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Staff Directory

Main Office
120 Albany Street, 5th Floor
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
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Princeton Site
3 Independence Way
Princeton, NJ 08540
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Parsippany Site
1719 Route 10 East
Parsippany, NJ 07054
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Cherry Hill Site
3 Executive Campus
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
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Theresa McCutcheon, MSW
Managing Director, Institute for Families



As Managing Director of the Institute for Families, Tess brings 25 years of success developing and managing programs to effectively strengthen vulnerable children and families and build the capacity of the professionals who support them. As a leader commanding practical knowledge of social service systems and the professionals within them, she has led organizations in the prevention, early learning, education, and child welfare sectors.  Tess joined IFF after leadership roles for statewide child abuse prevention agency, training nationally for several parenting models, overseeing a school-based program for at-risk youth, managing volunteer centers, and mobilizing support for a statewide home visitation network. Tess earned her MSW from Rutgers in 1992 and serves as a board member for several volunteer organizations. In her previous roles at IFF, she served as the Director of the Office of Child Welfare Workforce Advancement. Theresa is working toward her MBA, is a part-time lecturer for Rutgers, and is the mother of two spirited young boys.

Ilona Arnold Berkovits
Director of Research and Evaluation



Lon brings 20 years of experience in research, evaluation, assessment, and project management. She has worked closely with government, corporate, and academic institutions, and has managed research programs at Rutgers University since 2014.  Lon’s most recent responsibilities at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology include leading a $40M School System Improvement project. She has a history of work in the area of equity, particularly in education. Dr. Arnold-Berkovits’ responsibilities at IFF include developing and leading applied research programs, and coordinating the team of professionals conducting training and program evaluation efforts. On weekends, she can be found teaching electronics to elementary school students, or coaching a middle school Ultimate Frisbee league.

Maureen Braun-Scalera, LCSW
Director of Training Services
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Maureen joined IFF full-time in May 2011 as the Director of the Office of Child Welfare Initiatives. In this role, she oversaw the expansion of the Child Welfare Training Partnership, which provides professional development for public child welfare staff. Under Maureen’s tenure, the Partnership developed over 100 course curriculums and greatly increased the training offerings for the DCF community. In November 2013, Maureen brought Transitions for Youth, a suite of services that work with youth transitioning out of the child welfare system, into the Office of Child Welfare Initiatives. Responsibilities were divided into two separate offices in the fall of 2015 with Maureen assuming oversight of the newly formed Office of Youth Empowerment. Maureen’s work to improve the lives of families involved in the child welfare system began with the statewide implementation of Family Preservation Services. Other notable work has included training and technical assistance to start up the first Family Success Centers and Parent Linking Projects in NJ.

Alex Figueroa 
Manager, Human Service Initiatives
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Alexander joined IFF in May 2006 and is currently the Associate Program Manager, Curriculum, for the New Jersey Child Support Institute (NJCSI). He manages NJCSI’s team of Instructional Course Designers, Program Development Specialists, and an Instructional Technology Specialist. He also manages the curriculum development process, which produces traditional classroom courses and Web-Based Trainings (WBTs) for more than 3,000 participants. Alexander began his career in New Jersey’s Child Support Program in 2002, serving as a Probation Officer and Judgment Coordinator on a county level, and, later, as Child Support/Paternity Specialist in the Tax Offset Program at the Office of Child Support Services, Division of Family Development. He is also a part-time lecturer at the School of Social Work, where he teaches both BSW and MSW students. Alexander has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor of Science degree in Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caribbean Studies, and a Master of Social Work, all from Rutgers University.

John C. Klena, MSW
Senior Department Administrator



J.C. has been at IFF since its inception in July 2007 and with the School of Social Work since 2000. Originally coming on board as a demographics researcher and mapping specialist, he leads IFF's administrative processes in his current role as Senior Department Administrator. With an MSW degree specializing in management and nonprofit administration, Mr. Klena’s responsibilities at IFF center on administration, strategic planning, fiscal and facilities operations, and human resources management. He also leads several cross-collaborative technical assistance projects at the Institute. J.C. is also part of the executive management team in addition to leading several internal planning and supervisory committees. Outside of the office, he serves on the boards of several local nonprofits and is a volunteer firefighter. 

