Martha Stone, JD, Executive Director
Martha Stone is founder and Executive Director of the Center for Children’s Advocacy. Prior to founding CCA in 1997, Martha served as Associate Director of Children’s Rights, Inc., a national organization engaged in foster care litigation throughout the United States; and for 18 years previous to that, she was Legal Director of the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union. Martha is responsible for bringing class action lawsuits resulting in Consent Decrees involving DCF (Juan F.), CT juvenile detention centers, and access to community-based mental health services for the juvenile justice population (Emily J.). She is co-counsel for the plaintiffs in Sheff v. O’Neill, the Hartford school desegregation case. She is an Adjunct Professor at the UConn School of Law, where she teaches a course in child advocacy. Martha is the recipient of many awards for distinguished service including the Ct. Bar Association Charles Parker Legal Services Award, Ct. Youth Services Association Advocacy Committee Award, the Bank of America Local Hero Award, The Wheeler Clinic Advocacy Award, and the Champion of Children Award from the Village for Families and Children. She received a JD and LLM from Georgetown University Law Center.
Jay Sicklick, JD, Deputy Director; Director, Medical-Legal Partnership Project
Deputy Director; Director, Medical-Legal Partnership Project
Jay has directed the Center’s Medical-Legal Partnership Project (MLPP) since April, 2000, overseeing the growth of the project from its beginnings as the second program of its kind in the United States. The Center’s MLPP has offices at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and Yale-New Haven Hospital, and provides consultation and referral services for patients at Charter Oak Health Clinic, Community Health Services and the Hospital of Central Connecticut. Prior to his work with the Center for Children’s Advocacy, Jay was a senior staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society’s Bronx Neighborhood Office for six years, and was a private practitioner in Boston, MA. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at the UConn School of Law, where he teaches courses in legal ethics and professional responsibility, and Assistant Clinical Professor at the UConn School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics.
Bonnie Berk, Director, Communications
Bonnie Berk joined the Center for Children’s Advocacy in 2000. Her work at the Center includes marketing, communications, event and seminar/webinar management, media relations, website and social networks. She is responsible for the Center’s print and online media and works with the development team to coordinate donor communications efforts. Prior to joining the Center, Bonnie held a managerial position in Emery Air Freight’s marketing department; and oversaw fine arts auction catalog production at Sotheby’s New York office. She has a background in marketing and design and holds a BFA. Bonnie’s marketing work at Emery Air Freight won her an Effie Award for clear, creative and effective advertising.
Edwin Colon, JD, MSW, Director, Immigrant Children's Justice Project
Director, Immigrant Children's Justice Project
Edwin Colon has worked as an attorney at the Center for Children’s Advocacy since 2011. He focuses his practice on the very specific Federal law and Connecticut procedures for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which helps abused, neglected or abandoned immigrant children regularize their immigration status. Edwin assisted in drafting legislation codifying the SIJS language into Connecticut law, provides substantive legal training and technical assistance to Connecticut attorneys, facilitates roundtable discussions on the needs of new arrivals, and participates in various groups aimed at addressing unmet needs of new arrival youth.
In addition to providing legal representation for new arrival children and training Connecticut attorneys on this very specific work, Edwin advocates in the public schools on behalf of immigrant youth who need educational support and are suffering from issues that keep them from academic success. Edwin also runs the Center’s School Based Legal Clinic at Warren G. Harding High School in Bridgeport. He works with young children and with teen clients to resolve legal issues that prevent them from succeeding in school.
Edwin served as co-counsel on the two systemic complaints brought by the Center for Children’s Advocacy (October 2013 and August 2015) against Bridgeport Public Schools on behalf of students with disabilities who do not receive the early identification or support they need for academic achievement and future opportunity.
Prior to joining the Center for Children’s Advocacy, Edwin was in private practice in Connecticut. He holds a JD from UConn School of Law and a MSW from UConn School of Social Work. He has worked with the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Services, providing support for individuals and families involved with the foster care system, and with the Department of Children and Families as an Investigations and Treatment Social Worker on child abuse investigations. Edwin has held faculty positions at the UConn School of Social Work and at Capital Community College, Hartford.
Edwin was named a 2013 “New Leader in the Law” by the Connecticut Law Tribune and one of the “50 Most Influential Latinos in Connecticut” by Latinos United for Professional Advancement in 2014 and 2015. He is a director on the board of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association and a member on the board of Connecticut Students for a Dream.
