MISSION

The mission of Children and Family Futures is to improve safety, permanency, well-being and recovery outcomes for children, parents and families affected by trauma, substance use and mental health disorders.

Who We Are 2017-10-30T22:54:42+00:00

WHO WE ARE

Children and Family Futures is a national nonprofit organization based in Lake Forest, California that focuses on the intersections among child welfare, mental health, substance use disorder treatment, and court systems.  Children and Family Futures also operates a wholly owned For-Profit small business called Center for Children and Family Futures.  We have over two decades of experience in practice, policy, and evaluation arenas to support tribes, states, regions, and communities in their efforts to improve outcomes for children and families. We believe parents with mental health and substance use disorders should maintain hope of achieving recovery and family stability so they can care for their children. While no single system or agency working by itself can help parents achieve that goal, we recognize that recovery happens within the context of the family and professionals from a variety of agencies and systems must work together to meet the needs of families.

Children and Family Futures delivers award-winning services for its funders and customers on behalf of the children and families whose lives we seek to improve. The body of experience gained by responding to nearly 8,000 training and technical assistance requests in over 200 sites and conducting program evaluations and performance management with more than 100 sites has enabled us to develop planning and implementation methods that ensure the effectiveness of our services.

Children and Family Futures provides a full range of consulting, technical assistance, strategic planning, and evaluation services for substance use disorder treatment, child welfare, courts, and the communities they serve.

STAFF

Children and Family Futures employs diverse staff members who are located across the country. Our organizational expertise draws on the talents, skills, knowledge and experience of our team members who come from a variety of disciplines including child welfare, substance use disorder treatment, mental health and court systems. Our staff have experience at the federal, tribal, state, and local level in leadership and direct service positions, as well as experience in military service, international services, and academia. Staff’s experience as foster and adoptive parents and with persons in recovery also contribute to our outstanding technical assistance services.

Bob Gardner

Vice President for Administration and Finance, California State University San Bernardino

Mr. Gardner currently serves as VP for Admin/Finance at CSU San Bernardino.  He is responsible for managing the university’s over $250 million budget and maintaining the university’s infrastructure.

Mr. Gardner recently retired from Federal government service after serving for 31 years in a number of positions across several agencies.  His experience includes serving as CFO at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, CFO of the Transportation Security Administration, Assistant Commissioner for Budget at the Immigration and Naturalization Service, CFO of the Veterans Benefits Administration, Assistant Controller of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Deputy Inspector General in the Small Business Administration.  He is a graduate of the University of Redlands and has an MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University

Gisela Gómez

Program Manager, CalOptima – Healthy Families Program

Ms. Gómez has been with the Healthy Families Program at CalOptima for 5 years. She is involved in multiple aspects of administration/operations and quality monitoring for the Program, as well as direct contact with beneficiaries of the Program. Ms. Gómez graduated from UC Berkeley and has a Master’s of Public Health from UCLA. She previously served as Sid Gardner’s, the president of Children and Family Futures, program assistant at the Center for Collaboration for Children, California State University at Fullerton, where she assisted in the annual Orange County Conditions of Children reports as well as in the production of Sid’s book, Beyond Collaboration to Results.

Gary Solomon

Professor of Psychology, Community College of Southern Nevada

Dr. Gary Solomon, the pioneer in the field of Cinematherapy and a full-time professor at Community College of Southern Nevada, recently published his second book on the subject entitled “Reel Therapy”.  He has a doctorate in psychology and master’s degrees in social work and public health. Dr. Solomon teaches courses in general psychology and abnormal psychology at the Henderson Campus of CCSN.

Elizabeth Stanley-Salazar

Vice President and Director of Public Policy, Phoenix House

Ms. Stanley-Salazar is the Vice President and Director of Public Policy for Phoenix House of California. Phoenix House is the largest non-profit provider of substance abuse services in the country, and California is currently its largest region. Prior to her current position, Ms. Stanley-Salazar was the Regional Vice President for Phoenix House California Region leading its growth from a worth of $5 million to approximately $50 million. She served as Chief Deputy Director of the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs under the Directorate of Dr. Andy Mecca. She has extensive experience and expertise in increasing access through collaboration and integrated services to substance abuse treatment services to youth, adults and families. She has successfully championed (1) increasing the availability of substance abuse treatment for adolescents who have not yet come to the attention of the juvenile justice or child protective systems, and (2) establishing new treatment programs for women with children, allowing women on parole to regain custody of their children as they improve their parenting skills along with maintaining their abstinence.