Milady Murillo
Manager, Child Welfare & Family Well-being



Milady joined the Institute for Families in February 2016 as an Associate Program Manager.  She is a graduate of Rutgers University and holds a Master of Science in Social Work and minor in International Welfare from Columbia University.  Milady brings significant experience managing multi-system educational and community-based initiatives.  As director of NJ's Parent Information Resource Center, she led federally funded programming to improve parental engagement in their child's education and shaped the statewide program and its trainings into a national model.  In other roles at Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey, she led a team of master's level professionals supporting outreach workers in programs across state-funded preschools.  As a social worker, Milady worked as an international volunteer in Colombia and England, and supported families resettling from Latin America, served within NJ’s early intervention system, and provided clinical counseling for child-welfare involved families. 

Nutan S Rubinson 
Manager, Early Childhood Initiatives



Nutan joined the Institute for Families in 2006. As a Program Manager, she leads Grow NJ Kids Training Services, a program that provides training and professional development services to help build the knowledge and skills required of early learning professionals. Nutan oversees the operational and quality assurance aspects of learning activities that support the continuous quality improvement requirements of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and the training requirements for programs who are part of Grow NJ Kids (GNJK), an initiative to raise the quality of early care and education. Previously, she performed needs analysis, developed curriculum, designed workshops, analyzed evaluation data, provided training consultation, and delivered presentations across topics related to training and leadership for IFF’s New Jersey Child Support Institute (NJCSI). Nutan came to Rutgers University with extensive experience in adult learning concepts, curriculum design, facilitation, and management of training projects.

Information Technology


Doug Richardson 
IT Manager

Doug joined the Institute for Families in 2006. He currently oversees the IT needs of the New Jersey Child Support Institute’s three training facilities, which include technology planning, server and firewall management, disaster recovery planning and testing, support to the School of Social Work’s IT department, and managing the New Jersey Child Support Institute’s IT staff. Doug specializes in Network design, Microsoft SharePoint Server and Data Backup/Recovery solutions overall for the School of Social Work. Doug is a Microsoft Certified System Engineer and received his CCNA from Cisco Systems.


Wade Cardinal
Unit Computing Specialist



Wade joined the Institute for Families in 2009. He provides support of desktop systems and software, and training for the New Jersey Child Support Institute Training facilities. Wade also provides support to the School of Social Work’s IT department. He specializes in audio/video and video production and has directed and edited training videos and Web-Based Training shorts. Wade also coordinates the barcode scanning technology for the annual New Jersey Child Support Conference


Cary Ang

Application Developer



Cary joined the Institute for Families in 2008. He is responsible for the design, development, and maintenance of NJCSI's Learning Management System, as well as the Family Development Credential Learning Management System. Cary also provides application development support to the School of Social Work's IT department. Cary graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Computer Science.

Leslie Huang
Application Developer



Leslie Huang joined the team in February 2016 as an Application Developer.  She brings 17 years of experience of software and application programming and will apply this knowledge at the School of Social Work to developing learning management systems for the organization’s training services within the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. She is committed to optimizing the performance of current learning systems through customizations that fit users' needs. In past roles, Leslie supported IT development across the financial, health care, and telecommunication industries.  She has experience leading projects through the full development cycle, as well as developing a variety of programming methods and procedures.  Leslie holds a MS in Computer Science from New Jersey Institute of Technology.  Leslie has a happy family and is the mother of three children.


Program Staff

Dr. Christine Allegra 
Associate Research Manager



Christine joined IFF in 2009 and is currently Associate Research Manager overseeing the training evaluation team. The team develops evaluation materials such as surveys and pre/posttests in electronic, paper/pencil, and scannable formats. The training evaluation team also analyzes and reports on data for more than 3,000 training days each year across many of IFFs programs, including the NJ Child Welfare Training Partnership, Grow NJ Kids Training Services, NJ Child Support Institute, and NJ Victim Assistance Academy.  After Christine earned her MSW and Ph.D. degrees from the Rutgers School of Social Work, she taught classes for the program. Prior to her position at IFF, Christine worked as a mental health clinician providing crisis, inpatient, and outpatient psychiatric care.

Natalie Aloyets-Artel
Senior Project Coordinator Supervisor



Natalie joined the Institute for Families in March 2008. She is a graduate of the Rutgers School of Social Work. Her current work at IFF involves conducting technical assistance, needs assessment, and program evaluation projects for social service community and government agencies. Natalie‘s skills and expertise include leading focus groups, engaging stakeholders, conducting survey-based evaluations, and facilitating large-scale organizational and community planning processes. Technical skills include SPSS, Qualtrics, SNAP, and all levels of the MS office platforms. Research interests include HIV/AIDS, child welfare, crime victim issues, and social work management.