Stacey Violante Cote, JD, MSW, Director, Teen Legal Advocacy Project
Director, Teen Legal Advocacy Project
Stacey Violante Cote is the Director of the Teen Legal Advocacy Project at the Center for Children’s Advocacy which works directly with youth who are experiencing homelessness and those at risk for homelessness. Her work removes barriers that prevent youth from completing high school, addresses civil legal issues such as the educational rights of homeless students, special education advocacy, and the legal rights of immigrant and refugee youth. Stacey supervises Project attorneys who advocate for youth statewide and run the Teen Legal Advocacy Clinic at Bridgeport’s Harding High School. She manages the Center’s Mobile Legal Office, the first of its kind in Connecticut and one of only a few across the country. The Mobile Office visits locations that are frequented by youth experiencing homelessness to provide legal consultation or representation.
Stacey chairs the Youth and Young Adult Homelessness Workgroup of the Reaching Home Campaign, where she works with statewide partners to address systemic barriers faced by youth experiencing homelessness.
Tayla Fauntleroy, Paralegal, Medical-Legal Partnership Project and Immigrant Children's Advocacy Project
Shereffia Francis, Administrative Assistant
Marisa Halm, JD, Director, TeamChild Juvenile Justice Project
Director, TeamChild Juvenile Justice Project
Attorney Halm is the Director of the TeamChild Juvenile Justice Project at the Center for Children’s Advocacy.
She represents children and youth who are involved with the juvenile justice system or at risk of involvement, and works to ensure that they receive the education they are entitled to, whether in the public schools, in alternative or therapeutic programs, in juvenile justice facilities or adult correctional facilities.
Marisa is a passionate advocate for her clients and a staunch opponent of the school-to-prison pipeline. She strenuously opposes unfair discipline practices and policies that facilitate youth push out from school. She identifies systemic barriers and inequities that impact her clients’ education and successful re-entry into the community, and develops strategies to eradicate those barriers and inequities. Her advocacy includes legislative initiatives, administrative advocacy and facilitating policy change as well as the filing of complaints against school systems violating students’ basic educational rights.
Prior to working at the Center, Attorney Halm was in private practice where she represented children with disabilities and their parents against school districts.
Marisa earned her J.D. from the UConn School of Law and her B.A., with honors, from Mount Holyoke College. She was admitted to the practice of law in 2006.
Tasha Jackson, Finance Director
With over ten years of senior level experience in the financial arena, Tasha Jackson has directed finance (CFO), information technology and human resources at Hartford-area nonprofits. She holds a BS in Insurance and Finance and an MBA in Leadership.
Kia Levey, Project Coordinator, Deep End Diversion Project
Project Coordinator, Deep End Diversion Project
Kia Levey is Project Coordinator for the Center’s Deep End Diversion Project, working to reduce arrest of youth in residential juvenile justice facilities – a practice that is counter to the rehabilitative purpose of these facilities.
Kathryn Scheinberg Meyer, JD, Director, SpeakUp Initiatives
Director, SpeakUp Initiatives
Kathryn Scheinberg Meyer joined the Center for Children’s Advocacy in September, 2009 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow. Her work with the Center’s Education Project provides legal support to help children and youth succeed in school. Kathryn works from the Center’s Bridgeport office, where she focuses on eliminating barriers that prevent academic success. These barriers may include difficulties with special education services, school discipline problems, housing issues, DCF concerns, mental health issues, homelessness or immigration, among others. Kathryn provides training on educational issues at locations throughout the community. Kathryn is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where she was a teaching assistant at Columbia’s Child Advocacy Clinic. She has worked with Legal Aid’s Juvenile Rights Division in The Bronx, NY, and the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts.
Lori Nordstrom, JD, Director, Grants
Lori Nordstrom is a graduate of Yale College (1989) and Yale Law School (1994). While in law school, Lori co-founded a not-for-profit accredited child care center for teen parents based at a New Haven high school. She chaired the organization’s Board for six years and is currently responsible for program and fund development. After graduating from law school, Lori founded the Legal Organization For Teens (LOFT) in New Haven, Connecticut and for eight years represented homeless New Haven youth, provided consultation and representation to youth through a school-based legal clinic at a New Haven transitional high school, and provided legal rights training to youth at schools and juvenile justice programs. In addition to coordinating the Center for Children’s Advocacy’s foundation funding, Lori works with Casey Family Services in New Haven on research projects regarding foster care and adoption.
Noelia Ortiz, Development and Communications Assistant
Alice Rosenthal, JD, Staff Attorney, Medical-Legal Partnership Project
Staff Attorney, Medical-Legal Partnership Project
Alice is the on-site staff attorney for the Center for Children’s Advocacy Medical-Legal Partnership office at Yale-New Haven Hospital. She represents children and families on legal issues affecting the health and well-being of children, such as housing, public benefits, healthcare access, and education. Alice has always been committed to social justice work, working as an advocate for disadvantaged children since she was in high school and providing legal representation for children and families since she graduated from law school in 2007.
