Meet Our Team!



Cindy Brauer, Family Support Specialist


Cindy has been a crucial part of Families’ Child Advocacy Network since 2007. In addition to being a credentialed Family Peer Advocate through Families Together in New York State, Cindy has over 25 years of experience as a nursing assistant. These experiences truly reflect in her work as an advocate; always putting families first and encouraging them to grow. She attends numerous trainings throughout the year because learning skills that benefit her families are a big motivator for her. She is currently working toward becoming a Family Assessment Needs (FAN) Trainer!


Cindy’s experience with one of her children, who had developmental, emotional, and behavioral challenges, brought her to utilize Families’ Child Advocacy Network’s services. She worked with an Advocate, attended Roundtable Meetings, and became and Advocate herself!


Cindy moderates the the Southtown and City Roundtable Discussion Meetings presented by Families' Child Advocacy Network. These meetings help care-givers navigate the system of care and provides useful parenting tools and resources.


Cindy values her immediate and extended family, her two Chihuahuas, and her “grand cat”. She recently bought a new home and feels that it’s her refuge and favorite place to be.


 What makes it all worth it for Cindy:


“First of all, I work with some awesome co-workers! It is great to be a part of helping families through systems of care and helping them to move forward.”  


*Cindy was awarded as the Key Contributor of the Year for 2015*



Edna Martinez, Family Support Specialist (Spanish Speaking)


Edna is one of the newer additions to Families’ Child Advocacy Network and began working with us in 2015. Edna utilized the organization when she was having a difficult time raising one of her children. She worked in the field of Family Support for eleven years prior to joining our team and has completed various training programs. Edna is credentialed as a Family Peer Advocate through Families Together in New York State and looks forward to additional opportunities for growth.


Edna’s personal experiences have inspired her to carry a message of hope to her families who are struggling. She has had to advocate for her own family and feels that advocacy is essential in “weathering the storm.”


Why Edna enjoys her work at Families’ Child Advocacy Network:


“We give and receive support from each other (Advocates) and then we are able to share that with the families we serve and then they can pass it on. It’s so important that we all know we are not alone in these trials.”


*Edna was awarded recognition as Key Contributor of the Month of January 2016*



Alice Hughes, Family Support Specialist


Alice has been working with Families’ Child Advocacy Network since 2011. She has a Certificate in Human Services and an Associate Degree in Social Sciences. She has over ten years of personal experience navigating the Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Systems of Care in Erie County. Alice has received credentialing as a Family Peer Advocate from Families Together in New York State and has attended numerous trainings related to her position. She is always taking advantage of opportunities to further her knowledge and attends trainings annually.


After having two step-children involved in the System of Care and using a Family Support Specialist from Families’ Child Advocacy Network, Alice became motivated to become a Family Support Specialist herself.


Outside of work, Alice loves spending time with her family and her hilarious dog. She spends her down time reading e-books and binge watching crime dramas on Netflix.


Alice’s favorite thing about being an advocate:


“The best part of my job is when I see a parent has found her/his own way. They no longer need an advocate because they have acquired the tools to successfully advocate for themselves!”




Enriqueta “Kety” Rodriguez, Family Support Specialist (Spanish Speaking)


Kety began her time at Families’ Child Advocacy Network in 2010. Not only is Kety a credentialed Family Peer Advocate through Families Together in New York State, she is Spanish speaking and has had her own experiences as a parent that make her an asset to the families she serves.


“My daughter was my greatest challenge. She gave me a run for my money!” Kety says of her child that brought her to navigating the Juvenile Justice System in Erie County years ago. Her personal experiences have impacted her tremendously and she feels strongly about our organization’s mission. After receiving help from Families’ Child Advocacy Network, she decided to “pay it forward” and dove, head-first into the field of advocacy.  She continues to participate in trainings and classes that allow her to stay relevant and effective in her work.


Her children and her job are the most important aspects of her life.


 Why Kety loves her job:


“The best thing about being an advocate is the accomplishment that I feel from helping people find a better place in life.”


*Kety was awarded the Key Contributor of the Month in the month of February 2016*

Nicole Battaglia, Family Support Specialist


When Nicole’s child was placed in the Juvenile Justice Program and WRAP services, she reached out to Families’ Child Advocacy Network for help. Her child’s mental and behavioral health was of utmost importance to her and she wanted what was best for her family. Her experiences in navigating the various systems of care in Erie County inspired her to become an advocate herself. Nicole joined Families’ Child Advocacy Network in 2013 and has been a diligent Family Support Specialist ever since! She is credentialed as a Family Peer Advocate through Families Together in New York State. She is also continuing to attend annual trainings in order to perfect her skills as a Family Peer Advocate.


Outside of work, Nicole’s top priority is her family.


What makes Nicole’s work special:


“I love being able to help at least one family understand that they aren’t alone in their hardships. As advocates, we can offer support because we have been in similar situations and we aren’t judging them.”  