Khalid Balgar
Instructional Technology Designer
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Khalid joined NJCSI in December 2018 as an Instructional Designer. He brings to this role more than eleven years of experience in the Information Technology field, including technical documentation, web development, online instructional development, training materials development, computerized application support, and multimedia production. Before joining NJCSI, Khalid worked in numerous industries that rely on technology, including pharmaceuticals and sales. Most recently, Khalid worked as a specialist for Traliant LLC, where he oversaw the production of online compliance training materials for various clients. While working in the pharmaceutical industry, Khalid discovered his interest in videography; he created instructional online videos, web series, and webinars. Khalid holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Buffalo State College.

Elizabeth Binstein
Administrative Assistant



Elizabeth Binstein joined the Grow NJ Kids Training Services team at the Institute for Families as the Administrative Assistant in May 2018. In this role, she supports the program by providing general administrative assistance, vendor and consultant support, and coordination services. Liz joined IFF in October 2014 as a Research Assistant on the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership team while earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. In April 2017, Liz transitioned onto the Grow NJ Kids Training Services team, where she worked as a Graduate Research Assistant while earning her MSW from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service with a Concentration in Leadership and Macro Practice and a Specialization in Human Service Leadership. Liz brings her previous experience in the child welfare field, through her work at the New Jersey branch of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and at Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Middlesex County.

Christine Blanos
Instructional Designer


Christine joined the Institute for Families in September 2019 as an Instructional Designer for the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership and Grow NJ Kids Training Services. She is responsible for the design and development of engaging, learner-centered curriculum materials and understands the profile of our learners well, as she has a background in early childhood education and worked as a preschool teacher early in her career. Christine holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and psychology from Douglass College, Master of Arts in Teaching from The College of New Jersey, and a Certificate in Instructional Technology from Rutgers University.

Toni Ann Capece
Program Coordinator I



Toni-Ann began her work with IFF in September 2014 as an intern with the Transitions for Youth program. Her work supported successful college experiences for youth who had varied backgrounds in the foster care system and prepared her for her current role as a Program Coordinator for the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership in the Office of Child Welfare Workforce Advancement. Toni-Ann is responsible for the coordination and preparation of trainings that improve the knowledge and skill set of child welfare professionals and oversees student research assistants. She holds a dual degree from Rutgers University in Social Work and Communications and will graduate with an MSW degree in Management and Policy in May 2016. Toni-Ann has a special interest in working with the child welfare population and wellness programs that teach a mind-body approach to medicine. 

Ciji Carr-McManus
Instructional Course Designer
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Ciji joined NJCSI in February 2016 as an Instructional Course Designer. She began her career in Child Support in 2009 as an Implementation Specialist for Courtland Consulting, assisting with on-site support during the rollout of the NJKiDS program. In 2011, she joined the Division of Family Development (DFD) as a Child Support and Paternity Specialist. She later rejoined the Courtland Consulting Company as a Senior Software Consultant where she assisted the State of Delaware with the rollout and implementation of their new child support program. At the completion of the Delaware project, she returned to the NJKiDS project in 2014 as a Consultant to the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS)/DFD, supporting the CWA and Family offices as a subject matter expert. In that capacity, she assisted with Quality Assurance and Business/Functional Analysis. Ciji holds an A.A. in Sociology from Rowan College.

Michelle Cino
Instructional Designer 


Michelle Cino joined IFF at Rutgers School of Social Work in August 2019 as an Instructional Designer for the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership and Grow NJ Kids Training Services.  With a Master’s in Instructional Design and an Information Technologies certificate from Seton Hall University, she brings over ten years of experience teaching at various grade levels.  Michelle’s instructional design work in the higher education setting began in 2013 at Columbia Business School’s Samberg Institute for Teaching Excellence.   As an Instructional Designer at IFF, Michelle is responsible for designing and developing creative, learner-centered products which will be delivered to workers statewide who strengthen New Jersey’s families and children.

