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Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces NYC Children's Cabinet Advisory Board

January 28, 2016

NEW YORK—The de Blasio administration today announced the seating of members to the newly created NYC Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board. The Board will allow City agencies that comprise the Cabinet to leverage the expertise, relationships and resources of non-government experts. Members of the Board include appointees from all five boroughs in academia, faith, media, business, technology, the non-profit sector and the judiciary.

“I created the NYC Children’s Cabinet to enhance the ways in which City agencies promote and protect our children’s well-being. This was always an all-hands-on-deck approach and I commend our newest partners in this endeavor for accepting this most special charge,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The NYC Children’s Cabinet is an initiative driving policy to support children’s health and well-being across 24 City agencies, identifying and analyzing individual and common areas of work. The Cabinet is chaired by Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery and Benita Miller is the Executive Director.

“Our children are best served when the city’s brightest minds are working together, and together we will keep working to make New York City the best big city in America to raise children,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery

“We value our partners outside of government as thought partners and policy implementers, and here we have an all-star team. I look forward to working with them and delivering on progress for New York City families,” said NYC Children’s Cabinet Executive Director Benita Miller

The NYC Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board will be co-chaired by Wendy Reynoso, CEO of Global Potential, and the Honorable Monica Drinane, retired Family Court Supervising Judge in Bronx County.

As part of the City’s expanded commitment to early childhood development, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor Richard Buery will host a series of NYC Baby Showers for expectant and new parents and caregivers, the first of which will take place on Saturday, February 6, 2016.

NYC Children’s Cabinet Initiatives

The “Talk to Your Baby, Their Brain Depends on It” public awareness campaign is aimed at promoting “attachment parenting” and early brain development among children ages 0-3. The campaign includes online and printed resources with information and tips for parents and caregivers, subway advertisements and digital outreach. Also, the Cabinet is distributing 200,000 copies of “Love Is/Amor Es” in partnership with the Clinton Foundation’s “Too Small to Fail” Initiative as well as Reach Out and Read program and Sesame Street. Recently, the Cabinet expanded its public awareness efforts to include advertisements on city bus shelters and the launch of city-wide Baby Showers hosted by First Lady Chirlane McCray.

Through the Early Years Collaborative Place-Based Initiative, the NYC Children’s Cabinet is working to understand the needs of babies in the context of their families and communities by taking a place-based approach to: increase healthy pregnancies, support school readiness, and promote secure parent-child attachment. The Place-Based Initiative which is underway in the South Bronx and Brownsville Brooklyn relies on city government collaboration, targeted program investment, data collection, and partnerships with local community based organizations in order to be successful. 

NYC Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board Members

Alan van Capelle is the Chief Executive Officer of Educational Alliance, a network of community centers offering social, educational, cultural and recreational services, programs, and events to the diverse population of downtown Manhattan. He has previously served as Deputy Comptroller for the City of New York, where he advised the agency on all matters involving public policy, media, and community relations.  He has also served as a member of the New York City Banking Commission. Mr. van Capelle earned his MPA from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University and holds Bachelor of Science degree from the City University of New York.

Dr. Angela Diaz, MPH is the Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor in Adolescent Health and Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine. She is also the Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. The Center provides high quality, comprehensive, integrated, interdisciplinary primary care, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, dental and health education service for over 11,000 vulnerable, disadvantaged, uninsured youth. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and President and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Children’s Aid Society of New York.

Angie Wang is Chief of Staff to Abigail Disney, and a longtime advocate for women and immigrant rights. She is the former Executive Director of Peace Is Loud, a non-profit organization that uses the power of media to amplify women's voices for peace-building. She was also the Outreach Director for Women, War & Peace at Fork Films and Director of Programs at The New York Women's Foundation.

Anjali Kumar is the General Counsel and Head of Social Innovation at Warby Parker. Ms. Kumar was Senior Counsel at Google NY, where she was a commercial and product attorney on areas ranging from Google X to advertising technology to YouTube. She also curated the @Google speaker series, bringing Googlers around the globe face-to-face with some of today's most prominent thinkers. Pre-Google, she was General Counsel at Acumen Fund, an attorney at Shearman & Sterling and led strategic planning at Robin Hood Foundation. She earned her BA in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University and her JD from Boston University School of Law.

