Our dynamic staff is dedicated to providing you and your family with the mental health and support services needed to heal and become stronger. The Child & Family Guidance Center team includes: social workers, psychologists, board-certified child psychiatrists, licensed alcohol and drug counselors, care coordinators, and parenting coaches. Our wide range of expertise and evidence-based models—including our suite of proven trauma-informed therapies—enables us to address your family’s specific situation with both cutting-edge skill and compassionate care.
President & CEO, MS, MSW
Michael Patota is the President and CEO of The Child and Family Guidance Center, and brings over twenty years of clinical and administrative expertise to his position. Prior to joining CFGC in April 2015, he served for fourteen years as Division Director of Clinical Services at United Services, where he was responsible for the oversight of a comprehensive array of outpatient behavioral health programs serving Northeastern Connecticut. Additionally, Michael has worked extensively with the Latino community in a variety of clinical settings. He earned his Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University’s School of Social Work, his Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Bay Path University, and his Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Psychology from Bridgewater State College.
Cay White, MD
Cay White, MD, is the Medical Director of the Child and Family Guidance Center, and has been with the agency for 23 years. She is board certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as well as Adult Psychiatry. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College where she graduated cum laude, and her Medical degree from University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. White completed her psychiatric residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, and her Child and Adolescent Fellowships at New York Presbyterian, Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She is a recipient of the Edward J. Sachar Outstanding Fellow Award from Columbia University, where she was the Chief Fellow. Dr. White has provided consultation services for the REACH program at Bridgeport Hospital and worked for the Dr. Robert E. Appleby School Based Health Centers in Norwalk, in association with Norwalk Hospital. In addition, she has a private psychiatric practice in Westchester, NY.
Virginia Lopez, LCSW
Virginia Lopez, LMSW, is the Director of Care Coordination at the Child & Family Guidance Center where she oversees a group of 13 facilitators of the Wraparound process. Virginia has served children and families at CFGC for over a decade as a former Care Coordinator and Crisis Clinician. She is the co-chair of the statewide Multicultural WRAP CT Learning Collaborative, which was developed to empower, validate, and equip multicultural staff to provide individualized care. Virginia is a certified Wraparound trainer in both English and Spanish, and took the lead in translating and presenting Wraparound training in Spanish for the first time in the state. She continues to collaborate with supervisors statewide to provide consultation and support to bilingual staff.
Virginia was born in Puerto Rico and made Bridgeport, CT her home at the age of 14. She graduated from Harding High School and attended Sacred Heart University, where she obtained her Bachelor’s in Psychology. Virginia later received a Master of Science in Social Work from Southern Connecticut State University.
Ken Lacilla, LCSW
Ken Lacilla, LCSW is the Unit Director of Outpatient and Emergency Services at the Child & Family Guidance Center. Ken has nearly 30 years’ experience working within the Child Behavioral Health and Child Welfare fields. . Ken also has been a senior leader for several DCF funded evidenced informed models and programs to include Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Intensive In -Home Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Services (IICAPS), Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) Out Patient Child Clinics (OPCC) and Emergency Mobile Crisis (EMPS). Ken has had a career spanning interest in the treatment of trauma in adults, adolescents and children. CFGC’s continuum of trauma services is a major focus of his leadership here.
A 1998 Graduate of Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service, Ken has a deep commitment to actively addressing Mental Health and educational disparities that exist in the workplace and among the impoverished. He is a natural collaborator and strives to build inclusive, holistic social service delivery systems offering a range of data informed quality treatment options.
Ken Fontaine, MBA
Chief Financial Officer
Ken Fontaine is the Chief Financial Officer at the Child and Family Guidance Center and is a senior level financial executive who brings extensive nonprofit and corporate experience to his role. Prior to joining the Child and Family Guidance Center’s leadership team, he worked at Fairfield University for eighteen years where he most recently served as Assistant Vice President for Finance and Controller. Ken’s expertise in finance and accounting include financial reporting and analysis, budgeting, information technology, strategic planning, treasury and purchasing operations. He received his Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut School of Business, and his Bachelor of Science degree from Fairfield University.
Hannah Albee, M.Ed.
Director of Development and Communications
Hannah Albee, M.Ed., is the Director of Development and Communications and responsible for raising funds and awareness about The Child and Family Guidance Center. Before coming to CFGC in 2018, she was the Manager of Communications at a large soup kitchen in Manhattan where she raised public awareness about poverty, homelessness and food insecurity and managed print and digital communications, fundraising campaigns, corporate and media relations. She has a Master of Education in Counseling and Consultation from Keene State College, a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Studies from The University of New Hampshire and has held school counselor certifications in Connecticut and New Hampshire. Her background includes social-emotional curriculum development and counseling children in both the school and social services environment. Along with public relations and journalistic contributions to undergraduate, post graduate publications and non-profit organizations, she is a member of The Association of Fundraising Professionals which advances ethical fundraising worldwide.