Matthew Forsythe
Research Project Coordinator II



Matthew joined the Institute for Families in November 2015. He is a graduate of Montclair State University with a master’s degree in Psychology. After graduation Matthew continues to work as a Professor in the Department of Psychology teaching: Introduction to Research Methodology, Introduction to Statistics, and Experimental Design. Matthew previously worked as a public health investigator for the New Jersey Autism Study, Rutgers University. At the New Jersey Autism Study Matthew worked on a population study using epidemiologic methods to understand the prevalence and expression of Autism Spectrum Disorders and to advance the scientific study of autism risk and protective factors. His background has provided him with extensive training and experience in qualitative and quantitative research methodology, data collection, and data analysis.

Danielle Francesconi 
Training Coordinator
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Danielle started with NJCSI in May 2007. She began her career in the Camden County Probation Child Support Enforcement Unit, working with parents to ensure enforcement and monitoring of child support cases. She is the lead trainer for the Establishment module, which includes paternity and child support establishment, SDU curriculum, and Professional Development Series. Danielle is also a True Colors certified trainer. She has delivered training at the NJ Child Support Conference; the Eastern Regional Interstate Child Support Association (ERICSA) Conference; the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) Conference; and the National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) Conference. Danielle also managed several social service programs for the State, serving as Deputy Program Manager for the NJ Family Support payment center and then Program Manager of the NJ Paternity Opportunity Program, National Medical Support Notice, and New Hire programs. She is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a bachelor’s degree in Business and Technology.

Tina Marie Gajda-Crawford
Program Coordinator l



Tina Marie Gajda-Crawford, MA, NCC, joined the Office of Child Welfare Workforce Advancement in June 2017.  Her responsibilities include project reporting, instrument revision/development, and ongoing CQI for Grow NJ Kids Training Services and the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership.  Tina came to IFF with 7 years of experience as a Program Coordinator at Rutgers/UMDNJ with her focus on data tracking, data analysis, and reporting.  Prior to IFF, Tina held a position at the School of Social Work, coordinating a Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Department of Human Services funded study.  She also has experience in direct practice working with children and as a therapist in outpatient.  She earned her Bachelor degree in Psychology from Rutgers and Masters in Counseling from Kean University.  

Yolanda Glover 
Training Coordinator
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Yolanda joined NJCSI in September 2007. She began her work in the child support field as a Probation Officer with Middlesex County in 1999. In 2004, after receiving her master’s degree from Seton Hall University, she was promoted to Team Leader in Union County's Family Division in the Case Reception/Intake Team within the Non-Dissolution Unit. Over the past seven years, Yolanda has presented workshop sessions annually at the New Jersey Child Support Conference. She has also presented Child Support Guidelines twice at the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators (NJAPM) Conference, and has presented at the National Network for Social Work Management (NNSWM) Conference in 2013 and the National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) Conference in 2014.

Sonia Gonzalez
Training Coordinator
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Sonia Gonzalez joined the NJCSI team in February 2017 as a Training Coordinator. She brings with her 17 successful years with the New Jersey Division of Social Services. In 1997, Sonia joined the County of Union as a Case Manager for the Employment and Services Department, and then transitioned to the Division of Social Services as a Human Service Specialist in 1999. Sonia’s dedication paid off; she was promoted to Supervisor for the Child Support Department in the Intake Unit, where she continued to supervise for 12 years. Sonia served in several departments including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, and Family Care. During this time, she gained expertise in state welfare standards, policies, procedures, and laws, as well as case initiation, location, and, establishment. Sonia earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Kean University in 2004, and obtained her social work license that same year.

Michele A. Gregorio
Program Coordinator Il
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Michele joined IFF’s Grow NJ Kids Training Services team in August 2016 as Program Coordinator II.  She brings an extensive knowledge of early childhood education policy at both the national and state level, serves on the Coalition of Infant/Toddler Educators Board, Family Child Care Organization of New Jersey Board, and is a past Board member of the National Association for Family Child Care, Communications Chair.  A proud parent of two college grads, Michele plans to pursue a Master’s degree and holds a B.A. in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College, known for their focus on Social Justice.  Her field experience informs her in-depth understanding of the needs of young children and families, as well as the current body of published research and legislation on early care and education.  Michele is an accomplished administrator, conference and event coordinator, past staff member at Mercer County’s CCR&R Child Care Connection, with post-secondary special education administrative experience at The College of New Jersey. 