Anne Williams-Isom is the Chief Executive Officer of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). Ms. Williams-Isom assumed the position of CEO in July 2014, before which she served for five years as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, directly overseeing HCZ’s more than 2,000 staff. Prior to HCZ, she worked in leadership for 13 years at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, concluding her tenure as Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Community and Government Affairs. She holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a B.A. in political science and psychology from Fordham University.

Bill Baccaglini is the President and CEO of The New York Foundling. Prior to coming to The Foundling, Mr. Baccaglini spent more than twenty years in New York State government, developing programs and policies directly impacting children, youth and families. He was instrumental in the creation of the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OFCS) in Albany, where later he served as Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Development. He holds Master Degrees from both the State University of New York at Albany and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Brockport.

Clarisa James is the Co-Founder/Executive Director of DIVAS (Digital Interactive Visual Arts Sciences) for Social Justice. For the past seven years DIVAS has provided free or sliding scale technology training to youth in underserved communities in Brooklyn and Queens. Ms. James has been dedicated to youth development work for the past 15 years in the roles of Teaching Artist, Afterschool Director, Curriculum Specialist and Organizer. Ms. James has facilitated workshops that help youth develop multimedia projects around environmental justice, housing, leadership development and reproductive justice. Ms. James holds an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College's Film & Media Department.

Craig Longley, Executive Director of Catholic Guardian Services, has more than 30 years of experience in the field of human services management. A graduate of Ithaca College, with an MPA from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, Mr. Longley joined Catholic Guardian Services in 1996 and became its Executive Director in 2012. Before joining Catholic Guardian Services, Mr. Longley was an Assistant Commissioner with the City of New York, Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), where, among other accomplishments, he provided oversight for the non-kinship foster care placement division, responsible for 14,000 foster care placements annually. 

Deborah McCoy is the managing director of Robin Hood Foundation’s its Early Childhood and Youth grant making portfolio, including support for a range of projects aimed at improving community college persistence and graduation.  Prior to joining Robin Hood, Deborah worked for six years at The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation on its evaluation and portfolio management team to identify, select and guide investments in youth development programs. Ms. McCoy also served as director of minority affairs at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and as the director of public policy at the Community Service Society of New York. Deborah has a B.A. in Political Science from Barnard and a Master of Public Administration and Master of Philosophy from Columbia.   

Denise Rosario is the founding executive director of the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services.  Ms. Rosario is a recipient of numerous awards including the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Award, and the New York Women’s Foundation Neighborhood Women Leadership Award. Born and raised in El Barrio (East Harlem), New York, Ms. Rosario is proud to be a graduate of the NYC public school system.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1980 and her Master of Social Work degree in 1981 from New York University School of Social Work.

Douglas O’Dell is the Executive Director of SCO Family of Services where he has served in various other roles during his 24 years at the organization. He is an expert in the field of services to vulnerable populations of children, families and adults. During his time at SCO, he created SCO’s alternative to detention and placement programs serving court-involved youth in their homes with family-based therapy and community-based residences. He also launched the agency's Family Therapy Intervention Pilot which promotes families' acceptance of their LGBTQ children and provides services to reduce negative risk factors experienced by LGBTQ youth.

The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson is the Executive Pastor of The Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY.  She is graduate of Fisk University (BA Double major - Religious and Philosophical Studies and Music) and Union Theological Seminary in New York City (MDiv). She has previously served as the Interim Executive Director for Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families, the Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund – New York, the Executive Director of Girls Incorporated of New York City, and the Executive Vice President for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.

Greg Worrell is president of Scholastic Classroom and Community Group and responsible for the development and management of Scholastic's business strategy for instructional programs within the education market. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for One Hundred Black Men of New York and as co-chair for the organization’s education committee, Mr. Worrell is a past president of the board of directors of the Association of Educational Publishers and is a current board member of the Association of American Publishers and Institute for Educational Leadership.

