenure in academia she also served in several administrative roles including Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Her educational background includes extensive postdoctoral coursework in clinical child and family psychology after earning a doctoral degree in early childhood education, a master’s degree in educational psychology, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology.  Her research and publications focus on promoting healthy development and well-being in children, youth, and families.  Most recently, she co-edited a book entitled Innovative Approaches to Supporting Families of Young Children.  

Phyllis R. Brunson - Director

Phyllis Brunson manages aspects CSSP’s Neighborhood and Communities initiatives. A key element of Brunson’s work is to advocate for investments that will use the voice and feedback data from constituents—parents, clients, customers and service recipients—to improve service quality, systems change, community change and policy change. Working at the community level, Brunson’s work helps communities form high-functioning collaborative partnerships and coalitions to build stronger communities by strategically applying skills and capacities, such as community-based results accountability, resident engagement and community decision-making, with an emphasis on using data to assess and rate the quality of services from the perspective of the end user. For several years Brunson launched and managed CSSP’s Internal Race Equity work, designed to build staff capacity to identify and confront racial inequity internally and externally as it arises in CSSP’s work while carrying out its mission. She supports CSSP’s International Learning work and serves on the Council of Europe’s expert consultant team for its Intercultural Cities Initiative.  Prior to joining CSSP, Brunson worked for the Maryland Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families where she served as the deputy director and acting director of the System Reform Initiative. She is a member of the board of directors of the Elizabeth Ministry, Inc., which helps single teen mothers in the foster care system achieve financial independence and attend college. Brunson is a graduate of Lincoln University and earned her master’s degree in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis.

Selena Chavez - Program and Research Assistant

Selena is a member of CSSP’s Young Children and their Families team. Prior to CSSP, Selena completed internships at the American Association for University Women and the Aspen Institute where she gained experience in development, international relations, education and equity. In college, she was involved with a DC-based tutoring and advocacy group that sparked her passion for creating systems that support healthy early childhood development. She is a graduate of Georgetown University where she double majored in Justice and Peace and Economics and minored in Government. Her senior thesis, Latina Millennials and their Experiences in the Professional U.S. Workforce, examined work equity for Latinas and highlighted stories of DC women. She is passionate about advocating and working for economic and social equity for minority populations. 

Alexandra Citrin - Senior Policy Analyst

Alexandra Citrin helps advance CSSP’s child welfare work as part of the team focused on monitoring and providing technical assistance to child welfare systems operating under federal consent decrees to improve practice for children and families. Prior to joining CSSP, she was a family advocate at the Center for Family Representation, Inc. in New York, where she worked with parents and families involved in the child welfare system. Citrin currently serves on the Board of Directors for Our House, a nonprofit based in Ann Arbor, MI that is working to provide opportunities for youth aging out of foster care. She is a graduate of Middlebury College and earned both a master’s degree in social work and public policy from the University of Michigan.

Stephanie Doyle - Senior Associate

Stephanie Doyle is a member of the Young Children and Their Families Team, supporting CSSP’s work to prevent and mitigate the effects of toxic stress on children and families. Before joining CSSP, she served as project director for the Defending Childhood Initiative at the Boston Public Health Commission, a U.S. Department of Justice demonstration project to prevent and reduce the impact of children's exposure to violence in homes, schools and communities. As part of that work, she led the design and implementation of a Trauma-Informed Early Education and Care Centers Breakthrough Series Collaborative that worked with Boston early care and education centers to use quality improvement methods to implement and adopt trauma-informed practices, policies and environments. Prior to this position she was the policy analyst for the Division of Violence Prevention at the Boston Public Health Commission, where she worked with community-based coalitions, implemented a youth-driven social marketing campaign and advocated for antibullying legislation. Doyle is a graduate of Villanova University and earned a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

Erika Feinman - Program and Research Assistant

Erika Feinman provides support to CSSP’s systems reform work primarily by assisting with the monitoring of child welfare systems operating under federal consent decrees. They also support various initiatives for the Alliance for Race Equity. Prior to joining CSSP, Erika interned for the Justice Policy Institute and contributed to two of their publications. They have also previously interned with The As One Project and with a congressional office. Erika is a graduate of the George Washington University, where they served as student body president and was selected as a Distinguished Scholar of the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences. Erika’s bachelor’s degree is in Political Science and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. 