Brenda Griffin
Administrative Assistant

Brenda Griffin is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of administrative experience.  In July 2018, she joined the Institute for Families as an Administrative Assistant for the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership. In this role she is responsible for preparing MOUs, vendor forms, processing invoices and payment memos.  Brenda also manages Research Assistant’s time and payroll records. Prior to joining IFF, Brenda worked at Rutgers-UBHC in the behavioral healthcare field for 14 years, as well as, provided Executive-Level Support to the Director of Performance Improvement & Quality, at University Hospital in Newark NJ.  Having held several positions within the University, Brenda has wealth of knowledge working with Rutgers System programs and is able to tailor her skills to meet the needs of our various projects. Brenda graduated from The Cittone Institute in Edison, NJ and received her certification in the Medical Administrative Program.

Janell D. Harris
Program Coordinator I



Janell joined IFF’s New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership in the Office of Child Welfare Workforce Advancement in September 2016. As Program Coordinator, she schedules and supports professional development trainings for DCP&P child welfare professionals. She earned her B.S. from Rutgers University in 2011 with a dual degree in Management from the Rutgers Business School and Psychology. She earned her M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology with Certification in School Counseling from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education in 2015. Janell has provided administrative, marketing and program support for child welfare, education and healthcare nonprofit organizations including Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey, New Jersey After 3 and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Kelly Ingra
Program Coordinator ll
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Kelly joined the IFF team in August, 2016. She holds a B.A. in Political Science as well as a certificate in Child Advocacy from Montclair State University.  Prior to joining the IFF team, she spent four years as Administrative Assistant at Anchor House, Inc. – a non-profit organization serving homeless, runaway, abused and neglected youth in Trenton, NJ. Kelly is thrilled to have joined the Grow NJ Kids Program as Administrative Assistant. Her responsibilities include providing administrative support for the Operations Team. Kelly is passionate about improving the lives of infants, toddlers, children, youth, and excited to join the Institute for Families.

Terence Jordan 
Program Development Specialist
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Terence Jordan joined NJCSI in 2007 as an Instructional Course Designer for the development of courses for the Probation Child Support Enforcement Unit and management of the online Child Support Program Manual. In 2013, he was promoted to Program Development Specialist, and while continuing to design coursework, Terence serves as a senior member of the design team, providing constructive feedback, helping to set internal standards, and monitoring completion of development activities. He began his career at AT&T, where he held positions as an Assistant Program Manager of the Insight program, a leadership development program for AT&T managers, and also as Assistant Manager at their Resource Center, which provided career management and career transition services to current and former employees. Terence has a B.S. in Marketing from Rutgers University.

Eileen Kelly-O'Brien 
Training Coordinator
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Eileen joined NJCSI as a Training Coordinator in 2006. She has presented at several regional and national conferences, including the annual New Jersey Child Support Conference; the Eastern Regional Interstate Child Support Association (ERICSA) Conference; the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) Conference; and the National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) Conference. Eileen is a graduate of Kean University and has also earned Bob Pike Training Certification, the Rutgers University Train-the-Trainer Certification, and the APHSA Leadership for High-Performance Certificate. Her career in child support spans more than 30 years and in 2004 she was named CSP Supervisor of the Year by the New Jersey Child Support Council.

Megan Kinney
Program Coordinator II




Megan joined the Institute for Families in November 2017 as a Program Coordinator for the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership. Her role as a program coordinator includes scheduling and supporting professional development trainings for DCP&P child welfare professionals. She holds a dual degree from Montclair State University in Child Advocacy and Family and Child Studies as well as a Master’s Degree from Stockton University in Social Work. During her time at Stockton University, she worked for the Child Welfare Education Institute supporting numerous child welfare training activities and projects.

William Laznovsky
Editor/Media Specialist II



Bill joined NJCSI in October 2015. He holds a B.A. in Communications from Rider University and specializes in editorial quality control and publishing. During his 13 years as a Production Editor with Princeton University Press, he produced over 350 scholarly books in myriad disciplines. He has worked closely with world-renowned authors, scientists, and two Nobel laureates, and has collaborated on dozens of projects for major clients in academic, corporate, and nonprofit settings. Bill’s position at NJCSI entails fine-tuning training and course material.

