Appointed to the Commission for Children and Families by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, in 1995, Commissioner Patricia “Trisha” Curry has served five terms as Commission Chair and one term as Vice Chair. She has chaired or served on numerous Commission committees which include the Committees on Maclaren, Group Homes, START (Crossover youth), Emancipation, Relative Care, Permanency, Placement, and the Mental Health Committee.
Trisha represented the Commission for Children and Families, as a Commissioner, on First 5 L.A. when it was being created; she is currently representing the Commission again as a Commissioner on First 5 L.A. She also represented the Commission on the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Stakeholder’s Systems Leadership Team (SLT) and co-chaired the County MHSA Stakeholder’s Planning Committee for Transition Age Youth. She was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to the Foster Care Blue Ribbon Committee formed by the Board of Supervisors.
Much of her work has been focused on the issues facing Transition Age Youth (TAY) and the challenges they face moving out of foster care. She chaired the Emancipation Committee and was a member of the Emancipation Program Partnership (EPP) both created by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Board) and she is currently serving on the Self Sufficiency Committee, the Youth Development Services (YDS) Redesign Committee, and the ILP Budget Committee also created by the Board.
In addition to her work on the Commission, Trisha has been invited to testify at State hearings on issues related to children in foster care and invited to participate as a panelist at conferences on foster care. These include the Children’s Defense Fund Conference, the Juvenile Court Partnership Conferences, the Little Hoover Commission Hearings on Foster Care, Statewide Judicial Conference for Dependency Courts, the State hearings regarding confidentiality of minors in the dependency system, and the State Hearings for youth with a dependency or delinquency status.
Trisha was a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children) volunteer for 10 years and in 1996, honored as the CASA Volunteer of the Year. Other honors awarded to her include the Superior Court Volunteer of the Year Award and in 1996, the Los Angeles County Volunteer of the Year Award. She was chosen to receive the Community Leadership Award by Public Counsel in 2001, the Mentor Award from Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services in 2010, and was honored by Los Angeles Magazine in 2012 as one of the Top 50 Influential Women in Los Angeles.
Genevra (Gene) Berger
Following college and graduate school, where her concentration was English Literature, Gene accepted a job as a social worker with the Philadelphia Department of Social Services which became her first exposure to child welfare. After a year, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked for a short time as a Juvenile Probation Officer and then transferred to the Department of Public Social Services, initially as a social worker and later as a supervising social worker on adult and family caseloads. After seven years providing direct family services, she moved to administrative positions which varied over the next ten years from an analyst position in the early phases of computerized services to fiscal analysis to policy and systems development in the Bureau of Family Services (BFS). In 1984, she transferred as a manager with BSF to the newly-created Department of Family Services, later to be re-named the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
During her 22-year management tenure in DCFS, Gene created the Quality Assurance Division, which was one of the first comprehensive audit disciplines for children's service provision, in the nation. As such, she developed protocols and operational policy to review social workers and county contractors for compliance with federal, state and county mandates, for fiscal and contract compliance and for social service delivery for effectiveness and quality, with specific emphasis on child safety. During these years, she also enlarged and refined an investigatory function for children re-abused while already in foster care, worked closely with the State in developing regulatory policy for a myriad of legislative changes and collaborated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in their development of federal child welfare review policy and protocols. Gene's 39-year career with the County ultimately combined a wealth of knowledge and experience in all facets of child welfare, from its legislative history to the social and drug related phenomena that expanded its perimeters in the 1970's, from its funding strategies to its fiscal allocation methodologies, from its direct service programs to the several major philosophical shifts in service delivery which occurred over this time period. After she retired in 2005, Gene consulted privately on child welfare matters in Florida, Texas, Illinois, California and, most recently, with L.A. County DCFS.
Appointed to the Commission in 2014 by Supervisor Antonovich, Liz attended the University of Minnesota, where she majored in Elementary Education, earning her Bachelor’s Degree and teaching credential. Later, Liz went on to earn a special education credential and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology. In 1976 she and two other ladies started the “St. Stephens Special School”, known today as the Child & Family Center, a non-profit organization. In 1980, she became the Executive Director of the St. Stephens Special School. The agency’s central mission has always been to serve children and their families, particularly those with emotional and behavioral challenges, by working to increase appropriate behaviors and successful development. Due to the agency’s programs and outreach to the community, as well as the tremendous support of Supervisor Antonovich, over the years the Child & Family Center became a contract agency for the Los Angeles County Depts. of Children and Family Services, Mental Health and Probation. In 2002, after a successful capital campaign and a year of construction, the Child & Family Center opened its own site on Centre Point Pkwy; a dream come true for its founders. After 32 years with the Child & Family Center, Liz retired in September 2008.
Liz is married to Jim, and they have 4 adult children, and 7 grandchildren. She remains actively engaged in volunteer work in the community and in her church. She serves on the Auxiliary and the Advisory Committee for the Child & Family Center. She has been a member of the Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club since 1992, and is currently serving as its president. She also loves to travel, read, garden, do crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and takes “power” walks to keep active.