Ms. Stanley-Salazar expertise includes: strategic planning; values clarification; developing operational procedures; program development and implementation; contract structure, negotiations and budget management; communication protocols; cross-system training; client confidentially rules; data and information systems management; screening tools; substance abuse assessment; children of substance abuser interventions and prevention programming; co-location of substance abuse and child welfare staff; child welfare, substance abuse or court programs; women’s comprehensive treatment; culturally relevant services; IV-E Waivers; funding of comprehensive services; and judicial systems of family/dependency and family drug courts. She has experience in operational, systems and policy levels

Nancy K. Young, PhD, MSW

Executive Director

Dr. Nancy K. Young is the Executive Director of Children and Family Futures (CFF), a California-based research and policy institute whose mission is to improve safety, permanency, well-being and recovery outcomes for children, parents and families affected by trauma, substance use and mental disorders. CFF operates a number of evaluation and technical assistance programs. Since 2002, she has served as the Director of the federally-funded National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare and the Director of the Administration on Children and Families technical assistance program for the Regional Partnership Grants since 2007. In 2010, she began serving as the Director of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s technical assistance program for Family Drug Courts and the Statewide System Reform Program in 2014. She led the effort to create the foundation-funded Prevention and Family Recovery Program to implement evidence-based parenting and children’s intervention in family drug courts in 2013.

Dr. Young has been involved in numerous projects related to public policy analysis, strategic planning and program evaluation through her work with these programs and serving as a consultant to various states, counties, tribes, communities and foundations on behalf of the children, parents and families affected by substance use and mental disorders involved in the child welfare and judicial systems. Prior to founding Children and Family Futures in 1996, Dr. Young served as the research consultant to the Directorate of the State of California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

Dr. Young received her Ph.D. and Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California, School of Social Work and is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton. During her doctoral studies, she was the recipient of a pre-doctoral fellowship with the National Institute on Drug Abuse focusing on the public policy and research issues pertaining to children affected by parental substance use disorders. Dr. Young’s work and that of CFF has been recognized by the Federal Administration on Children and Families through the Outstanding Contractor of the Year Award in 2006 and by a resolution issued by the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2008. Dr. Young has also been recognized by the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors as a recipient of the Robert E. Anderson Service Award in 2008 and the Women’s Service Champion Award in 2014.  Dr. Young and her husband, Mr. Sidney Gardner, fostered and subsequently adopted two children who embody the policy and practice issues about which the work of Children and Family Futures is grounded.

Sidney L. Gardner, MPA, MA

President

Mr. Gardner serves as President of Children and Family Futures, Inc. He served as Director of the Center for Collaboration for Children at California State University, Fullerton from 1991-2001. He is the author of Beyond Collaboration to Results, published by Arizona State University, which assesses the recent history of community collaboratives in the context of the growing move toward results-based accountability. His four-stage model of the developmental life cycle of collaboratives has been used extensively throughout the nation, along with a self-assessment instrument for collaboratives and a Collaborative Values Inventory designed to assess the degree of consensus on underlying values within a collaborative. Mr. Gardner´s book, Cities, Counties, Kids, and Families: the Essential Role of Local Government (2005), describes a model for developing strategic policy for children and family policy in local governments.

Mr. Gardner has served as a staff member of the White House Domestic Council, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Director of the California Tomorrow Youth at Risk Project, Director of the Hartford Private Industry Council, and an elected member of the City Council in Hartford, Connecticut from 1977 to 1981. He has taught courses at seven universities.

He graduated from Occidental College and was awarded a Master´s degree in Public Affairs from Princeton University in 1965 and a Master´s degree in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary in 1986. Mr. Gardner is a Vietnam veteran, and lives in Mission Viejo with his wife, Nancy Young, and two of their four children. He is also the author of eight novels.