Catherine Liapes 
Program Development Specialist
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Catherine joined NJCSI as an Instructional Course Designer in 2006, also serving as the project’s curriculum editor. In her current role as Program Development Specialist/Senior Editor, she is helping NJCSI develop an editing unit and works with the development team to set style guidelines and standards for NJCSI instructional materials. Catherine began her career in book publishing with Charles Scribner’s Sons, where she was Editor and Manager of Imports, English Language Rights, and Co-productions, and she later served as Assistant Director and Project Editor for the Northeast Curriculum Coordination Center, New Jersey State Department of Education. Before joining NJCSI, she served as Research Editor for the Center for Urban Policy Research at the Bloustein School, Rutgers University. Catherine is a graduate of Douglass College, with a B.A. in English, and holds a Master of Communication and Information Studies degree, with a concentration in Organizational Communication, also from Rutgers University.

Norma Lisenby-Ketterer 
Training Coordinator
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Norma joined NJCSI in 2007, bringing with her from her career in the New Jersey Judiciary an extensive background in all aspects of child support collection, management, the adult and juvenile justice system, child custody, and substance abuse services. She has worked in the area of child support, court management, probations services, educational services, and training for over 30 years. In addition to her responsibilities as Training Coordinator, Norma has collaborated with NJCSI’s instructional course designers to create courses for child support staff, and she has presented or moderated several sessions at the annual New Jersey Child Support Conference.

Dr. Chieh-Wen Liu 
Evaluation Coordinator



Chieh-Wen holds a Ph.D. in Social Work from Rutgers and is the Evaluation Coordinator for the New Jersey Child Support Institute (NJCSI). Her responsibilities include coordinating all aspects of ongoing evaluation activities to measure training programs delivered by NJCSI, developing and implementing evaluation procedures and tools, providing direct supervision to her research assistant by monitoring and evaluating job performance, providing innovative ideas to the evaluation process, and ensuring the efficient and effective operation of projects. She also produces quarterly reports and submits research papers for publication. Chieh-Wen’s research skills include extensive knowledge of SPSS, Mplus, and Comprehensive Meta-Analysis statistical programs.

Matthew Mayo
Program Coordinator II



Matthew is a 2014 MSW graduate of the Rutgers School of Social Work with a concentration in Management and Policy. He began working with the Institute for Families as a second-year intern underneath Terri Fox, working with service providers and consumers utilizing funding from the Ryan White Care Act, and later joined the staff as one of the team leaders for the Sandy Child and Family Health Study. Outside of his duties in the Office of Research and Evaluation, his activities include being a Big within Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson, and Union Counties; serving as lead volunteer of the St. Peter’s Food Pantry of Chelsea, NYC; acting as Alumni Ambassador to the Rutgers School of Social Work’s Student Supporting Student 2015 campaign; and being an active board member on the Triple C Housing Inc. board of directors.

Malikah Murray
Program Coordinator II

Malikah joined the Institute for Families in March 2012 with over 10 years of experience in the field of child welfare as a confidential secretary for the Department of Children and Families and the Division of Developmental Disabilities. Her current role for the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership entails providing administrative support for several child welfare training programs by assisting with day-to-day office operations; the coordination and administration of the scheduled trainings; the preparation, control, and reconciliation of trainer payment arrangements and attendance records; and preparing and organizing training materials/handouts, generating mailings, and overseeing the shipping of related materials. Malikah received her certification in Human Resources Management from Union County College and was recently accepted into Rutgers University’s Dual Degree program.

Shyamala Muthurajah
Program Coordinator I



Shyamala Muthurajah joined the Institute for Families in 2016 as a Program Coordinator I. She works with the NJ Child Welfare Training Partnership and Grow NJ Kids Training Services focusing on training evaluation.  Prior to joining IFF, Shyamala worked for more than 7 years on training projects where she led data collection, statistical analyses, and reporting.  These training projects were in the areas of youth suicide prevention, trauma, school and community-based psychosocial interventions, and tobacco surveillance.   Shyamala received her Masters in Public Health from UMDNJ and is a certified SAS base programmer. Shyamala's area of expertise includes designing web-based/paper-and-pencil surveys, tracking and managing data, and project coordination.

