Our Team

Robert Cizma Heads Up New Child Center Program Area

Staff Spotlight:  Robert Cizma, Vice President of Health Homes and Integrated Care


Robert Cizma

“My philosophy has always been ‘it takes a village.’  We want to help families so they get to the point where they don’t need us.  In other words, we want to be that village.”

Robert Cizma is all about comprehensive services and wraparound treatment, having had the opportunities over his 30-year+ career to view client needs at every level.  His extensive experience in behavioral health services, as a line worker on up to his current position as Vice President of Health Homes and Integrated Care for The Child Center of NY, has provided him with a unique perspective. The new position, initiated with Robert’s hiring, creates a fifth program area for the agency.

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A Chat with COO Jaime Angarita

dsc_0002Q:  What brought you to the not-for-profit world and The Child Center of NY?

Many of the words used to describe our clients have been familiar to me throughout my life, because they could have described my own family’s situation: Poor. Immigrant. Shared family-housing. Uneducated. My mother didn’t graduate high school. She was young when she had me and worked a series of odd jobs to put food on the table. Both my wife and I have biological fathers lost to drugs or incarceration. The familiarity of these “descriptors” is what attracted me to the not-for-profit industry.

I see them as just that — descriptors. Continue reading

Yessenia Rodriguez: Coming Full Circle in The Child Center Family

At The Child Center of NY, adversity is often transformed into success, and individual talents DSC_0007 (2)contribute to powerful teams. Young people who benefit from our programs as children grow up to become driven staff, old friends are recruited to help on projects, and, as exemplified by Yessenia Rodriguez, parents take on roles in their children’s school programs and end up “on the other side,” helping Child Center families as staff themselves. Continue reading

Staff Profile: Ashley Colletti, LCSW, Intake Coordinator, South Jamaica Clinic

AshleyCollettiWhat brought you to The Child Center of NY?

When thinking about my career path, I had always felt called to work with young people because of their capacity to change and grow, as well as the joy I get out of connecting with them and their families. I was also drawn to working in a clinical capacity, empowering others to enhance their mental health and wellness. I had previously been enjoying doing social work with older adults, but when my friend who was working for The Child Center of NY recommended I apply to be a therapist, I pursued the opportunity. I am grateful for that push that led me here. Continue reading

Child Center Educator Earns Prestigious Award

The Partnership for Afterschool Education pasesetter2016Amanda_09(PASE) held its annual PASEsetter Awards Benefit at Cipriani 42nd Street on February 25 to recognize the commitment, energy, and creativity of five outstanding New York City afterschool educators and one champion. Among them was Amanda Etienne, associate director of youth development for The Child Center of NY.

During the benefit, award recipients had the opportunity to share their journeys with an audience of more than 400 people. Amanda spoke warmly about The Child Center community and its positive impact on New York City’s youth.

“Our organizational culture produces some of the most high-energy, dedicated, compassionate and passionate youth work professionals who go beyond expectations to meet the needs of our clients,” she said. Continue reading

Multisystemic Therapy: Doing Whatever It Takes to Help Teens

Multisystemic TherapyMultisystemic Therapy (MST) Services, an organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of criminal behavior, announced the latest “Whatever It Takes” Winners, and we’re proud they recognized the dedication of two Child Center team members, Keecha McKinnon and Mariana Peralta.

Multisystemic therapists support young people ages 12 to 17 who have a long history of arrests by addressing all environmental systems that impact them—their homes and families, schools and teachers, neighborhood and friends.

Keecha has been a multisystemic therapist with The Child Center for three years. She is known for going out of her way to accommodate and go the extra mile to provide care to teens. Often described by her clients as genuine and extremely nurturing, she has been especially successful at connecting with the male population.
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Child Center’s WIA Program Prospers under Leadership of Eric Torres

ericTorres_200x200For the third year running, The Child Center of NY’s WIA program, managed by Eric Torres, received an “Excellent” PQMT rating by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. The PQMT, or Program Quality Monitoring Tool, measures programs in eight key areas, from “Administrative Requirements” to “Program Content.” Torres, who became director of WIA in December of 2012, has been working hard to change the direction of the program and meet the needs of the students. WIA, from the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, aimed to increase occupational skills, employment, retention, and earnings for individuals in or potentially in the workforce. WIA is currently transitioning to WIOA, after the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act signed a year ago.

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Staff Spotlight: Sandra Hagan


Sandra Hagan, Executive Director

Sandra Hagan joined the staff in 1986 as executive director. Ms. Hagan worked for 15 years at an international agency serving runaway and homeless youth where she ran a large shelter in Times Square, then established similar programs in other countries. She received her master’s degree in social work administration from Hunter College of Social Work.

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Child Center Staffer to Compete in National Pageant

Ms. New York, Ana Treppiedi,competing in Ms. America pageant

Anna Treppiedi, a.k.a. Ms. New York, is no shrinking violet. As students at the School’s Out New York City (SONYC) after-school program at the Waterside School for Leadership know well, she doesn’t shrink from a challenge, or from any opportunity to speak her mind—especially when the subject is education. That’s why it’s no surprise that she’s a contestant in this year’s Ms. America pageant. Continue reading

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