Joseph E. Ribsam Jr., Esq.
Lisa von Pier
Kara P. Wood
Elizabeth W. Bowman is DCF’s Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Performance Management and Accountability.
In this role, Bowman serves as 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 across the divisions and offices of the department.
Bowman has direct oversight for DCF’s Office of Performance Management and Accountability, which includes all quality assurance and program evaluation, information technology and reporting, child fatality and near fatality case practice reviews, child abuse investigations in institutional settings, and licensing operations for adoption, children’s residential treatment, and child care centers.
Since 2010, Bowman has been DCF’s director of Quality. Prior to joining DCF, Bowman worked as the Assistant Director – Office of Child Welfare Initiatives at the Rutgers University School of Social Work, Institute for Families; and Program Manager for the NJ Child Welfare Training Partnership.
Bowman also worked for DCF from 2006 to 2007 as a Training Manager for the NJ Child Welfare Training Academy. She began her career working for the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS), holding a variety of positions primarily in the field of educational program development.
Bowman earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Drew University in Madison, NJ, and a master’s degree in Social Services from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She is a licensed clinical social worker with experience working in the non-profit arena in programs serving primarily women and children prior to her state service.
Director, 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, Legal, Regulatory and Legislative Affairs
Joseph E. Ribsam Jr., Esq. is the Assistant Commissioner of Legal, Regulatory and Legislative Affairs. In this role, Joe serves as the primary point of contact between DCF and the Attorney General’s Office, the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Public Defender’s Office, the Governor’s Policy Office, the Office of Counsel to the Governor, the Governor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, legislative offices and the Office of Legislative Services. He also oversees legislative affairs, policy and regulatory development and modifications, and all legal liaison work between the divisions and offices of DCF and the Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Ribsam also serves as the Northeast State representative on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators.
Previously, Mr. Ribsam served as DCF’s Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs where he was the department’s primary liaison to the Governor’s office on matters regarding policy, legislation and intergovernmental affairs as well as legislative offices and the Office of Legislative Services. In that role, Mr. Ribsam testified on behalf of DCF before legislative committees regarding legislation of significance to the Department. He also managed the department’s legislative services including tracking, reviewing and advising on the impact of proposed legislation and responding to inquiries from legislative offices. In addition, he directed the department’s policy development.
Upon joining DCF in 2008, Mr. Ribsam served as a legal specialist within DCF’s Office of Legal Affairs where he provided general legal review and guidance to executive staff regarding a range of issues such as: preparation and implementation of new legislation, regulations, and policy; compliance with federal and state mandates; drafting and reviewing Final Agency Decisions; the operation of the department-run regional schools; and the impact of precedential court decisions on policy and practice.
Mr. Ribsam has also worked in private practice where he focused on family law and related matters. He completed a clerkship in the Middlesex County Family Court in New Brunswick. 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 in Ewing, NJ.
Chief of Staff
Barbara Rusen is the Chief of Staff for the Department of Children and Families overseeing Administration and Legal Affairs; Grants Management, Auditing and Records; Communications and Public Affairs; Advocacy; Child Welfare Training Academy and Partnership; and Information Technology.
Ms. Rusen brings over 20 years of experience in developing strategic plans, models, processes, needs assessments, curriculum, and evaluation components that result in producing effective organizational products and services. Prior to coming to DCF, Ms. Rusen was the Acting Director for the Institute for Families at the School of Social Work at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey where she has organized, developed, interpreted, and managed policies for remote offices throughout the state that lead to the increased service capacity and stability of human service professionals ensuring that children and their families receive all available support services.
Along with Ms. Rusen's commitment to children and families in New Jersey, she has been actively involved in collaborating with other state and national agencies highlighting New Jersey’s diverse needs while leveraging work perspectives and efforts from other agencies. Ms. Rusen has been an educator, guest speaker, committee member, and child advocate at state and national conferences and meetings such as National Child Support Enforcement Agency, National Judicial Task Force, New Jersey Child Support Conference, Judicial College, and National Staff Development and Training Association, serving as a resource for other similar programs and initiatives that enhance children and family services.
Ms. Rusen's personal academic achievements include a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Management, Project Management Critical Skills Certificate, and a Master's Degree in Education.
Director, Office of Adolescent Services
Jessica Trombetta, LCSW is the Director of the Office of Adolescent Services. The Office of Adolescent Services is a Department level office focused on prioritizing the needs of youth who are aging out/aging in, ensuring that DCF staff has the resources they need to service these youth, and building strong collaborative partnerships with other stakeholders and advocates serving these youth.
Most recently Ms. Trombetta served as an Associate Director at Family Connections Inc. where she supervised community based programs and a therapeutic afterschool program that provided case management and clinical services to at-risk children, adolescents, older adults, and families. In this role, Jessica gained extensive experience in working with youth involved with DCF, including CP&P (formerly DYFS) and CSOC (formerly DCBHS). Additionally, Ms. Trombetta has provided direct clinical services and case management as well as clinical and programmatic supervision.
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 clinical supervisor with extensive training regarding children and adolescents with complex trauma and family systems theory.
Assistant Commissioner, Director of Family and Community Partnerships (formerly DPCP), Acting Director of Division on Women
Lisa von Pier is the Assistant Commissioner serving as the Director of Family and Community Partnerships and Acting Director of the Division on Women. 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 oversaw the transition of the Division on Women 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.
Doris Windle is the Chief Administrator, Business Operations, for the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF). In this role, Doris is responsible for the administration of the business functions of the department including budget planning and operations, revenue development and collection, financial reporting, Title IV-E eligibility determinations, accounting, procurement and contract administration. Previously, Doris held the position of Director, Office of Budget and Revenue at DCF, where she was responsible for the planning, preparation and monitoring of the department’s $1.6 billion budget, including its spending plan and related fiscal analysis as well as revenue development and collection.
Prior to the creation of DCF in 2006, Doris worked as Budget Administrator in the Office of Children’s Services at the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS). In this role Doris managed a $1.1 billion budget, and provided direction and assistance to constituent divisions in budgeting and financial administration including the development of policies and procedures.
Additionally, Doris was Chief Budget Officer at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) where she developed planning documents, salary analysis, revenue projections and budget data.
In all of her previous positions, Doris has prepared budget briefing materials and data for legislative hearings.
Doris earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in business from Rider University, Lawrenceville, NJ.
Director, Child Protection and Permanency (formerly DYFS)
Kara P. Wood is the Director Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P), the State’s child protection agency. Most recently, Ms. Wood served as the DYFS Chief of Staff where she was responsible for the operational management of the division and its 5,000 employees and for managing all reporting aspects of the federal consent decree. Previously she served as the Department’s Chief of Staff with responsibility for the daily operations of DCF and advising the Commissioner on strategic planning, crisis management and communication, and policy.
Prior to joining DCF, Ms. Wood served as the Director of Project Management at the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, where she created and managed a grants management office and improved coordination of department resources. She has also served as Director of Communications for the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and Director of Communications and Policy for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. In both positions, she was responsible for communications with media, outreach, speech writing, and advising on strategic planning, crisis management and media relations.
Prior to moving to New Jersey, Ms. Wood served as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the United States Department of Justice, and the Director of Communications for the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington D.C. Wood began her career in public service as Deputy Press Secretary to United States Senator Paul S. Sarbanes.
Ms. Wood graduated Cum Laude from Georgetown University, with a B.S. in International Politics and a minor in African Studies.