A description of Sid Gardner’s novels can be found here

Charles D. Williams, MBA

Chief Financial Officer

Serving as the Chief Financial Officer of Children and Family Futures, Inc. (CFF) since 2002, Mr. Williams manages the full scope of the organizations financial operations, including financial planning, analysis, and reporting as well as the Accounting and Information Technology departments. During the first year of his tenure, Mr. Williams’s efforts dramatically improved CFF’s financial performance. With over 15 years of experience, Mr. Williams has successfully supported corporations with infrastructure development for the purpose of streamlining processes and increasing overall organizational efficiency and productivity. He brings a strong commitment to maintaining a customer service culture that fosters communication and promotes service quality in financial and accounting environments. His superior organization and communication skills, coupled with his ability to present complex financial concepts, supports exceptionally effective relationships with Federal partners, contractors, consultants, staff, and others involved in the organizations financial processes.

Mr. Williams holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from California State University, Long Beach. Prior to assuming his position at CFF, Mr. Williams served as the Director of Accounting and Special Sales Controller for Home Base, Inc., a $1.5 billion enterprise. In addition, he has served as a Senior Manager and Advisor on numerous finance, operations, accounting, and IT projects.

Phil Breitenbucher, MSW
Program Director

Mr. Breitenbucher is a Director at Children and Family Futures where he manages multiple programs and initiatives as a nationally recognized expert, author and speaker on Family Drugs Courts. Since 2010, Mr. Breitenbucher has served as Program Director of the federally-funded National Family Drug Court Training and Technical Assistance Program supported by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and OJJDP’s Statewide System Reform Program since 2014. He also serves as Program Director of the Family Drug Treatment Court Grantee Performance Measurement and Technical Assistance project supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Since 2013, Mr. Breitenbucher has served as Program Director for the Prevention and Family Recovery Initiative supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Duke Endowment. With nearly 20 years of experience in the management of public child welfare and community-based prevention services, he has successfully implemented and managed three Family Drug Court programs and four Family Resource Centers in addition to various prevention, diversion and early intervention programs for children and families. From 2010 to 2015, Mr. Breitenbucher Co-Directed the Children Affected by Methamphetamine (CAM) program supported by SAMHSA and managed the design and implementation of an effective national training model utilizing a wide range of computer-based and communications technologies. In addition, he co-authored and directed the development of the Family Drug Court Guidelines and created the nation’s first Family Drug Court Mentor sites.

Mr. Breitenbucher received his Master of Social Work from California State University, San Bernardino and his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California Baptist University. He also holds a Certificate in Addiction and Recovery from Light University. In addition to serving as a consultant to States and local jurisdictions for the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare, he co-founded and serves as the Vice-President of the California Collaborative Justice Courts Foundation.

Ken DeCerchio, MSW, CAP
Program Director

Mr. DeCerchio currently serves as Program Director of the Regional Partnership Grant (RPG) program and the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare’s In-Depth Technical Assistance Program (IDTA) at Children and Family Futures (CFF). In his current roles, he is responsible for the overall management of the RPG programmatic technical assistance program supporting 21 grantees, and technical assistance to seven states to improve outcomes for infants affected by prenatal substance exposure and families in the child welfare system affected by substance use disorders. Mr. DeCerchio facilitates communications with Federal Project Officers, and collaborates with the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare on implementation of the technical assistance program.

Mr. DeCerchio joined the staff of CFF in July 2007 after 27 years of experience in the management of community-based substance use disorder and mental health services. Mr. DeCerchio served as the Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Florida from 2005 to 2007. Prior to this appointment, he served as the State Substance Abuse Director with the Department of Children and Families Services for 10 years. He also served on Florida´s Supreme Court Task Force on Treatment-Based Drug Courts. In November 2001, Governor Bush appointed Mr. DeCerchio as Deputy Director for Treatment to the Florida Office of Drug Control. He was appointed to the Governor´s Drug Policy Advisory Council in 1999, and in 2004 he was appointed by Secretary Tommy Thompson to serve on CSAT´s National Advisory Council.

In June 2005, Mr. DeCerchio received NASADAD´s Service Award for his leadership and support in the substance use disorder prevention and treatment field. In August, 2007, Mr. DeCerchio received the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association´s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to prevention and treatment services in Florida. Mr. DeCerchio has been a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem for children in foster care since October 2008. He received his Master´s degree in Social Work from Florida State University and is a Certified Addictions Professional.

Larisa Owen, PhD, MBA
Program Director

Dr. Owen serves as a Program Director who works on several programs including leading the veterans and military families project within the organization. Dr. Owen also works on Knowledge Management and Development, responsible for organizing CFF’s extensive resources, and new project development in several areas, health care reform, home visiting, and legal remedies for children and families affected by substance use disorders. Dr. Owen is the Co-Chair of the Children and Families subcommittee working group of the Orange County Veterans and Military Families Collaborative.