Hirokazu Yoshikawa is the Courtney Sale Ross Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU Steinhardt and a University Professor at NYU, and Co-Director of the Global TIES for Children center at NYU. In 2012, he was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate as a member of the National Board for Education Sciences. He currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Integration of Immigrants into American Society, the National Academy of Sciences Forum on Investing in Young Children Globally, and the boards of the Russell Sage Foundation, the Foundation for Child Development, the UNESCO Global Monitoring Report, and the Open Society Foundations Early Childhood Development Program. He obtained his PhD in clinical psychology from NYU.

Irwin Redlener is the Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He also directs the Earth Institute's Program on Child Well-Being and Resilience, an interdisciplinary academic center to support greater understanding of the issues, challenges, and opportunities involving children and youth. At the medical school Dr. Redlener also holds professorships in Health Policy & Management at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and in Pediatrics. In 2014 he was appointed as Special Advisor on Emergency Response to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Dr. Irwin Redlener is also President and Co-Founder, with Paul Simon, of the Children’s Health Fund, a philanthropic initiative created to develop health care programs in 25 of the nation’s most medically underserved urban and rural communities.

Dr. Jacqueline B. Mondros, D.S.W., currently serves as Dean of the School of Social Welfare and Assistant Vice President of Health Sciences at Stony Brook University SUNY. For the previous nine years she served as Professor and Dean at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College CUNY where she led the School to its’ ranking among the nation’s top twenty Schools of Social Work.  She also serves as President of the National Deans and Directors of Social Work. Dr. Mondros received her masters and doctorate from University of Pennsylvania. She has written extensively on community based social services and community organizing, and throughout her career she has worked to bring the resources of academia to effect positive change in urban neighborhoods across the country.

The Honorable Jeanette Ruiz is the Administrative Judge for Family Court. Judge Ruiz attended Georgetown Law School and previously worked at Harlem Dowling West Side Center for Children and Family Services as General Counsel and New York City's Administration for Children's Services -Division of Family Permanency Services, Deputy Commissioner.

Jess Dannhauser is the President and CEO of Graham Windham. Before joining Graham Windham in 2009, Mr. Dannhauser served as Associate Commissioner for Performance Measurement, Monitoring and Improvement for NYC's Administration for Children's. Prior to joining ACS, he was Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services Mr. Dannhauser earned his MSW at University of California, Berkeley School of Social Welfare and his BA at Duke University. 

Karen P. Simmons is the Executive Director of The Children’s Law Center. She is currently an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School.  Prior to law school, Ms. Simmons worked for the New York City Human Resources Administration and the Child Welfare Administration now called the Administration for Children’s Services.  She has been a Staff Attorney and Borough Attorney in Charge with the Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice as well as a Director with the New York State Office of Court Administration’s Bronx Felony Drug Treatment Court.

Leah A. Hill, a Fulbright Scholar and Clinical Associate Professor at Fordham University School of Law, teaches in the area of family law and clinical education with particular emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches to family law problems.  Ms. Hill has lectured and consulted extensively in the United States and abroad and has frequently served as a commentator in the news media on a variety of family law issues.

Maritza Arroyo is the Executive Director of Zone 126.  During the past eleven years, she has been dedicated to education reform, where Ms. Arroyo found her calling. A graduate of Hofstra University, Ms. Arroyo attended the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business where she completed a Certificate in Executive Management Leadership. In 2011, she was selected as an emerging nonprofit leader at the Social Impact Exchange. Ms. Arroyo was recently selected as a Presidio Institute Cross Sector Leadership Fellows, and serves on the NYC DOE Community District Education Council #30.