Juanita Gallion - Senior Associate

Juanita Gallion helps lead the organization’s Community Change efforts, focusing on capacity building, training, and technical assistance. She brings her expertise on racial equity and results-based approaches to work in partnership with systems and communities through a range of CSSP’s efforts.  She previously coordinated technical assistance and peer learning for Promise Neighborhoods, an initiative of the Department of Education, and managed the technical assistance for sites participating in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections Initiative, connecting local leaders to a range of workforce, asset-building, and early learning opportunities to assure families and communities had the tools, support and opportunities to achieve economic success. Prior to joining CSSP, Gallion was at the National Civic League, where she managed the training, technical assistance and learning agenda for a Department of Justice initiative aimed at reducing children’s exposure to violence. Gallion has over fifteen years of experience increasing non-profit, government, and community capacity on a range of social justice issues, and is an engaging, effective facilitator. Gallion’s additional experience includes resident engagement, program design and policy analysis, strategic coaching, skills training, results based accountability, and strategic planning. She has a master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago, and received her bachelor’s degree in law and society from American University. 


Elissa Gelber - Senior Associate

Elissa Gelber is part of CSSP’s team that monitors and provides technical assistance to child welfare systems throughout the country operating under federal consent decrees, with the goal of improving outcomes for children and families. Prior to joining CSSP, Elissa worked as a youth advocate and program administrator in the U.S. and abroad, serving as a Henry Luce Scholar in Hanoi, Vietnam, and as a staff attorney at Children’s Rights. Most recently, she was the project director of a Center for Court Innovation community justice center, where she oversaw programming for justice-involved youth and families and piloted an initiative to support adolescents with mental health issues engaged with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  Elissa holds a bachelor's degree from New York University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a master's of social work from Hunter College School of Social Work.

Derick Gomez - Program and Research Assistant

Derick Gomez is a member of CSSP’s Systems Change team. Prior to joining CSSP, he conducted policy research at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and served on the West Coast as an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps team leader. In addition, Derick interviewed veterans of the Civil Rights Movement throughout the South as a researcher with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Florida, where he completed a thesis about Cold War-era student movements in South America.

Patsy Hampton - Senior Associate

Patsy Hampton, a member of the Young Children and their Families Team, helps to develop and support the Early Childhood Learning and Innovation Network for Communities (EC-LINC). As part of this work, Hampton manages the replication and adaptation of Project DULCE, an innovative pediatric primary care intervention to promote healthy child development, proactively address social determinants of health, and prevent and mitigate toxic stress in young children and families. Prior to joining CSSP, Hampton served as project director at WestEd, managing initiatives specific to early childhood mental health, home visiting and early childhood systems change such as Project LAUNCH and the Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems grant. Additionally, she served as director of Help Me Grow California at the First 5 Association of California, overseeing the implementation of Help Me Grow in counties across California. Hampton holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation administration from the University of San Francisco.

Joni Hirsch - Policy Analyst

Joni Hirsch helps advance CSSP’s place-based racial equity work by focusing on the New Communities Initiative public housing redevelopment program in Washington, DC and supporting the Mixed-Income Strategic Alliance. Joni’s role at CSSP builds on her previous work with the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities to coordinate the community building and community engagement efforts. Prior to CSSP, Joni worked for PolicyLink on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing capacity-building and as a paralegal with the civil rights law firm, Relman, Dane & Colfax. She holds a master's degree in City Planning from UC Berkeley. 

Ali Jawetz - Policy Analyst

Ali Jawetz is a member of CSSP’s Systems Change team. She assists with monitoring and providing technical assistance to child welfare systems operating under federal consent decrees. Prior to joining CSSP, Ali worked for the University of Virginia’s Social Entrepreneurship Pay for Success Lab, where she focused on the feasibility of expanding anti-recidivism initiatives in Virginia. She is also the founder of the Cornerstone Summer Institute, a summer program for youth to study the history of slavery and its legacies in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her academic, volunteering and professional work has focused on supporting families intertwined with criminal justice and child welfare systems. Ali holds a bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a master’s degree in Leadership and Public Policy, both from the University of Virginia.

Ngozi Lawal - Project Director

Ngozi Lawal leads CSSP’s Prenatal to 3 Initiative aimed at increasing the number of children on track for kindergarten in EC-LINC communities. Prior to joining CSSP, Ngozi Lawal supported the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Education at the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human in implementing a national policy agenda to help babies, toddlers and preschoolers get ready for school. She oversaw the federal State Advisory Councils and played a key role in the policy development and implementation of the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge and Preschool Development Grants. Previously, Ngozi managed the child care portfolio at the American Public Human Services Association, working alongside state child care administrators to develop policy proposals to improve implementation of the Child Care and Development Fund. She partnered with state child welfare directors to reduce the disproportionality of children of color in the child welfare system and improve the educational and social outcomes for youth who age out of foster care without permanent home placements. Ngozi began her career at Zero to Three where she tracked state and federal policies and initiatives on early childhood mental health. Ngozi has a Master of Arts Degree in Child Development from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Boston College.

