Members of the SICC come from a variety of backgrounds and have in common a strong tie to the New Jersey Early Intervention System. Members are:
- parents of children who receive or who have received early intervention services;
- early intervention professionals, working directly with families and children or in administrative capacities;
- representatives of agencies that are linked to early intervention including departments of state government, providers of services needed by young children, such as Early Head Start and childcare, and institutions of higher education that prepare professionals; and
- a member of the legislature.
Members of the SICC are appointed by the Governor.
State Interagency Coordinating Council Membership
- Gloria Rodriguez, Ass't Commissioner
New Jersey Dept of Health
Division of Family Health Services
Lead Agency for Part C
- Barbara Tkach
New Jersey Department of Education
Office of Special Education Programs
- Thomas Lind, MD
Department of Human Services
Division of Medical Assistance & Health Services
- Chanell McDevitt, Deputy Executive Director
New Jersey Dept of Banking/Insurance
- Michele Safrin
Department of Children and Families
- Rosemary Browne
Department of Children and Families
- Danielle Anderson-Thomas
Department of Education
Office of Homeless Children and Youth
- Terry Harrison, M.Ed.
Part C Coordinator, NJEIS
Early Intervention System
New Jersey Dept Health
- Terrie (Theresa) Goeke
Rachel Badalamenti was appointed to the SICC in 2011. She is a parent of two children. Her older daughter participated in the NJ Early Intervention System. Her daughter began receiving early intervention services at 16 months old due to global developmental delays. At 22 months old she was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. At 5 years old, she was accepted to a private school for children with autism and is making extraordinary progress. Rachel has stated: “Early Intervention gave my daughter the foundation she needed for continued success. During her time in early intervention, not only did my daughter make progress, her teachers and therapists also provided our family with tremendous support during a difficult time. The Early Intervention System is critical in giving children with disabilities the start they need. My hope is to be able to work as a member of the Council to help make the system even better for children and their families.” Rachel has a Masters Degree in Social work from Rutgers University. She previously worked for the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities until she decided to stay home with her children.
Tia Dix was appointed to the Council in 2011. She is a parent of one child who received services from the Early Intervention System due to speech and sensory delays. The services and support through early intervention and collaboration from the school district enabled her child to make significant strides in education, physical and emotional development.
Her background is in Human Resources, Mediation and Training. She currently provides training for First Responders on Emergency Preparedness and Autism Awareness in New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York.
Annette Ristoro was appointed to the Council in 2007. She is the parent of two children who were in the Early Intervention system.
Her daughter had speech delay due to low muscle tone and she had sensory issues. Her daughter was de-classified upon entering kindergarten.
Her son was speech delayed and had sensory integration dysfunction. After transitioning to the preschool disabled program, he had Selective Mutism which is a social communication anxiety disorder. He remains in the special education system.
Annette previously was a board member for the Southern New Jersey Regional Early Intervention Collaborative. She felt it was the best way to give something back to the community. She holds a Masters Degree in Human Service Administration from Rider University. She is currently writing a book on Selective Mutism.
Michele Tyler was appointed to the SICC in 2011. She is married and the parent of three children. Two of her children received services in the Early Intervention system, one in New York and one in New Jersey. Her oldest son had a speech delay and received speech and occupational therapy. He was declassified upon entering kindergarten partly due to the services he received in Early Intervention. Her youngest child began receiving services thru NJ Early Intervention System when he was 14 months old. After his diagnosis of autism at 2 years old, he continued to receive support and services thru the NJ Early Intervention System. EI was a great source of information during his transition to the preschool disabled program. Michele is a very active member of her local Special Education Parent Advisory Group. She is also the secretary of the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities Regional Family Support Planning Council and a graduate of Partners in Policy Making thru the Council. Most recently, Michele has been asked to join the NJ Special Needs Advisory Panel. Michele's outlook on life is: "My thirst for knowledge is never ending so networking with other parents and professional is my life long career."
Steve Weiss was appointed to the Council in 2008. He is the CFO and General Counsel of GalaxE.Solutions, Inc., an Information Technology services firm, and is the parent of two children. Both children have been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum and both participated in the NJ Early Intervention System.
Steve's daughter began receiving early intervention services at 21 months of age in 2005. She recently began kindergarten where she is half day mainstreamed. She is expected to be full day mainstreamed by the first grade. Steve's son began receiving early intervention services at 16 months in 2006. He is currently in a full day pre-school program for children with autism and has been making tremendous progress.
In Steve's own words: "Neither of my children would be where they are today, or where they will be in the future, without early intervention. It is clear that services at an early age provide exponential benefits. The Early Intervention System is critical to the well being of children with disabilities and their families and I am committed to enhancing this program the best that I can."
Michele Christopoulos was appointed to the Council in 2005 under Governor Richard Codey. Michele has been involved in Early Intervention for 15 years with 8 years in New York and 7 years in New Jersey. She holds a masters degree in Special Education from CW Post University. She has worked with children and their families in their homes as well as school settings. Michele is with Progressive Steps, an early intervention provider of services for children located in Hackensack, NJ.