Spencer Nitkey
Program Coordinator I



Spencer Nitkey joined the Institute for Families in August 2019. He holds a Bachelors of Arts in English and a Masters of Education in Secondary Education from Temple University. He has worked in high school and university settings as a teacher, researcher, and tutor, where he used data-driven decision-making to enhance learning and achievement. He is thrilled to work with the Institute for Families as a Program Coordinator I. His responsibilities include supporting the evaluation team in designing new evaluation tools, data analysis, report writing, quality assurance, and material tracking for Grow NJ Kids Training Services and the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership.   

Carole O'Brien
Senior Program Coordinator Supervisor



Carole joined IFF in 2013 as a trainer for the Child Welfare Training Partnership. She brings to the New Jersey Victim Assistance Academy team 25 years of success developing and managing training programs for professionals working with children, families, and vulnerable populations. She collaborates with subject matter experts, trainers, and instructional designers creating training experiences to support professionals who work with victims of crime. Before coming to IFF, she used her background in education and BA in Developmental Psychology from Douglass College to open a Family Care Center and moved on to design meaningful staff development and family engagement programming for school districts across NJ. Carole, a mother of three grown children, is a certified national trainer for multiple programs and sits of various community and non-profit boards.

Chinaza Okonkwo
Instructional Course Designer



Chinaza Okonkwo joined NJCSI in April 2017 as an Instructional Course Designer. Previously, she served as Project Coordinator for the Transitions for Youth Program. Chinaza has also held positions teaching at Douglass Residential College, as well as mentoring and coaching students through the Rutgers Learning Centers. Chinaza holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Criminal Justice and a master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. With her experience working with a variety of students in teaching, advising, mentoring, and supervising capacities, Chinaza is dedicated to advocacy and innovation within institutions of higher learning.

Marian Pringle 
Program Coordinator I
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Marian joined NJCSI in February 2007. With 28 years of experience in the legal and marketing fields, she brings her leadership skills to the administrative group. Marian works closely with management and staff in training preparation and delivery. She also supports the Associate Program Manager of Curriculum in duties related to that position. She creates marketing materials such as the semiannual NJCSI Course Catalog, conference materials, and other items. Marian interacts with participants, vendors, and customers on a daily basis, and is responsible for logistics and the production of course materials for her site.

Lori Rea
Instructional Course Designer
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Lori joined IFF in February 2012. She works for the New Jersey Child Support Institute (NJCSI) at the School of Social Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. In that role, she is responsible for the design and development of curriculum materials for NJCSI’s training programs for child support professionals. Lori previously served as an Instructional Designer for the National Transit Institute (NTI) at Rutgers University. While at NTI, she facilitated webinar trainings and developed curricula in the following areas: advanced technologies, civil rights, and program management. Lori holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University.

Tiffany Riccardelli
Learning & Development Supervisor



Tiffany Riccardelli has been working with the Institute for Families at Rutgers School of Social Work since February of 2012 and supervises activities across two large-scale training programs: New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership and Grow NJ Kids Training Services. As Learning and Development Supervisor, Tiffany oversees the development of new curricula and leads eLearning initiatives across the Office of Child Welfare Workforce Advancement—including both online and hybrid course development, microlearning, and multimedia design. With a heavy focus on high-quality programming and continuous improvement, she also supervises the recruitment, orientation, and ongoing support of OCWWA’s consultant trainer cohort. Tiffany holds an Ed.M. with a focus on Adult and Continuing Education from Rutgers Graduate School of Education and earned a certificate in Educational Technology in 2017. Prior to joining IFF, Tiffany worked in fundraising and development for various nonprofit organizations and considers herself a passionate advocate for New Jersey’s most vulnerable children.

Baheejah Salahuddin
Administrative Assistant



Baheejah Salahuddin joined the IFF team in July 2016.  She joins us after serving several positions responsible for providing high levels of Administrative Support to Company Executives.  In her previous role at Everest Institute,  Baheejah provided Executive-level support to the Campus President and assisted with all HR functions.   In her current role as the Human Resource Administrative Assistant, her responsibilities include managing the absence reporting system, maintaining administrative files, assisting with HR issues, policies and procedures, overseeing vendor contracts and providing central support to key functions within the Institute for Families.  Baheejah also provides administrative support for the Price Family Fellows Program.  Some of those responsibilities include managing supply orders, securing quotes, tracking invoices around purchase orders and overseeing payments to vendors.

