Title IV-E Instructor Biographies

Instructor Jennifer Baity, LCSW, LAADC

Jennifer Baity, LCSW, LAADC (Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor) is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed advanced alcohol and drug counselor, and currently works as the Program Director at the Mental Health Rehabilitation Center at San Francisco General Hospital. She provides individual, group, and family treatment for adults with serious and persistent mental illness who also have problematic substance use histories; provides staff and intern supervision and training; and co-developed the co-occurring disorders (dual diagnosis) program at the San Francisco Behavioral Health Center. She has provided in-depth training to clinicians providing services to youth and adults since 1991 and regularly trains staff in mental health and substance abuse programs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. She specializes in training on diagnosis and treatment of individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions and motivational interviewing.

Erin Brown,MSW

Instructor Erin Brown, MSW, earned a Master of Social Work and Bachelor degrees in Sociology, Spanish, and Portuguese. She trained in legal advocacy and criminal defense mitigation at the San Francisco Office of the Public Defender and has worked for several Bay Area community-based organizations. Her specialty is working with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth and young adults, and includes workshop facilitation, advocacy, transitional planning, individual counseling, group counseling, and case management. She works closely with the undocumented immigrant community involved in the dependency, family, juvenile, and criminal courts.
Currently Erin is the Client Services Manager at the Success Center San Francisco, a GED and vocational training program. She provides counseling, wraparound case management, and facilitates workshops for youth and young adults, both incarcerated and living in the community. In addition, she is in private practice as a court-appointed forensic social worker

Instructor Christine D'Alessandro PsyD

Christine D'Alessandro, PsyD, has worked over 15 years in the mental health field as a multicultural and multilingual clinician, primarily with families and children. She has worked as a program manager, trainer, and consultant in a variety of settings including outpatient, inpatient, home visits, schools, and community settings. Her work is guided by a cultural lens and her approach is strength based. 

Dr. D’Alessandro’s areas of expertise are:  Family Therapy/Structural Family Therapy, Trauma-Focused CBT, Cultural Competence, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Wraparound, Strength-Based Therapy, Dual Diagnosis, Adolescent Development and Issues, Leadership Coaching, and Program Development.

In addition to teaching, Dr. D’Alessandro currently works with Edgewood Center for Children and Families as a mental health consultant providing consultation services to community organizations. She is also the co-founder of Wholistic Consulting.

Natalia Estassi PsyD

Natalia Estassi, PsyD, is a bilingual/multicultural clinician with over 15 years of clinical experience working with families, adults, children, and infants exposed to violence and trauma. Other areas of clinical expertise include: Child-Parent Psychotherapy, CBT, acculturation issues, dual diagnosis, Wrap, anger management, and infant mental health. This includes training and practice of the DC 0-3 (Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood.) Her doctorate is in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on family and children from CIIS. Her dissertation focuses on self-care practices of therapists in avoiding vicarious traumatization and burnout. She has worked as a Director, Program Manager, and Clinician with several non-profits in the SF Bay Area, in a variety of settings including, community, hospital, school, and residential programs. She has managed a national research project designed to best understand and treat the impact of violence on children and their caregivers. Dr. Estassi has over 17 years of experience conducting trainings at local, state, national, and international levels. Dr. Estassi works at, and is the co-founder of, Wholistic Consulting.

Instructor Paul Gibson, LCSW

Paul Gibson, LCSW is a Program Consultant with over 28 years of experience developing and directing programs for culturally diverse youth in residential, public health, mental health, and vocational services. He has more than 20 years experience as a licensed therapist and educator providing extensive trainings for youth service providers on working with vulnerable youth. He currently serves on the Mayor’s Transitional Youth Task Force in San Francisco.

Instructor Linda Johnson

Linda Johnson, MS, LMFT, LAADC (Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor with the California Certification Board of Alcohol & Drug Counselors) She has worked as a psychotherapist and addiction specialist for more than a decade, providing individual, family, couples, and group therapy.  Her experience includes a focus on co-occurring disorders, adolescents, anxiety, depressive disorders, AD/HD, eating disorders, substance abuse/addiction, and PTSD.  She has spent the last several years assisting in the development and provision of gender-responsive programming in research and correctional settings.  Additionally, she provides trainings and consultation for local law enforcement entities, schools/universities, and treatment providers on a variety of topics including co-occurring disorders, substance abuse indicators, responses to assaultive behavior, gender responsive approaches to treatment, and the science of addiction.

Pamela Parkinson,PhD,LCSW

Pamela Parkinson, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed clinical psychologist and a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in family therapy with youth who are receiving the highest level of service delivery.  She received her Ph.D. from Georgia State University and her MSW from the University of Southern California (USC).  Dr. Parkinson trains, supervises, and consults for CBO’s in the Bay Area and has worked in level 14 residential, NPS, hospitals, and a variety of community-based settings including outpatient clinics, schools, diversion, kinship, etc. She runs the Bay Area Family Institute of Training in the San Francisco Bay Area and is known for her trainings using the one-way mirror for family work.