Director, Information & Technology
Mike Ryan is the Director of Information & Technology at the Child and Family Guidance Center, where he is responsible for the implementation, management, maintenance and upgrade of the agency’s technology systems and software. Prior to joining CFGC, Mike worked for almost 10 years as the Technology and Security Manager for United Services, a non-profit mental and behavioral health organization serving children, adults and families in Northeastern CT. Mike has over 25 years of experience working in various IT capacities, across server/network/telephone/security systems administration, application development & support as well as programming, product development and project management. Mike studied electrical engineering at the University of Hartford and completed coursework in math and computer science at Eastern CT State University and Northeastern University. Mike holds certifications as a Health Information Technology Professional, Cisco Certified Network Engineer and a Microsoft Certified Network Engineer.
Sylvia Sanchez, LMFT
Sylvia Sanchez is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and has been providing mental health treatment to children and families for over 17 years. She began her work as a crisis clinician working with families that were victims of domestic violence. Still eager to work with families in crisis, Sylvia started as an EMPS clinician at The Child and Family Guidance Center nearly fifteen years ago. During that time she has grown from a clinician on our original EMPS team to Director of the entire program. Sylvia has a firm belief in the systems approach to treatment, and has utilized that skill to help thousands of families over the years. She received her Master’s degree in Counseling and Psychological Services Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy from Springfield College in 1999. Soon after receiving her degree, Sylvia became licensed in the State of Connecticut.
Karina Lawrence, LCSW
Director, Functional Family Therapy
Karina Lawrence, LCSW, is the Director of the Functional Family Therapy Program at The Child and Family Guidance Center. She has been with the agency since 2006 and has more than 10 years of experience working in social services. Karina’s previous work experience includes working closely with the Department of Children and Families in the capacity of Intensive Safety Planning case manager to assure children are safely returned to their parents’ care. She also worked as an outpatient therapist providing mental health services to children, adolescents and their families. Prior to her current role, Karina was a program director for CFCG’s Community Support for Families program. She has experience working with adults through her internship at Department of Mental Health in Bridgeport, and worked for Department of Children and Families as a per diem employee.
Karina received her Master of Science in Social Work degree Southern Connecticut State University in 2009, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Academy of Special Education (Warsaw, Poland). Karina’s native language is Polish and she also speaks Ukrainian.
Hyacintha Jameson Bernard, MS
Director of Multiple Programs
Hyacintha V. Jameson Bernard, MS, is the Director of several programs at The Child and Family Guidance Center, including Reunification and Therapeutic Family Time, Intensive Family Preservation, and the Visitation Center. Prior to supervising these programs, Hyacintha provided therapy to children and families referred to CFGC. She has worked with youth with mental health issues, children infected and affected by AIDS, and children in crisis via our Emergency Mobile Crisis Unit. Before coming to CFGC, Hyacintha worked at The Kennedy Center (Bridgeport) as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and Coach for children and adults with developmental disabilities, and at Optimus Health Care.
Hyacintha received her Master of Science in Counseling from Southern Connecticut State University. She has worked with the HIV/AIDS population for the past 17 years; especially with children infected with the virus. Additionally, she has run groups with women, children, and the transgender community.
Donna Fletcher, LPC, LADC
Director, Turning Point
Donna Fletcher, LPC, LADC, is the Director of the Turning Point Regional Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at the Child and Family Guidance Center. She has marketed and expanded her program to provide substance abuse treatment to a region that spans Greenwich to Monroe, Connecticut. Donna is a nationally certified Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and serves as site coordinator for a grant working with juvenile justice involved clients. Over the last several years, she has served a leadership role developing a graduate student intern program in collaboration with local academic institutions. In 2013, she developed an Adult Services program for which she continues to supervise. Prior to her work in the helping professions, she worked in the Information Technology field.
Donna received her Master of Arts in Community Counseling from Fairfield University and her Bachelor’s degree from Boston College. She is a licensed professional counselor, a licensed alcohol and drug counselor and is certified as a co-occurring disorders specialist. Additionally, Donna holds national certifications as an Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach Supervisor and Clinician. She has a private practice in Stamford and is an adjunct professor at Fairfield University’s Graduate School of Counseling.