Cheryl Brudecki, Family Support Specialist


Cheryl has been with Families’ Child Advocacy Network since 2013. Her experience navigating the System of Care with her granddaughter and her previous work as a teacher’s aide in a special education class give her a great deal of expertise. Although Cheryl is a credentialed Family Peer Advocate through Families Together in New York State, she continues to support her growth in the field by attending several trainings yearly. She is especially proud of the work she does in schools, advocating for education.


Through raising children with mental health struggles and having had a Family Advocate through Families’ Child Advocacy Network herself, Cheryl recognizes the importance of peer support.


Raising her granddaughter, being with friends, baking and participating in a weekly Family Night are some of the activities that bring her the most joy outside of the workplace.


Cheryl’s most valued outcomes at work:


“Teaching others how to parent effectively, talking to teachers at school and being able to get families the services they need are the highlights of the work I do!”

 

Christine Patterson, Family Support Specialist


Christine is a Native American advocate at Families' Child Advocacy Network. She became a Family Support Specialist with the organization in early 2016. She is incredibly excited to put her passions into practice. Christine has always enjoyed helping families and youth experiencing mental health, behavioral and learning obstacles and has previous professional experience in the Family Support arena.


Thirteen years ago, Christine adopted two children who were struggling with mental health challenges. Although she wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world, she is well-acquainted with the system of care and the difficulties parents face when seeking appropriate services.


Christine loves spending time with her children and her grandchildren. She is very family-oriented and learning new things and being able to pass them along to younger generations is essential to her!


Why being an Advocate is so appealing to Christine:


“Helping families to become united and strong as one unit is important to me. I’m so very happy Families’ Child Advocacy Network has given me the opportunity to do so!”

 


Tanya Hernandez, Assistant Executive Director and Juvenile Justice Supervisor 

(Spanish Speaking)

 

Tanya became a member of the team in 2007 after having to advocate for a child in the Juvenile Justice System. She uses those personal experiences to carry out the Families’ Child Advocacy Network mission and enrich family relationships.

 

Tanya has had extensive experience as an Advocate and Supervisor in the field of Human Services and Family Support. She also speaks Spanish and has completed community translation programs. In addition to her formal education, and credentialing as a Family Peer Advocate through Families Together in New York State, Tanya has had numerous trainings which include:

 

  • Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum Training of the Trainer
  • P.E.P. (Parent Empowerment Program) Training of the Trainer
  • Mediation Training through the Center for Resolution and Justice
  • An Introduction to Community Interpreting
  • Critical Incident Stress Management: Individual Crisis Intervention and Peer Support
  • Critical Incident Stress Management: Group Crisis Intervention
  • Lineage Project Professional Training
  • And many more!

 

Tanya values spending time with her family and she is passionate about her spiritual practices and mixed-media arts!

 

Tanya's driving force:

 

“Being able to ensure that a family’s journey through the system of care isn’t as difficult or as isolating as your own is the biggest motivator.” 

 

Milton Williams, Lead Family Advocate and Vendor Supervisor


Milton has been an advocate with Families’ Child Advocacy Network since 2007.  He was introduced to the field when his child was having difficulties and he had to navigate the system of care to receive essential services.


Milton is a credentialed Family Peer Advocate through Families Together in New York State and has completed a Parent Empowerment Program of New York State training. Milton has attended several trainings in the field of Advocacy and Peer Support.


Milton began a support group for fathers at Families’ Child Advocacy Network. The Fathers Group presented by Milton focuses on helping male care-givers meet the needs of their children and be positive male role-models in the community. Milton also teaches Effective Black Parenting classes to parents and care-givers who are interested in utilizing this culturally appropriate training. He has extensive experience in advocating within the Buffalo School System.


In his free time, Milton most appreciates spending time with his family and working out.


Milton’s mission:


“My most essential focus is to help families in this complex system get their children on the correct path of life.”




Vicki McCarthy, Executive Director

Vicki has been a vital part of the Families' Child Advocacy Network mission since 2005 when she took on the role as Executive Director at the organization's birth. Her personal family experiences caused her to become incredibly passionate about advocacy and peer support. After using family support resources for her family's needs, she wanted to "pay it forward" and help others.

In addition to a formal education, Vicki has vast experience with the various systems of care and has completed a broad spectrum of traininig. She has also benefited from numerous years of mentorship from Family Support Providers in the region. Vicki is a credentialed provider of Common Sense Parenting and offers classes to care-givers through Families' Child Advocacy Network. Vicki is committed to providing the staff at Families' Child Advocacy Network with invaluable support and opportunities to advance their knowledge of the field. 

Vicki adores anytime spent with Family and her beloved pets. She also enjoys baking and exercising!

Vicki's favorite aspect of the job:

"I'm most passionate about teaching families how to be the best advocate for their children!"