Dr. Michael A. Carrera is the Thomas Hunter Professor Emeritus of Health Sciences at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and Adjunct Professor of Community Medicine at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. He began his teaching career in l959 at a Junior High School in the Bronx. Since 1970, he has directed the Adolescent Sexuality and Pregnancy Prevention Programs for The Children's Aid Society in New York. His first book, Sex, The Facts, The Acts and Your Feelings, has been translated into l7 languages. His two books Sexual Health for Men: Your A to Z Guide, and Sexual Health For Women: Your A to Z Guide are widely used by health services and child care agencies. Another book, The Language of Sex, is a high school and college resource book. His latest book is Working With Teens When The Topic Is Hope - Lessons For Lifeguards

Mike O’Brien is the CEO of iMentor. Mike joined iMentor in 2003 and became iMentor’s CEO in 2007. Mr. O’Brien is a member of the board of directors at Blue Engine and BUILD. He is also the recipient of an Ashoka Fellowship, which recognizes leading social entrepreneurs who have innovative solutions to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society. He began his career as a high school teacher in East New York, Brooklyn, where he also coached the boys’ basketball team and launched an after-school writing program. He is a graduate of Bucknell University.

The Honorable Monica Drinane is a retired Family Court Supervising Judge in Bronx County and former Attorney-in-Charge of the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice. Judge Drinane received her undergraduate degree from St. John's University, her master's degree from Fordham University and her J.D. from the New York University School of Law. She served briefly as a judge of the Civil Court in 2007 before being appointed to a full term on the family court. She was appointed supervising judge of the family court in 2009.

Nicholas Turner joined Vera as its fifth president and director in August, 2013. Prior to joining he was a managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation. Mr. Turner was previously vice president and chief program officer at Vera. Previously, he was an associate in the litigation department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York from 1997 to 1998. He was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Jack. B. Weinstein. Mr. Turner received his BA from Yale College and his JD from Yale Law School.

Nick Ehrmann is the CEO & Founder of Blue Engine. Blue Engine recruits, trains, and supports recent college graduates to work with students and teachers in public high schools, reducing student-instructor ratios to customize learning and help students master advanced academic skills for high school and college success. He began his career in education as a Teach for America corps member in Washington D.C., joining forces with local philanthropists in 2002 to launch the nonprofit Project 312 in partnership with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation.

Patti Miller is the director of Too Small to Fail for the Clinton Foundation. Too Small to Fail is a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation. Prior to joining the Clinton Foundation, Ms. Miller spent five years as Vice President of Public Policy for Sesame Workshop, the non-profit producer of Sesame Street. She holds an M.A. in Social Sciences in Education from Stanford University and a B.A. in Mass Communications from the University of California at Berkeley.

Phoebe Boyer is the 11th president and chief executive officer of the Children’s Aid Society. Phoebe comes to Children’s Aid from the Robertson Foundation, a $1 billion family foundation created by Julian Robertson and his family that takes a targeted approach to supporting critical national issues, including education reform. Ms. Boyer also served for 12 years as the executive director of the Tiger Foundation. Before her work with foundations, she worked at Inwood House.

Ronald E. Richter has worked since 1990 on behalf of vulnerable New Yorkers as a Legal Aid lawyer, City Hall staffer, ACS commissioner and family court judge. At the end of May 2015, he became the Chief Executive Officer of JCCA. During his tenure at ACS, Mr. Richter introduced evidence-based, foster care practice models for the first time, and helped secure flexibility in Federal IV-E funding; was deeply involved in drafting and implementing Close to Home. Prior to working as a judge and for the City, Richter was a lawyer for thirteen years with The Legal Aid Society. Mr. Richter earned his B.A. from Tufts University, his M.S. from Boston University College of Communications and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law. 

Russell Granet, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Education (LCE), is internationally known for his work in arts education. Mr. Granet has also held leadership positions at The Center for Arts Education—The NYC Annenberg Challenge; The American Place Theatre; and was a senior teaching artist at the Creative Arts Team. Since 1995 he has been on the faculty at New York University, where he developed and teaches the course Drama with Special Populations. He was awarded the Founder’s Award from The Bronx Charter School for the Arts for his work in Arts Education, and the Arts and Culture award from the Turkish Cultural Center. Mr. Granet’s leadership was cited as “visionary” in the 2013 Proclamation by the City of New York, bestowed upon LCE in recognition of its outstanding services to the arts and education communities.