Celine Fortin was appointed to the Council in 2002. She is the Associate Executive Director of The Arc of New Jersey which has five local chapters that provide early intervention services. Her educational background is in psychology, fine arts and social work. She has more than thirty years of experience working in the field of mental health and developmental disabilities.
Joseph A. Holahan, M.D., was appointed to the Council in 2000. He is the Medical Director of the Child Development Center at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Paterson, and the Chair of the Committee on Children with Disabilities of the NJ Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics. He and his wife, Nancy, who is also a Developmental Pediatrician, have four children.
In his own words: "The whole premise of the practice of Developmental Pediatrics is early identification and timely provision of services. I want to work with the SICC to keep improving the system and assure it works for families and children."
He has served on the New Jersey Department of Education's Special Education Advisory Council.
Warren Moore has worked at Children’s Specialized Hospital since 1998, and is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to coming to Children’s Specialized, he worked in the adult rehabilitation field for several large, for-profit hospital companies. His areas of expertise are in business development, planning and hospital operations. All total he has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare field.
At Children’s Specialized, Warren focuses much of his time on planning for the hospital’s future growth. Creating access to care for under-served children is a passion of his.
Warren is responsible for all of the hospital’s operations, including: outpatient services, support services, school programs and the early intervention program.
Warren received his Bachelor of Science degree in business management from the University of Maryland, and a Master’s degree in health and human service administration from Rider University. He serves on the community advisory committee for the New Jersey Family Care Program, Board of Directors for the Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities, the Governor Appointed, Vice Chair for the State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).
Warren is the proud father of two boys and three step-daughters. He spends most of his free time with his wife Jen and their children, coaching their sports teams or helping with homework. He is an avid runner and enjoys exercise and playing various sports.
Joyce K. Salzberg was appointed to the SICC in 1996. She is Co-Founder and CEO of Sunny Days Early Childhood Developmental Services that currently provides early intervention services to 1700 families a week in New Jersey and targeted evaluation teams in Hunterdon, Ocean, Morris, Sussex and Atlantic counties. Sunny Days also provides early intervention services in Pennsylvania, California and New York. She is married and has two grown children, who also work in Sunny Days, and four grandchildren.
Joyce is a licensed clinical social worker with over twenty-five years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities. She is the former Associate Executive Director of United Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey and in that capacity founded their early intervention program that is now known as Building Blocks. One of her fondest memories in early intervention is working with colleagues in Essex County in the early 1990’s to conceive and pilot the first regional collaborative now known as Family Link.
Joyce served on the Department of Health Finance Task Force and the Steering Committee for Continuous Improvement and Focused Monitoring.
Kimberley Peto was appointed as a Service Coordinator representative to the State Interagency Coordinating Council in 2010. Ms. Peto has been a Service Coordinator in Bergen County since 1994 and currently serves as the Assistant Coordinator for the Bergen County Case Management and Service Coordination Units.
Ms. Peto holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University, where her course of study was focused on administration, policy and planning. She also received a certification in Developmental Disabilities. Prior to working in Early Intervention, Ms. Peto was the Executive Director of an agency providing vocational and daily living skills training and opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities.
Ms. Peto currently serves on the Service Delivery Committee to the SICC.
Connie Gordon was appointed to the SICC in 2010. She is a social worker and started her career in Early Intervention in 2002 after graduating from Rutgers with her MSW. Connie spent her earlier career in corporate marketing and contract negotiations with AT&T, while raising her four children.
Catherine Noble Colucci, MA, OTR, DIR Certified, was appointed to the SICC in 2011. She is the Director of a proposed/developing Occupational Therapy Assistant Program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Catherine is an Occupational Therapist and has been a part-time early intervention provider since 2002 for The Children’s Center in Edison, NJ. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of New Hampshire, an Advanced Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy with a specialization in developmental disabilities from New York University, and is currently a doctoral student at Towson University in Maryland. Catherine is certified in the Developmental, Individual Difference, and Relationship Based Model, and holds a post-professional certificate in Infant Mental Health from the YCS Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health. Catherine was appointed to the SICC to represent personnel preparation and hopes to support interdisciplinary training in family-centered models of service delivery.
Dr. Lisa Della Vecchia was appointed to the SICC in 2011. She represents the Acelero Learning, a Head Start agency in Monmouth and Middlesex Counties. Since 2000, Dr. Della Vecchia has been involved in early intervention, preschool education and working with special needs students in various sectors. Dr. Della Vecchia was a Supervisor of Early Childhood Education for a NJ school District, a Director of Early Intervention evaluation and services in southern New Jersey and worked for the NJ Department of Education in the Office of Early Childhood Education. She has been in her current position as the Director of Education with Acelero Learning for one year. In this role, Dr. Della Vecchia oversees close to 200 teaching staff, curriculum implementation and overseeing services and education for children with special needs. As a former teacher with B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology with a minor in Cultural History from Pace University and a Masters degree from New York University in Education Administration/Early Childhood Education, she was a preschool teacher and early intervention developmental interventionist in urban areas. Dr. Della Vecchia earned her doctorate in Education Administration.