Anna Lovejoy - Senior Associate

Anna Lovejoy manages CSSP’s participation in the National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement (NCPFCE). NCPFCE is part of the federal Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System launched in 2015 to promote excellence through high-quality, practical resources and approaches that build capacity in Head Start, Early Head Start and child care programs. NCPFCE supports family well-being, effective family and community engagement, and children's school readiness. Anna focuses on raising up effective program-level strategies for helping families build the foundations for economic mobility. She also supports the national center’s work to develop a conceptual framework for integrating family engagement as a priority within state early childhood systems. She has also supported CSSP’s Strengthening Families national initiative to promote policies that help families build protective factors and promote optimal child development. Prior to joining CSSP, she served as program director for early childhood policy at the National Governors Association, and was an independent consultant to such organizations as the Alliance for Early Success, Child Trends, the BUILD Initiative, the National Center for Children in Poverty, Center for Law and Social Policy and the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds. She is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a bachelor’s degree in politics. 

Jonathan Lykes - Senior Policy Analyst and getR.E.A.L National Youth Organizer

Jonathan Lykes is a Black queer artist, activist and policy analyst. He currently works at the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) as a Senior Policy Analyst and is the National Youth Organizer for the getR.E.A.L Initiative, addressing disproportionality and disparities that affect Black and brown LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth impacted by the oppressive actions of deep-end systems (child welfare, mental health, homelessness and criminal justice). He is the former artistic director of Performing Arts for Effective Civic Education (PAECE) Program at the University of Chicago, where he used interdisciplinary art and performance to help youth realize their roles as civically active members of the community who thrive toward the achievement of systemic change and social justice. Jonathan’s interdisciplinary approach to art, activism and anti-oppression work, merges policy change, artistic expression and activism. Combining these forms of social transformation—and harnessing their synergy—Jonathan works to create awareness, promote personal healing, surmount institutional barriers and generate systemic change.

Jonathan’s current position as the Project Lead and National Youth Organizer of the getR.E.A.L Initiative, situates him to merge his multidisciplinary artistic background with public policy reform, community engagement and systems change work. Lykes is also a community organizer, currently serving on the National Coordinating Council for Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), a movement of young adults using a Black queer feminist lens to advocate for community and systemic change. Jonathan is also the current Artistic Director for BYP100’ freedom song and chant album, The Black Joy Experience, helping to teach holistic energy through the Black radical tradition. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, where he also received his master’s degree from the School for Social Service Administration.

Ciara Malaugh - Program and Research Assistant

Ciara is a member of the Young Children and Families team, where she supports Project DULCE, a pediatric primary care intervention that promotes healthy child development. She is a recent graduate of the University of Alabama (UA), with a major in Political Science and minors in French and Psychology.  Ciara is also a 2016 Truman Scholar. While at UA, she worked with international garment workers on improving the labor standards of colleges and universities. Additionally, she was involved in many community organizing efforts around the state of Alabama and in facilitating post-conflict dialogue between American and Balkan youth. She recently completed an internship with the Forced Marriage Initiative at Tahirih Justice Center, where she helped provide services to and keep track of news/data around women and girls at risk of forced marriage. 

Elisa Minoff - Policy Analyst

Elisa Minoff helps advance CSSP's policy work, analyzing and providing technical assistance on a wide range of policies affecting the economic security of children and families. Prior to joining CSSP, Elisa served as a consultant on projects related to job quality and low-paid work and taught at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where she researched public benefits and workforce policies. 

Elisa holds a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. Her dissertation examining the relationship between migration and social policy won the William Nelson Cromwell Dissertation Prize from the American Society of Legal History. Earlier in her career, Elisa worked as a policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy and supported the Center for American Progress's Task Force on Poverty. She holds a bachelors degree from Princeton University.