Sharon A. Myrie, Chief Executive Officer, joined LIFT in September 2013. Ms. Myrie has broad experience in nonprofit management, citywide programs administration, and policy implementation. Prior to LIFT, she was Executive Vice President for Community Programs and Development for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Ms. Myrie also served as General Counsel and Deputy Director of the Office on Homelessness and SRO Housing under former Mayor David N. Dinkins. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Ithaca College, and a Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School.

Sonia Bhuta joined South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!) as Executive Director in August 2014.  Prior to this, Ms. Bhuta spent close to a decade at Educational Alliance in a variety of roles across program administration, strategic program planning, fundraising, and communications. She holds a Master in Science in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.

Stephanie Nilva is an attorney and the Executive Director of Day One. She previously served as the Executive Director of Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT). Stephanie has published two articles for practitioners on the subject of teen dating abuse and appears on national television as an expert in the field. She graduated from Hamilton College with a Bachelor of Arts and received her juris doctorate degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she was awarded the Jonathan A. Weiss Award for Public Interest.

Steve Choi is the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and was previously the Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action. Prior to that, Mr. Choi was Director of the Korean Workers Project at the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund. His previous experience includes working for the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center in Boston, Greater Boston Legal Services, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Los Angeles.  Mr. Choi received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a M.A. from the University of Hawai’i, and a B.A. from Stanford University in History with Honors. 

Susan Jacobs, Esq. is the founding Executive Director and President of the Center for Family Representation and directs CFR’s overall program and vision. Prior to founding CFR, she served as the Director of Family Law and Senior Managing Attorney at the Legal Action Center (LAC) in NYC where she represented parents and litigated on behalf of individuals with HIV, alcohol and drug-related disabilities. Ms. Jacobs is a graduate of Cornell University. In addition to her law degree from Brooklyn Law School, she has a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of North Carolina.

Susan B. Neuman is a Professor and Chair of Teaching and Learning at New York University specializing in education and early childhood policy. Previously, she has been a Professor at the University of Michigan and has served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education under George W. Bush. In her role as Assistant Secretary, she established government policies that we were targeted to improving the lives of people who live in poverty. Dr. Neuman has authored 11 books that focus on how education and educational policies among them, “Changing the Odds for Children at Risk” and “Giving Children a Fighting Chance.” 

Wendy Reynoso is the CEO of Global Potential has 20 years of experience in the non-profit educational field, specifically working with vulnerable children and families. She has a proven track record in non-profit management; leadership coaching; fundraising; strategic planning and program development. In the last twelve years, Ms. Reynoso has served as the Executive Director for both The Children's Storefront and The GO Project. She holds a C.A.S. in Educational Administration from Steinhardt School of Education, New York University, an Ed. M. in the Sociology of Education with a concentration in Educational Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University, a M.A. in Elementary/Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a BA. from Oberlin College.  She also completed the Institute for Not-for-Profit Executive Level Program at the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University.

Zeinab Chahine is a Managing Director for Strategic Consulting and head of Casey Family Programs' New York City Office where she is responsible for 14 states and various local jurisdictions providing technical assistance to improve child welfare outcomes and safely reduce foster care placements. Ms. Chahine is considered a national expert in the child welfare field. Prior to joining Casey Family Programs, Ms. Chahine served as the Administration for Children's Services Executive Deputy Commissioner for Child Welfare Programs.  

Zeinab Eyega is the Executive Director and Founder of Sauti Yetu and is from southern Sudan and received her BA from the School for International Training in Vermont and a graduate degree in Health Policy from the New School University. Ms. Eyega’s published work includes "Facts and Fiction Regarding Female Circumcision/Female Genital Mutilation: A Pilot Study in New York City.” Her areas of work include but are not limited to issues gender, race and ethnicity in the Afro-Arab border lands and women's protection and rights in conflict, post conflict regions of Africa.

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