View DCF's Table of Organization
Contact information for the DCF executive staff
Meet the Commissioner
Please find below the Department of Children and Families executive staff biographies (listed alphabetically).
Aubrey C. Powers
Joseph E. Ribsam Jr., Esq.
Brian C. Ross, Esq.
Lisa von Pier
Chief of Staff
Suzanne Alvino is the Chief of Staff for the Department of Children and Families overseeing Administration, Child and Family Health, Child Welfare Training Academy and Partnership, and Information Technology. Before being appointed as Chief of Staff, Ms. Alvino held a number of leadership positions within DCF, including Area Director for Morris, Passaic, and Sussex Counties and Assistant Director of Case Practice for the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.
Ms. Alvino has over 28 years of service working with children and their families within the Department of Children and Families. After receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Bethany College she started as a case worker with the Division of Youth and Family Services. Ms. Alvino steadily advanced through the department and assumed greater responsibility for our department's work, serving as Supervisor, Court Liaison, Case Practice Specialist, Local Office Manager, and Assistant Area Director before being named Assistant Director of Case Practice and then Area Director. Ms. Alvino is a CQI Training Academy graduate, DCF Data Fellow, DCF Leadership Fellow, and a Member of the Network for Social Work Management.
Along with Ms Alvino's commitment to children and families in New Jersey, she has been actively involved in DCF's commitment to learning about and understanding the impact of Human Trafficking on the children, youth, women and families we serve, through education, practice, policy and partnership development. Ms. Alvino has collaborated with internal and external partners to identify victims of human trafficking and develop protection and prevention strategies for victims and survivors. Ms. Alvino has been a panelist at several statewide Human Trafficking Prevention Events and has served as a member of the Protection Sub-Committee of the New Jersey Child Abuse and Neglect Task Force as well as the Attorney General's Human Trafficking Task Force.
Chief Financial Officer
Heath Bernstein is the New Jersey Department of Children and Families' chief financial officer. He is responsible for the fiscal operations of the department, including contracting, accounting, procurement, budgeting, and revenue. Prior to his appointment as CFO, Mr. Bernstein was a member of the DCF Human Resources management team for eight years.
Prior to Mr. Bernstein's tenure with DCF, he was state compensation manager with the New Jersey Department of Personnel (currently the Civil Service Commission) where he was responsible for all compensation matters for state and local merit system employees, including compensation policy development and state-wide salary budgeting. Mr. Bernstein began his State service in 1999 as a budget analyst with the New Jersey Office of Management and Budget where he was responsible for the development and monitoring of several state department budgets.
Mr. Bernstein earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Policy Studies and a Master of Public Administration degree in State and Local Government Finance from Syracuse University.
Director, Clinical Services
Mollie Greene was appointed as DCF's Director of Clinical Services in July 2014. In this role, Ms. Greene serves as a member of the department's executive management team and is responsible for management and oversight of DCF's clinical team services and initiatives, substance abuse initiatives, and the Office of Child and Family Health.
Ms. Greene comes to DCF after seven years at the Department of Human Services, where she first served as the Deputy of Quality Assurance for the Division of Addiction Services. She later became Assistant Division Director of the Office of Care Management within DHS' Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, where she was responsible for development and implementation of the behavioral health components of New Jersey's Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver.
Ms. Greene entered state service in 2007 with many years of experience in behavioral health, including work in direct care, administration, and advocacy. She was the Executive Director of a multi-service residential treatment agency serving women with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illness for six years before being recruited by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of New Jersey to establish the Work First New Jersey Substance Abuse Initiative. While at the National Council, Greene was a core member of the team that developed a cross-systems approach to delivering screening, engagement, treatment, and care management services to parents involved with child welfare and the state's welfare to work program.
Ms. Greene was named New Jersey Task Force on Women and Addiction Woman of the Year in 2000. She holds a Master's degree in American Literature and is a New Jersey Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor.
Director, Information Technology
Linda Holland is the Director of Information Technology for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. In this role, Ms. Holland serves as a member of the department's executive management team and is responsible for providing leadership, vision, planning and management for all areas of information technology. This includes directing all IT operations to meet the department's goals and objectives as well as the support and maintenance of existing infrastructure, applications, and development of new technical solutions.