Cailin O'Connor - Senior Associate

Cailin O'Connor works to promote better outcomes for young children and their families, with a focus on promotion of protective factors that children, families and communities need to thrive. This includes coordinating the Strengthening Families National Network of 35 states using CSSP’s Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework and supporting communities in their work to build innovative early childhood systems through the Early Childhood Learning and Innovation Network for Communities (EC-LINC). Coming from the field of family support and child abuse and neglect prevention, O’Connor’s work has addressed a wide range of issues, including adverse childhood experiences, cross-systems coordination, effective prevention strategies and evidence-informed program improvement. She is a graduate of Macalester College, and holds a master's degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a graduate certificate in Prevention and Intervention Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Rachel Paletta - Senior Associate

Rachel Paletta is responsible for monitoring and providing technical assistance to child welfare systems operating under federal consent decrees to improve practice for children and families.  Prior to joining CSSP, she was a child advocate attorney with the Council for Children’s Rights in Charlotte, North Carolina where she worked on a variety of issues, including child welfare, mental health and education.  Prior to that, Paletta had internships with  the Office of the Child’s Representative and Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center in Denver, CO, the Public Defender’s Office in St. Louis, MO and Family and Juvenile Drug Court in Providence, RI.  In 2010, she was certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist through the National Association of Counsel for Children.  She earned a law degree and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver.

Maya Pendleton - Policy Analyst

Maya Pendleton is a member of CSSP’s Systems Change team. She assists with providing monitoring and technical assistance to child welfare systems operating under federal consent decrees to improve outcomes for children and families. She also supports initiatives for the Alliance for Race and Equity. Prior to joining CSSP, Maya worked as a coordinator at BEST Kids, a nonprofit that provides mentorship to youth in foster care. Maya also interned at Freedman Consulting, where her research focused on creating opportunities for economic mobility in metropolitan areas through technological innovation. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Political Science, African American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration with a focus in social policy, race, and gender.

Lisa Primus - Senior Associate

Lisa Primus works to advance CSSP’s public system reform efforts, focusing on the use of data and research to inform policy, decision making and best practices. She is part of a team responsible for monitoring and providing technical assistance to child welfare systems operating under federal consent decrees to improve practice for children and families. Lisa also works on the Youth Thrive and Expectant and Parenting Youth in Foster Care initiatives, which focus on improving well-being outcomes for adolescents. Prior to working at CSSP, she was a trainer and a coach with the Research Foundation of CUNY where she trained child welfare workers in New York City on best practice for safety and risk assessment with a focus on promoting the transfer of learning. She has also directed a foster care placement prevention program and department of social services in a family homeless shelter in New York City. She is a graduate of the Temple University, and Columbia University's Graduate School of Social Work.

Martha Raimon - Senior Associate

Martha L. Raimon leads the CSSP team that monitors New Jersey’s compliance with a consent decree to improve the state’s child welfare system. Martha is also a senior member of the Youth Thrive initiative, which focuses on adolescents, primarily adolescents in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and supports CSSP’s Youth Thrive work in Vermont and New York City’s Department of Probation Juvenile Division. Prior to joining CSSP, Raimon directed the Incarcerated Mothers Law Project for the Women’s Prison Association, which provides legal representation and information to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated mothers. She also advances CSSP’s work to achieve reforms in family court, with a focus on improving parent representation. Raimon previously directed the Family Law Unit at South Brooklyn Legal Services and is an editor of Interrupted Life: Experiences of Women in Prison in the United States. In 2009, Raimon was awarded the Cornell Law School Alumni Exemplary Public Service Award. She is an attorney with over 25 years of experience working in the field of child welfare and has special expertise in the intersection of child welfare and criminal justice policies.

Rhiannon Reeves - Policy Analyst

Rhiannon Reeves joined CSSP as a policy/research assistant in 2015. Prior to joining CSSP, Rhiannon was a research assistant for the Child Care and Early Education team at CLASP, providing research support and analysis on federal and state-level child care and early education policies that support healthy child development and the needs of low-income working parents. She also worked at SisterSong, a network of regional and national grassroots organizations working to advance reproductive justice for women of color. Rhiannon is a graduate of Georgia State University and holds a bachelor's degree in African American Studies with a minor in sociology. 

Erin Robinson - Policy Analyst

Erin Robinson supports CSSP’s Prenatal to 3 Initiative and other projects on the Young Children and their Families team. Prior to joining CSSP, she worked as a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow in Congress. While on the Hill, Erin worked on education, labor, commerce and technology portfolios. Prior to her fellowship she graduated from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University with her Master of Public Policy. While at Heller she concentrated in children, youth and family policy. In the summer between her first and second years, she worked as a Sillerman Philanthropy Fellow at the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site. Before graduate school Erin was as an English teaching assistant through the Fulbright program in Germany and worked in college admissions. She is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Gayle Samuels - Senior Associate

Gayle Samuels helps advance CSSP’s child welfare system reform work, focusing on evaluating frontline practices in children's mental health and child protection. Prior to joining CSSP, she directed the qualitative case practice review program within the Office of Quality Improvement of the New York City child protection agency. Samuels’ additional professional experience includes assisting the legal representation of children and youth in family court in dependency, status offense and juvenile delinquency cases and coordinating a Head Start-based research and intervention project aimed at reducing violence. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and Columbia University's Graduate School of Social Work.