Prior to her work at CFF, Dr. Owen held several senior management roles with experience in corporate and nonprofit organizations. She was responsible for financial, administrative, human resources, legal, operations process improvements and decision making including the training curricula and logistics for corporate-wide training events focused on legal, human resources, finance, safety, IT and risk management. She negotiated with government agencies on compliance issues, and on external funding development including identifying and preparing proposals for foundation and corporate funding prospects.

Dr. Owen currently serves as a member of The California State Military Reserve (CSMR). CSMR is a state-supported agency with the primary mission of supporting the Soldiers and Airmen of the California National Guard (CNG) in its Homeland Defense, Homeland Security missions and service to California during times of State Emergencies. Soldiers and Airmen in the CSMR are sworn members of the California Military Department. Captain Owen works with the Judge Advocate General (JAG) unit which provides legal services to deploying and returning military personnel.

Dr. Owen received her Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Legal Studies from the University of LaVerne, holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and a PhD in Public Policy and the Law.

Nancy Hansen, Operations Director, MSW
Operations Director

Ms. Hansen currently serves as the Operations Director for Children and Family Futures. In this capacity, she is responsible for coordinating activities across the organization and federally-funded contracts to develop knowledge and provide technical assistance and expertise on collaborative practice for the purpose of improving policies and service delivery to children of parents with substance use disorders and their affected families involved in child welfare and family court systems. Ms. Hansen is responsible for managing five Functional Teams working across multiple program areas and contracts. Supporting the Executive Director, she facilitates communications across multiple program areas regarding CFF’s day-to-day operations and supervises the core tasks of staff in the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare. In addition, Ms. Hansen facilitates technical assistance with individual grantees for the Regional Partnership Grant program and contributes to broader strategies that support program improvement and strengthen collaborative practice.

Ms. Hansen has more than 30 years of experience in social services with particular focus on initiatives relating to substance use disorders in child welfare systems for nearly a decade.  She received both her Master of Social Work and Bachelor of Science in Family Studies from Arizona State University.

Tina Willauer, MPA
Program Director

[Bio incoming]

Alexis Balkey, MPA, RAS
Sr. Program Associate

Amanda Kellerman, MSW
Sr. Program Associate

Jane Pfeifer, MPA
Sr. Program Associate

Jennifer Foley, BS
Sr. Program Associate

Jill Gresham, MA
Sr. Program Associate

Kim Bishop-Stevens, LICSW
Sr. Program Asscociate

Kim Coe, BSW
Sr. Program Associate

Kimberly Dennis, MPA
Sr. Program Associate

Marianna Corona, MSW, LCSW
Senior Program Associate

Russ Bermejo, MSW
Sr. Program Associate

Theresa Lemus, MBA, RN, LADC
Sr. Program Associate

Yueqi Yan, MA, MSW, PhD
Sr. Research and Evaluation Program Manager

Annabelle Hussaini, MSW
Program Associate

Ashay Shah, MSW
Program Associate

Claudia Alvarez, MSW
Program Associate

Dara Nix, MS
Program Associate

Katie Ryan, MPA
Program Associate

Melissa Luján, PhDc, MA
Program Associate

Tessa Richter, LCSW, MSW
Program Associate

Janelle A. Sanders, MA
Research Specialist

Jenna Robinson, MSW
Program Specialist

Kelly Jones, BA
Program Specialist

Lisa McElroy, MSW
Program Specialist

Sarah O’Rourke, MSW, MSPH
Program Specialist/Assistant to the Executive Director

Someh Lewis, MSW
Program Specialist

Sonia Martinez, MSW
Program Specialist

Björn Edwards, BS
Accounting Finance Manager

Cindy Stewart
Administrator

Kristine Ferguson, AA
Administrative Assistant

Lori Jacobucci
Office Manager

Alex Torrence, BA
Administrative Assistant

Marissa Colliflower, AA
Administrative Assistant

Annette Morrison, BA
Administrative Assistant

Linda Tran, BA
Administrative Assistant

Lexi Allison, BS
Administrative Assistant

Curtis Carter
Information Technology and Telecommunications Manager

Jonathan Mithers
Project Technology Manager

Michael Franzen, BS
Technical Support Assistant