Barbara Tkach, M.ED. was appointed to the SICC Council in 2006. She represents the New Jersey Office of Special Education Programs of the Department of Education (DOE).
Since 1998, Ms. Tkach has been the 619 Coordinator (Preschool/Special Education) at the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education. In this role she is ambassador for families with young children with disabilities to the DOE’s Offices of Special Education and Early Childhood and the state agencies she collaborates. The list of agencies includes early intervention, school districts, Head Start and child care. Barbara holds a Master Degree in Early Childhood/Special Education from Temple University. Prior to this position for ten years she was a Director of a non-profit agency providing early intervention services and preschool special education supports and classes to children with disabilities and their families. As a teacher with a B.A. in Early Childhood from the College of New Jersey she was a home educator providing early intervention for five years in an urban environment, a preschool special education teacher in a rural environment and an early childhood teacher in an inclusive classroom in the suburbs.
Thomas E. Lind, M.D., F.A.A.P. was appointed to the SICC in 2011. He is the Director of New Jersey Medical Assistance and Health Services. He is also the Medical Director for the Camden School Based Youth Services Program, a position he has held since 2007, serving students in two high schools and five middle schools in the city of Camden, NJ. He served as the Director of the Foster Care Initiative at UMDNJ-SOM from 2003 through 2007, and collaborated with three other Centers of Excellence in New Jersey in creating the CHEC comprehensive screening protocol for all children removed from their homes, which was instituted in 2005. He was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 1998 through 2004, and at the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children from 1996 through 1998. He is a graduate of Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and completed his residency at the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA. For the past 11 years, he has led students from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia on service learning trips to West Virginia, Tennessee, New Mexico, Ecuador and Mexico. He also provides medical and other services to three orphanages in and around Carrefour, Haiti, most recently in 2010. He has three children, aged 14, 11 and 8 years, and lives in Sewell, NJ.
Chanell McDevitt, J.D., was appointed to the SICC in 2007. She represents the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI).
Ms. McDevitt is the Deputy Executive Director of the Individual Health Coverage (IHC) and Small Employer Health Benefits (SEH) Programs. These programs, in but not of the DOBI, and overseen by separate boards of directors, regulate health plans in the individual and small group markets in New Jersey. Ms. McDevitt has a long career in State service that includes employment at the Department of Health, and involvement with many commissions and task forces that have addressed multiple health care and health insurance issues over the years.
Michele Safrin was appointed to the SICC in 2011. She is the administrator for the Office of Educational Support and Programs, a NJ Department of Children and Families intradepartmental office that provides advocacy services and technical support to DCF staff, school personnel, youth and families to support improved educational outcomes for children served by the department’s agencies and offices. Previously she served at the coordinator for the New Jersey Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board and the New Jersey Child Welfare Citizen Review Panel, two federally and state mandated oversight bodies tasked with reviewing the policies and practices of New Jersey’s child welfare system and making recommendations for systemic improvement. Ms. Safrin spent 20 years at the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, and the New Jersey Department of Human Services where she worked in various direct service and administrative positions including adolescent services, adoption, quality assurance and the Office of Program Integrity and Accountability. Ms. Safrin earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Farleigh Dickinson University and a Master’s degree in Social Work with specialization in Administration, Policy and Planning from Rutgers University. She served as an advisory member of the Clinical Certificate in Adoption Practice at Rutgers University School of Social Work, Institute for Families. The certificate program is intended to increase the knowledge of mental health practitioners regarding the core issues of adoption while expanding clinical skills in attachment-based, family-focused therapeutic interventions.
Rosemary Browne, MSW, was appointed to the SICC in 2010. She represents the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. Ms. Browne is the Assistant Division Director of the Division of Child Behavioral Health Services. In her current role Ms. Browne is responsible for the Clinical and Community Services staff which oversees care/case management, mobile response, family support organization, intensive in community and behavioral assistance, outpatient and partial care services for the state of New Jersey. Ms. Browne’s career in the child welfare/children’s mental health field has spanned over twenty-one years.
Danielle Anderson Thomas, M.ED. was appointed to the SICC in 2011. She represents the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of Title I, as the state coordinator of the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program and Migrant Education Program. Since 1998, Danielle has been the state coordinator of Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program and Migrant Education Program at the New Jersey Department of Education. In this role she is an advocate for children, youth and families experiencing homelessness and those with migratory lifestyles, and collaborates with other offices within the NJDOE in addition to many other state and local agencies. Danielle holds a Masters Degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Chestnut Hill College, with extensive experience working in early childhood programs. Prior to her employment at the NJDOE, she was the Executive Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Child Development Center in Camden, NJ, Education Specialist, Philadelphia Parent-Child Center, Philadelphia, Pa. and Assistant Education Coordinator/Center Director, New Beginnings Head Start, Philadelphia, Pa. Danielle and her husband, a Fire Chief, are involved in a number of church and civic organizations and activities. She cherishes “building memories” with her husband, children and mother, and enjoys travel, cooking, reading, learning new things and meeting new people.