Anand Sharma - Senior Program Analyst

Anand Sharma helps advance CSSP’s community change work, which assists distressed communities in building the capacity needed to improve outcomes for children and families. Focusing on neighborhood investment, his work includes providing support and technical assistance to communities engaged in place-based revitalization efforts through the federal government’s Promise Neighborhoods initiative and Building Neighborhood Capacity Program. Prior to joining CSSP, Sharma taught at a New York City public school and served as a legislative correspondent at the New York City Council. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Emily Verburg - Program and Research Assistant

Emily is a member of CSSP’s Place-Based Innovations team, where she helps to advance the work of both the Strategic Alliance for Mixed-Income Housing and Innovation and the Mixed-Income Innovation and Action Network. She also supports the work of the Youth At Risk of Homelessness project, which seeks to end homelessness for New Jersey youth who have been involved in the child welfare system. Prior to joining CSSP, she worked as a volunteer coordinator for The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, where she recruited and trained volunteers to serve as Child Advocates for detained unaccompanied immigrant children. Emily also volunteers with Showing Up for Racial Justice – DC (SURJ-DC), and is committed to organizing white people to support local racial justice movements in dismantling white supremacy. She is a graduate of Beloit College and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Raquan Wedderburn - Program and Research Assistant

Raquan Wedderburn joined CSSP as a program and research assistant on the Young Children and their Families team supporting CSSP’s work as a consortium partner of the National Center for Parent, Family and Community Engagement. Prior to CSSP, she supported victims of domestic trafficking as a grant writing assistant at A Safe Place in North Carolina. She has also held positions as a peer health educator with DC’s Community of Hope and as a refugee health advocate with Lutheran Social Services. She is a graduate of the George Washington University and has a bachelor’s degree in international affairs, with a focus on global public health. 

Francie Zimmerman - Senior Associate

Francie Zimmerman is a senior associate working primarily on the Youth Thrive initiative that focuses on adolescents in child welfare and juvenile justice systems. She coordinates Youth Thrive’s National Network and supports New Jersey and Westchester, NY’s implementation efforts. Previously, Zimmerman was director of family services for Acelero Learning Head Start centers in North Philadelphia and Camden, NJ. In philanthropy, Zimmerman established and operated the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Child Abuse Prevention Program for over a decade. For many years, she was a consultant to the F. B. Heron Foundation which promoted homeownership and economic development strategies in low-income communities. Early in her career, she was an advocate for children in foster care, a special needs adoption caseworker and assistant to the director of a secure detention facility for children. She has served on several national advisory boards, including Project FUTURES and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Knowledge into Action Committee. Zimmerman holds a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College School of Social Work and a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Administrative & Operations

Gina R. Chaney - Executive Assistant/Meeting Planner

Gina Chaney is the executive assistant to the director and also CSSP’s meeting planner, with more than 25 years of experience in event management and as an administrative professional. In addition, she also serves as the main point of contact and liaison for all of CSSP’s technology needs. Prior to joining CSSP, she provided administrative support to the senior leadership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States National Veterans Service.

Monique Howard - Receptionist

Monique Howard is CSSP’s receptionist and handles many daily operational tasks as part of the Administrative team. She has more than four years of experience as an administrative professional providing support to various departments within an organization. Prior to joining CSSP, she was the receptionist and office manager for the National Association of Conservation Districts in Washington, DC.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Delaware State University.

William Howard - Accounting Assistant

William Howard is an accounting assistant at CSSP, where he supports operations of CSSP’s finance and accounting department. Prior to joining, CSSP, he worked within the Accounting Department for New Beginning Realty Group. 

Denise Thompkins - Executive Assistant/Contracts Manager

Denise Thompkins is CSSP’s contracts manager and executive assistant to the CFO and Deputy Director. While managing all aspects of CSSP’s contracts, she also helps to manage the Washington, DC office and handles personnel matters. Prior to joining CSSP, Thompkins was an administrative secretary in the College of Medicine and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Howard University, assisting faculty and the school’s Appointments and Promotions Committee. She also attended Howard University on a part-time basis while employed there.

Susan Tran - Accounting Manager

Susan Tran is responsible for overseeing and assisting in the daily operations of CSSP’s finance and accounting department. Prior to joining CSSP, she spent more than five years working at LTBD, an outsource accounting firm based in McLean, VA. While there, Tran provided a wide range of accounting services to clients in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors across the Washington, DC area. She graduated from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is currently a CPA candidate.

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