Who We Are

Staff Members

Elizabeth Buckner, LCSW, is a graduate of the Fordham University School of Social Work. Hillary Mayers, LCSW is a graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work. They are the co-founders of Chances For Children-NY (CFC). In addition to their individual private practices in Manhattan, they have worked together since 1995 in a variety of settings to address the needs of young children and families. They created CFC in 2000. Until 2008, CFC was affiliated with the New York City Department of Education. Since then, CFC has focused on community-based mental health projects for families with children up to five years old, and on training other mental health professionals in the CFC protocol.

Elisa Istueta joined CFC in 2018 as Executive Director. She oversees all strategic programmatic and expansion initiatives for the organization. Prior to joining CFC, Ms. Istueta was the Executive Director of Storefront Academy and managed its expansion by opening the Storefront Academy South Bronx charter school. During her career Ms. Istueta has focused on children’s needs, as well as education access and equity. She spent 10 years at BronxWorks, where she held the position of Department Director of Children and Youth Programs, was a Deputy Director at The Valley, Inc., where she supervised all family counseling programs, and also worked at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Safe Horizon, and Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service.

Ms. Istueta graduated from Wesleyan University and received her Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University Teachers College.

Silvia Juarez-Marrazzo, LCSW, joined CFC in 2018 as Clinical Director. Originally from Argentina, she is a Nationally Accredited Adlerian Psychoanalyst. Ms. Juarez-Marazzo holds an Infant Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Certificate from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She is a rostered trauma-Informed Child-Parent Psychotherapist Clinician and a Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator. From 2005 to 2016, Ms. Juarez-Marazzo was a Senior Clinician, Supervisor and Senior Faculty for the early childhood evidenced based program Child First Inc., Connecticut. From 2016 until 2017, she joined the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP), Connecticut, bringing Infant Mental Health Consultation to the Early Care and Education Settings through her role as an Assistant Program Manager.

Ms. Juarez-Marazzo is an Adjunct Faculty at the Southern Connecticut State University Master in Social Work Program and at the Infant Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Certificate at the University of Massachusetts. She was the Connecticut Infant Mental Health 2014 Jane C. Award recipient for Excellence and Exemplary Service to Young Children and their Families in the Field of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health, through her clinical work, state wide reflective consultation and work as an author giving a voice to the young child’s immigrant mother.

Martha Alvarez, LCSW, a graduate of Hunter College School of Social Work, learned the CFC protocol while working for the New York City Department of Education. In 2010 she joined Chances for Children as a clinician at the Highbridge Community Life Center in the Bronx. As a native Spanish speaker, she broadens CFC’s capacity to serve families in the Hunts Point community where she currently works.

Alexa Casciari is a graduate of New York University and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the Baruch College Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. Her graduate work focused on nonprofit management and public policy. She joined CFC in 2017 as Development & Operations Manager. 

Beatrice Kessler-Goldsmith, LCSW, is a graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work. As a native Spanish speaking clinician, she has had numerous years of experience working with children, families and adults in both individual and group modalities throughout the New York area. Beatrice also completed her training with Chances for Children – NY and joined the CFC team in 2015. She currently serves the communities in Highbridge and Mott Haven.

Ariella Rodriguez, LCSW, is a graduate of the Silver School of Social Work at New York University. She is a bilingual therapist and has years of experience working with children, adults and families. She completed her training with Chances for Children – NY and joined the CFC team in 2017. She currently serves both the Highbridge and Kingsbridge communities.

Board of Directors 

Dr. Yasmin Morales-Alexander, Chairperson

Dr. Karen McFadden, Vice Chairperson

Brant Wong, Vice Chairperson

Irina Babushkina, Treasurer

Beth Andrews, Secretary

Elizabeth Buckner

Barbara Green

Ralph Haro

Hillary Mayers

Gretchen Mol

Paul Philps

Jacqueline Shannon

Greg Worley