Ms. Holland brings over 24 years of experience in child welfare/information technology and was instrumental in the successful completion of the Department's SACWIS system (NJS). Additionally, Ms. Holland collaborated with the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Department of Human Services to launch the Kinship Legal Guardianship and Relative Care initiatives. Ms. Holland continually works with other state agencies on various initiatives, such as data warehousing, mobility and data security.
Ms. Holland's personal academic achievements include a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kean College in Union, NJ and a Master's degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, NY.
Chief Program Officer
Debra Lancaster was appointed as the Department’s first Chief Program Officer in May 2016. In addition to continuing to oversee the Office of Strategic Development, Debra is leading the Department’s efforts to identify, develop and support implementation of both core and specialized services for our state’s most vulnerable women, children and families. In this role, she is working closely with DCF leadership and community partners to identify additional opportunities to transition of the Department’s service array to trauma informed, evidence-supported programming. She provides oversight of our clinical services, as well as the Office of Child and Family Health, child welfare supportive housing services and oversees DCF’s research protocols and the Department’s relationships with child welfare scholars.
Previously, Debra served as DCF’s Director of Office of Child and Family Health where she was instrumental in the implementation of DCF’s Child Health Units; the development and implementation of psychotropic medication policy; and, development of forensic guidelines. Most recently, she has led the launch of the Department’s first permanent supportive housing efforts for child welfare involved families who are facing homelessness and other co-occurring challenges. Debra’s background is in work organization and management and she has a Master’s in Labor and Industrial Relations from Rutgers University.
Assistant Commissioner, Children's System of Care
Elizabeth Manley, LSW is the Director for the Children's System of Care. In this capacity Ms. Manley has direct oversight of the statewide child behavioral health, substance abuse and development/intellectual disabilities systems. This includes a wide range of community base services, inpatient units and residential treatment centers.
Prior to joining DCF Ms. Manley was the CEO of Caring Partners of Morris/Sussex, Inc., a Care Management Organization (CMO) specializing in working with youth with complex behavioral health challenges. Prior to this position, Ms. Manley worked for Capitol County Children's Collaboration, the Mercer County CMO, as the Director of Operations, since it's inception in 2002. She came to that position after spending 15 years at SERV Behavioral Health, in various positions with her final position at SERV as the Director of Children's Services for SERV Behavioral Health.
MS. Manley earned a B.S. degree in Health Education from William Paterson University and a M.S.W. from Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
Assistant Commissioner, Performance Management and Accountability
Aubrey C. Powers is the Assistant Commissioner overseeing the Office of Performance Management and Accountability for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. In this role, Mr. Powers is a member of the department's executive management team and is responsible for providing leadership to the development and implementation of performance improvement and accountability work throughout the department.
Mr. Powers has direct oversight of DCF's Office of Performance Management and Accountability, which includes all quality assurance and program evaluation activities, data analysis and reporting, and child fatality and near fatality case practice reviews. He is responsible for ongoing management of department-wide Continuous Quality Improvement and producing annual reports on the department's work and progress.
Mr. Powers brings more than 23 years of child welfare and community-based programming experience. Prior to coming to DCF, Mr. Powers was the Director of Quality Improvement, Provider Relations and Evaluation of Programs at the Philadelphia Department of Human Services. Prior to that, Mr. Powers was integral to the design and launch of the Achieving Reunification Center, an innovative model for families who have children in foster care and a goal of reunification. Mr. Powers also provided strategic leadership to the Achieving Independence Center, a "one-stop" self-sufficiency program for youth transitioning to independence. Mr. Powers has championed Fatherhood engagement and has developed and facilitated support groups for parents. Prior to that Mr. Powers held positions as a Child Protective Services social worker and supervisor.
Mr. Powers earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Temple University and Masters' of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.
Joseph E. Ribsam Jr., Esq. is DCF’s Deputy Commissioner. In this role, Joe serves as an advisor to the Commissioner and as a liaison between DCF and the Governor's Policy Office, the Office of Counsel to the Governor, the Office of the Attorney General, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Office of Legislative Services, and legislative offices. He also oversees the DCF offices of: Legal and Legislative Affairs; Policy and Regulatory Development; Communications and Public Affairs; Licensing; Grants Management, Auditing, and Records; Office of Advocacy; Office of Education; and the Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit . Mr. Ribsam also serves as the Northeast State representative on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators.
Mr. Ribsam joined the Department in 2008, serving as a legal specialist within DCF's Office of Legal Affairs providing counsel to the DCF's leadership on a range of issues. Since then Joe has served as the Department's Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs and most recently as Assistant Commissioner of Legal, Regulatory, and Legislative Affairs.