Dr. Parkinson is also a nationally certified trainer in the SAMHSA reviewed Evidence Based Practice of Partners for Change Outcome Management Systems (PCOMS).  In this capacity, she assists direct service providers and supervisors in the implementation of PCOMS with youth and their families in the foster care system, juvenile justice system, and in the county mental health system.  Dr. Parkinson works closely with community-based private non-profit organizations that serve the most challenging youth behaviors in day treatment, residential, wrap around, schools, and other community-based settings.  She also works closely with county systems that refer these youth, training and consulting in the area of youth and family therapy.

Instructor Anquenette Robinson

Anquenette Robinson provides life skills training and consultation for personal and professional development. She has expertise in working with juvenile/adult involved in/out of the criminal justice system, transition age adolescent, gang intervention and prevention services, youth/adults struggling with substance abuse, anger management, domestic violence and related issues.

Anquenette has a passion and sensitivity for consulting, training and educating our community. Her presentations are informative, client sensitive, inspirational, creative and interactive. She uses current researched relevant material, applicable exercises, and real life experience venues. She has worked as a valued and respected trainer over 19 years with community based organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area which include Seneca Center, Alameda County Sheriff Dept, Hayward Adult School, San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center, Kaiser Hospital-The Mended Heart Inc., Regional Occupational Programs, Fred Finch Youth Center, City College of San Francisco Contract Education Title IV-E Program, Child-Family and Community Services, Foster Youth Alliance, The Public Authority for IHSS in Alameda County, Edgewood Center for Children and Families as well as many other foster care agencies, group homes, churches, schools, and substance abuse programs. She created "Heart and Soul Life Strategies" in 1999 to educate, encourage and support disadvantaged and underserved youth and adults in the community.

rodriquez rocio

Rocio Rodriguez, MFT, is a Licensed Bi-lingual Marriage and Family Therapist who works collaboratively to create positive therapeutic relationships with individuals and families. Her therapeutic work focuses on helping families retain their cultural identity while establishing a proactive relationship and successfully navigating between cultural systems while participating in therapy. Rocio has trained Spanish-speaking and English-speaking groups in the following areas: substance abuse and recovery, court mandated dual-diagnosis treatment, psychiatric outpatient services, individual and family therapy, and early childhood development.  Her therapeutic modalities include: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, Strategic Family Therapy, Bowen Family Therapy, Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) and Solution Focused Therapy. Rocio is in private practice in San Francisco and San Mateo County.  As an adjunct to her therapeutic work, teaches pilates courses in Belmont, CA and SF YMCA, creating a training that blends mind and body connections to allow individuals to reach their highest potentials.


Instructor Natalie Thoreson

Natalie J. Thoreson, Masters of Education, is a co-founder of inVision Consulting. Natalie has designed and facilitated social justice, anti-oppression, and liberation training for educators, youth, social workers, and community activists for over a decade. Natalie’s passion, talent, and uncanny ability to shape a safe, creative, and productive learning environment are evident in her design and facilitation of workshops on oppression, interdependent communities, and supporting inclusive spaces. Natalie's workshops on cultural humility have become an incredibly valuable component of trainings for staff and volunteers at dozens of agencies throughout the state. Natalie challenges participants to think critically about their own backgrounds and biases, and dissects concepts like the culture of oppression, prejudice, and stereotypes in a way that's accessible and just "clicks" for people.  Around a topic that can often leave participants feeling raw and wounded, she instead consistently creates an environment of trust, humor, and fun that inspires and receives rave reviews from our groups.

Todd Wright, Ombudsman for SF HSA, FCS, has a Master's Degree in Communications. He has participated in dispute resolution as a professional mediator and ombudsman for 15 years. He has worked in juvenile diversion programs, victim assistance, custody and visitation, and child welfare. Todd has taught college-level courses in public speaking and in interpersonal, small group, and organizational communication.

Erika Zarco, M.A., LMFT graduated from the Wright Institute with her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology in 2010. She completed a post-Master’s certificate in Trauma-Informed Interventions from UC Berkeley Extension in July 2013. She was born in Mexico City and is a bicultural and bilingual English-Spanish speaking Therapist. She currently works in a private practice in Oakland, CA, and is also employed at Mujeres Unidas y Activas, where she has worked for the past 3 years as a Spanish-speaking therapist providing support to Latina immigrant women. Erika has previous experience working in a group home setting with youth in foster care, at a homeless youth shelter, and has worked in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools in the bay area. Erika is passionate about supporting families in crisis.