Alice grew up in the City of New Haven and attended New Haven Public Schools. Prior to working at the Center for Children’s Advocacy, she worked as an education law attorney at Advocates for Children of New York, representing children involved in the child welfare system on access to appropriate education. Alice received a B.A. in Psychology and Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a J.D. from Rutgers Law School-Newark. She is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York.
Bonnie Roswig, JD, Senior Staff Attorney, Medical-Legal Partnership Project
Senior Staff Attorney, Medical-Legal Partnership Project
Bonnie Roswig is Senior Staff Attorney for the Center’s Medical-Legal Partnership Project, with an office located at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Prior to joining the Center, Bonnie worked as a legal aid attorney in Georgia, and was a supervisory attorney at Statewide Legal Services in Middletown, CT. Bonnie is an Adjunct Professor in the Legal Process Program at the UConn School of Law. She is a graduate of Bennington College and Antioch School of Law.
Bonnie Roswig was selected as a 2011 Health Leadership Fellow by the Connecticut Health Foundation. About 20 Fellows are selected each year through a competitive process for a one-year knowledge and skill-building program designed to create leaders who represent a variety of public and private sectors in public policy, health practice, health care administration, community, law, business and commerce, advocacy, academia and other related fields. In addition to education sessions and training, Fellows participate in a project of their choosing which demonstrates leadership ability and influence to take collective actions that eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities.
Leon Smith, JD, Director, Racial Justice Project
Director, Racial Justice Project
Leon Smith is Director of the Center’s Racial Justice Project, which represents youth of color and advocates for new laws and policy changes to address racial inequities in educational services, school discipline and treatment by the juvenile justice system. Leon also leads the Center’s work on alternative schools reform to ensure that vulnerable students receive appropriate educational supports to increase the rate of high school graduation. Alternative schools are a safety net for vulnerable students, and Attorney Smith has been successful in crafting legislation that requires the State Department of Education to standardize these programs throughout the state.
Prior to his work at the Center, Attorney Smith was an attorney and advocate in the juvenile justice system for 11 years, working with system-involved youth from impoverished and disadvantaged backgrounds. He began his career in 2001 as a juvenile court public defender, first in Rhode Island and later in Massachusetts. He subsequently managed his own law practice devoted primarily to juvenile court advocacy and ensuring services and assistance for youth who could not access the aid they needed. He worked on local and national public policy issues in New York City, using his familiarity with reforms and interventions to benefit youth in the education and juvenile justice systems.
Leon Smith is a 1995 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, OH and a 1999 graduate of New England School of Law in Boston, MA.
Andrea Spencer, PhD, Educational Consultant
Susan Stein, Director of Development
Zoe Stout, JD, Senior Staff Attorney, Child Abuse Project
Senior Staff Attorney, Child Abuse Project
Zoe Stout is the Senior Staff Attorney for the Center’s Child Abuse Project. She has focused her career on assisting abused, neglected and at-risk children. Prior to joining the Center, Zoe was a Child Advocate Attorney at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where she represented hundreds of children, age newborn to 21, in Juvenile Dependency Court. Zoe served a dual role of legal counsel and guardian ad litem to her clients.
Following law school, Zoe was an Assistant City Solicitor for the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, responsible for filing and litigating adjudicatory, aggravated circumstances, child abuse and termination of parental rights petitions. Prior to law school, Zoe was an in-home social worker for the Chester County Department of Children, Youth and Families. Her role was to teach Life Skills to families in their homes to prevent the removal of children and assist older youth with gaining independence as they aged out of the child welfare system.
Zoe received a B.A. in Administration of Justice from Pennsylvania State University and a J.D. from Temple University. She has been the recipient of the Morris M. Shuster Public Interest Fellowship, the Barrack Public Interest Fellowship and the John R. Justice Fellowship honoring her work serving children.
Sabrina Tavi, JD, Senior Staff Attorney
Senior Staff Attorney
Sabrina Tavi is a senior staff attorney with the Center’s Child Abuse Project. She began her career as a staff attorney with the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York City, where she represented hundreds of children in child protective and juvenile delinquency proceedings. Sabrina then spent 12 years as a senior attorney in the Special Litigation Unit of the New York Legal Assistance Group, conducting systemic reform and impact litigation on behalf of low-income and indigent clients. At NYLAG, Sabrina’s cases focused on ensuring individuals’ access to government benefits and services.
Sabrina received her B.A. from Barnard College and J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern scholar. She clerked for the Honorable John T. Nixon in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Prior to law school, Sabrina worked for United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Ann Tremont, Office Manager
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