Mr. Ribsam has also worked in the private practice of law where he focused on family law and related matters. Before earning his juris doctorate from Rutgers School of Law - Newark, Mr. Ribsam taught English at Dunn Middle School in Trenton. He earned a bachelor's degree in History/Secondary Education from The College of New Jersey.
Assistant Commissioner for Legal, Regulatory and Legislative Affairs
Brian Ross is the Assistant Commissioner for Legal, Regulatory and Legislative Affairs for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. In this role, Mr. Ross has responsibility for oversight of the Department's legal, regulatory and administrative affairs. He directly supervises the Office of Legal and Legislative Affairs and the Office of Licensing, and also serves as the Director of the Office of Policy and Regulatory Development and the Department's Administrative Practices Officer.
Mr. Ross joined the Department of Children and Families as a Legal Specialist in 2011. Prior to that, he spent ten years as a program analyst with the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense focusing on family violence response and quality of life programs.
He holds a juris doctorate from George Mason University School of Law, and a bachelor's degree in International Relations from American University.
Assistant Commissioner, Family and Community Partnerships and Division on Women
Charmaine L. Thomas is the Assistant Commissioner overseeing Family and Community Partnerships and the Division on Women. In this role, Ms. Thomas oversees a statewide network of child abuse prevention programs to strengthen and support families. Before being appointed as Director, Ms. Thomas has held numerous leadership positions within DCF, examples include the Camden County Area Director and Deputy Division Director and IAIU Statewide Administrator.
Most recently Ms. Thomas served as the Camden County Area Director for Child Protection and Permanency where she partnered with the community and DCF staff to understand our children, youth, women, and families in order to assist in identifying services so that everyone individual DCF serves is successful. Prior to that she was the Deputy Division Director where she was responsible for overseeing the statewide operations of the Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit and management of the Congregate Care Risk Management Team that identified high risk facilities involved across the Office of Licensing, Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit, Evaluation Support and Special Investigations (ESSI), Children's System of Care and Child Protection and Permanency. Ms. Thomas has over 28 years of service in working with children and their families within the Department of Human Services and the Department of Children and Family Services.
Charmaine earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Hampton Institute and a Master's Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Policy and Administration from Rutgers University.
Executive Director, Adolescent Services
Jessica Trombetta, LCSW is the Executive Director of Adolescent Services. The Office of Adolescent Services (OAS) is a Department level office focused on prioritizing the needs of youth 14-21 who are receiving services from DCF, ensuring that they transition into adulthood successfully. OAS ensures that high quality services are provided to youth, develops linkages with service providers and youth advocates, and provides leadership in adolescent policy development, case practice, and training.
Most recently Ms. Trombetta served as an Associate Director at Family Connections Inc. where she supervised a range of community based programs and a therapeutic afterschool program. These programs provided case management and clinical services to children, adolescents, older adults, and families. In this role, Jessica gained extensive experience providing in-home clinical and community-based case management with youth involved with DCF, managing multiple programs, and supervising several staff. Additionally, Ms. Trombetta has worked in outpatient clinical programs, and held leadership positions in the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.
Jessica earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Ithaca College and a Master's Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Direct Practice to Children and Families from Rutgers University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and certified clinical supervisor with training in family systems theory, impact of trauma, and trauma/developmentally informed practice.
Assistant Commissioner, Child Protection and Permanency
Lisa von Pier is the Assistant Commissioner overseeing Child Protection and Permanency. Previously, Lisa was the Director of Family and Community Partnerships, which oversees a statewide network of child abuse prevention programs to strengthen and support families. She also served as the Acting Director of the Division on Women and oversaw the transition of DOW from the Department of Community Affairs to DCF. Lisa brings a wealth of child welfare experience to her post. Most recently she served as the DYFS Deputy Director for Case Practice where she led a team solely dedicated to the implementation of improved case practice.
Previously, she served as the DYFS Area Director for the Burlington/Mercer Area Office where she also led two of the case practice immersion sites. Prior to that, she held a supervisor's position within the Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships, where she supported seven counties in beginning prevention initiatives. Lisa has worked on child abuse and neglect cases for the state and Monmouth County judiciaries, and worked for a non-profit agency serving adolescents. While at the Administrative Office of the Courts, Lisa was the Family Division's representative to the Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect and has served on its Prevention Subcommittee for many years.