Elizabeth Salerno
Training Coordinator
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Elizabeth Salerno joined NJCSI in May 2017 as a Training Coordinator. She brings with her 15 years of experience working with LGBTQIAA adolescents, first-generation college students, and youth who have experienced the child welfare system and homelessness. She currently teaches Diversity and Oppression, and Generalist Social Work Practice II at the Rutgers University School of Social Work. Elizabeth joined IFF in 2009 as a Program Coordinator for Transitions for Youth. In 2013, she was promoted to New Jersey Statewide Youth Advisory Board Coordinator, where she led a team of 12 people in an effort to help young leaders who have experienced foster care and homelessness advocate for improvements in the system. Prior to joining IFF, Elizabeth provided counseling to young people at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, the nation’s oldest and largest LGBTQIAA youth organization. She holds an LCSW in New York State and an LSW in New Jersey. Elizabeth also holds a master’s in Social Work from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Connecticut.

Pam Simone
Program Coordinator ll



Pam joined the Institute for Families in April 2006. She currently is working on a comprehensive needs assessment for the Ryan White project. She also serves as coordinating, planning, and event logistics specialist for the Casey Management Fellows Project. This project trains DCP&P local office managers and higher-level personnel to develop their skills to become more effective leaders. During her tenure at the Institute for Families, Pam has supported four executive directors and worked in collaboration with Continuing Education and the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership. Ms. Simone has extensive experience working with outside stakeholders that collaborate with the School of Social Work. In 2013, Pam earned her bachelor’s degree and is currently working toward a master’s degree in management and Labor Relations.

Adam Staats
Senior Program Coordinator


Adam joined the Rutgers School of Social Work’s Institute for Families in 2006. He received his MSW from Rutgers University’s School of Social Work in 2011. Adam has worked with young people aging-out of foster care for over 10 years, in a variety of residential, educational, and community-based settings. During his time at Rutgers, he has coordinated substance abuse prevention groups, mentoring programs, youth advocacy committees, housing and internship programs, as well as training and nonprofit development programs. Adam has also designed case management systems, as well as websites and videos to better inform and serve young people in foster care.

Amanda Suskin-Santarelli
Program Coordinator ll



Amanda joined the Institute for Families in October 2016. She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a B.A. in English Literature in May 2010.  Prior to her work with IFF, she was the Administrative Assistant for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of New Jersey and CASA of Middlesex County. In her current role as a Program Coordinator on the Grow NJ Kids Training Services team, she provides trainer support and technical assistance, develops training content, supports various aspects of the continuous quality improvement of the program.

Cathy Thompson-Fix 
Program Coordinator I
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Cathy joined the New Jersey Child Support Institute (NJCSI) in March 2007 with a commanding knowledge of Operations, Budgeting, Marketing, Logistics, Technical Writing, Communications, and Human Resources. A 12-year veteran of International Operations for a Fortune 100 Company, Cathy monitors and performs many functions for the Office of Training and Educational Programs (OTEP) and NJCSI. She provides research and cost analysis, quarterly expense reports, coordinates all-conference and travel activities, offers technical and desktop support, creates program promotional materials, and oversees day-to-day administrative and logistical program support. Cathy is often OTEP’s “go-to” person when seeking ideas or solutions. She is a graduate of Somerset Christian College, is certified in Non-Profit and Public Management, and is enrolled in the Master of Divinity Program at New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Cathy is also a Board Member of the Ruth and Naomi Foundation, a 501(c)(3) for victims of domestic violence.

Angela Watson
Training Coordinator
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Angela graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Accounting degree and worked in finance at several major corporations. She obtained her Masters of Educational Psychology from Rowan University and shifted her career track from international systems and finance project management to training. In 2008 she joined NJCSI where she has served as lead trainer on various topics, participating in the development of curriculum for many courses, including Microsoft Excel®, BI Portal Map Analysis, Manager Dashboard, Track My Cases, Guidelines Theory and Practice, various financial topics, SDU Customer Service and SDU Financial training, and several professional development courses. Angela has delivered trainings at the New Jersey Child Support Conference; the Eastern Regional Interstate Child Support Association (ERICSA) Conference; and the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA) Conference.

Karen Wicks
Instructional Course Designer

Karen joined IFF in September 2018 as an Instructional Designer for the New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership and Grow NJ Kids Training Services. Responsible for the design and development of creative, learner-centered products, both classroom- and web-based, Karen brings her many years of multimedia experience in video production and advertising to the IFF team. Karen earned a BA in Communications from Rowan University.



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