Dr. Berlin is the founder and Executive Director of AFS. In 1973 he was hired by Huckleberry House in San Francisco to create a foster care program for teenage runaways. That program was reincorporated as Alternative Family Services, which began independent operations on July 1, 1978. Dr. Berlin graduated from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1969, earned his Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from Goddard College in 1974 and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Professional School of Psychology in 1989. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on alienation and self esteem in Vietnamese refugee foster children. He has continuously guided the growth and development of AFS for almost 38 years.
“The AFS clinical model is one of social support. The magic and the healing for children happens 24/7 in their foster and adoptive homes. The child’s fist line of stability and support are the foster/adoptive parents. The main responsibility of our casework staff is to support the families - to be there for them day or night, whenever they are needed. The primary responsibility of our Program Directors is to support their caseworkers. The primary responsibility of our Senior Leadership Team is to support the Program Directors. And so, up the line. This same notion of support applies equally to our mental health and Transition Aged Youth services. It is my primary responsibility to support the Senior Leadership Team and through them, the entire organization. While the work can be very hard, everyone should feel supported and part of a team distinguished by clarity and unity of purpose.”
LCSW, Associate Director
Jim Gold earned his Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984, and his Licensed Clinical Social Worker credential in 1991. He began with AFS in 1986 as the Program Director of the (then named) Marin Extended Family. Mr. Gold oversees all aspects of AFS’ clinical programs.
“I see my major challenge in the coming few years as maintaining quality services to children and families as budgets are slashed and as AFS expands. I am most rewarded by the staff I have the honor of working with and the children and families I have the honor of serving.”
CPA, Chief Financial Officer
Martha E. Duarte has been a Certified Public Accountant, (CPA) for the past 20 years with a diverse background in the public, non-profit and corporate sector. Her corporate financial management experience ranges from being a Chief Financial Officer for small start-ups to Assistant Controller to $325k million annual revenue SEC banking firm. Ms. Duarte worked for KPMG Peat Marwick in San Francisco as an audit supervisor for a period of 3 years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Business Management (Accounting) from CSU Sonoma, CA in 1990. Born in Mexico, Ms. Duarte is fluent in Spanish as well as English.
“My major challenge over the next couple of years is to build infrastructure in the Finance and Human Resource functions to enable AFS to grow strategically and to meet the challenges of a slow economy that demands us to do more with less.
“What I find most rewarding about working for AFS is knowing that my efforts and contributions directly support the mission of AFS. It is important to me that my work is helping to lessen the suffering of foster children and youth and promotes the healing process and permanency in their young lives. I get much joy from being a part of the AFS team. I believe our commitment to working together and to lead with heart is what differentiates AFS from other agencies.”
MSW, Director of Foster Care and Adoptions
Craig Barton earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Southern University in 1983. He was granted a Master’s Degree in Social Work from San Jose State University in 1992. Prior to coming to AFS Mr. Barton worked as a therapist for six years in a school based day treatment. Later he woked at Santa Clara Medical Center as member of a trauma team in the emergency department. He began with AFS as the Program Director of our San Francisco foster care program in 1992, shortly after the birth of his first child.
“My team’s principal challenge this year will be to develop our Intensive Treatment Foster Care program and to better train and recruit families who are able to work with more challenging behaviors. The family atmosphere and the rich culture at AFS make my job rewarding. Staff members really enjoy their jobs and are invested in helping our kids overcome trauma and adversity in their young lives.”
Director of Mental Health Services
Lisa Hilley was granted a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland in 1999, and her PH.D. in Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Medicine from the same institution in 2002. Prior to joining AFS in 2007 in her current position, she served as the Director of Quality Management for Edgewood Center for Children and Families in San Francisco. She is currently responsible for the oversight, management and development of all AFS Mental Health Services.
“My major challenges over the next two years are to develop the Alameda County Visitation Center; design, implement and maintain staff training in best practice approaches (including documentation training, clinical interventions, family systems, cultural awareness and competence, etc) , and introduce outcome measures at the client, program and system levels. I believe that services focused on the family and based in the community increase the likelihood of positive change for children and youth. The philosophy of AFS fits my personal and professional values and goals. I like being surrounded by the creativity and dedication of the AFS staff, foster parents, and Executive Team.”
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