Christine Stoner-Mertz, LCSW
Chief Executive Officer

Christine Stoner-Mertz presides over all Alliance advocacy, accreditation, member services and executive support activities and staffs the Executive and Nominating Committees.

Chris came to the Alliance in 2019 after being President and CEO of Lincoln Child Center in Oakland, a California Alliance member agency delivering behavioral health and family strengthening services in the San Francisco Bay area. Since 2005, she led the organization through a transformational period, moving from a residentially-based services focus to designing an array of culturally responsive community and school-based services for children and youth ages 0-21. Her deep commitment to equity is reflected in the transformation of services at Lincoln.

A licensed clinical social worker in California, Chris received her MSW from the University of Michigan and began her career in California in 1985, as co-founder of Seneca Center, now the Seneca Family of Agencies, where she was instrumental in the development of programs and oversight of operations for 15 years.

In 1999, she founded inFocus Consulting and Development, LLC providing consultation to over 50 private behavioral healthcare providers as well as the California State Department of Mental Health, various county departments of mental health and social services, and to school districts. As a sought after expert on MediCal EPSDT program design and implementation, Chris developed the Medi-Cal Specialty Mental Health Services Manual. 

She has served on the boards of directors of the California Alliance, the California Council of Behavioral Health Agencies, the National Council of Behavioral Health Organizations, and has been the recipient of numerous service and leadership awards during her career, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service. 

Email Chris at [email protected].


Jacqueline Rutheiser
Senior Policy Advocate

Jacqueline Rutheiser is a senior policy advocate responsible for advocacy on child welfare issues including the adoption of children from foster care, foster family-based care and services, in-home and family-based services, and housing, services and support for transition-age youth. Jackie staffs the Adoption, Foster Family Agency and Family-Based Services Committees.

Jackie came to the Alliance in 2007 with over 20 years experience in local, state and national politics, most recently with the California State Legislature where she served as senior staff for Senator Nell Soto (D-San Bernardino, Pomona) and previously as staff with Assembly Majority Leader Kevin Shelley (D-San Francisco). Prior to her work in the State Capitol, Jackie was a managing partner in a political research and campaign strategy consulting business for eight years and was the research director for the National Health Care Campaign for then First Lady Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

Jackie holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from UC Davis.

Email Jackie at [email protected].


Danielle Molé
Senior Policy Advocate

Danielle Molé is senior policy advocate and grassroots advocacy coordinator. On the policy side, Danielle works under the supervision of the education consultant and executive director to support members during the transition of educationally-related mental health services from county mental health departments under AB 3632 to local SELPAs and LEAs under AB 114.

As grassroots advocacy coordinator, Danielle coordinates and supports Alliance members as they re-focus their advocacy and marketing efforts in a realigned environment on county boards of supervisors and county departmental leadership in child welfare, mental health and juvenile probation; and with school boards, district superintendants, special education directors and SELPA administrators. Additionally, she helps members build local linkages with state legislators and coordinates members’ district level advocacy on state legislative and budget issues.

Danielle comes to the Alliance from the California Family Resource Coalition where she was a Project Manager and where her responsibilities included the building of grassroots advocacy capability. Previously, she served as a Program Manager for the Child Abuse Prevention Center in Sacramento, Program Officer for United Way of the Bay Area, and as first an intern, then as Juvenile Justice Division Program Coordinator with the Child Welfare League of America.

She received her bachelor's degree with distinction in political science from San Diego State University, and her master's degree in political science from California State University, Chico.

Email Danielle at [email protected].


Stephanie Ivler
Senior Policy Advocate

Stephanie Ivler joined the Alliance staff in Sept. 25 as senior policy advocate and is focused on issues involving transition age youth, juvenile justice and residential services. Stephanie is an attorney and former director of the Foster Care & Adoptions Division of Bienvenidos Children’s Center. Stephanie has practiced business law both in the U.S and abroad. She has created nonprofit organizations from mere vision as well as serving in senior management in complex organizations serving children and adults with developmental disabilities and youth in foster care.

Stephanie has a passionate commitment to changing the perception of foster youth and improving systems and services, enabling them to move beyond mere survival to leadership. While not acting in a legal capacity, Stephanie utilized the knowledge and the skills acquired as a practicing transactional and litigation attorney as Bienvenidos primary representative to the California Department of Social Services during transition under the umbrella of Continuum of Care Reform. Her work resulted in Bienvenidos being selected as one of the statewide five Early RFA Implementers. 

Stephanie received a bachelor’s degree in international relations magna cum laude from the University of Southern California, where she was also elected Phi Beta Kappa. She graduated at the top of her class on an accelerated academic schedule from Southwestern Law School, during which time she externed for the Honorable Terry J. Hatter, Jr., United States District Court, Central District of California. 

Email Stephanie at [email protected].


Adrienne Shilton
Senior Policy Advocate

Adrienne is senior policy advocate for behavioral health. As such, Adrienne is the primary staff to the Mental Health Committee and works on public policy issues pertaining to children's mental health.

She has been the government affairs director at the Steinberg Institute since 2017. She is a recognized expert in mental health policy who has devoted her career to improving the well-being of people living with brain illness and substance use disorders. Adrienne became involved in mental health policy as a key staff person in the campaign to pass the 2004 Mental Health Services Act. Prior to her position with the Steinberg Institute, she has worked in a variety of roles to carry out the vision for services laid out in the law, including as the director of intergovernmental affairs for the County Behavioral Health Directors Association.

Before joining CBHDA, Adrienne was a senior associate with the nonprofit California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions, and a senior policy analyst with the California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies. She has been a champion for culturally relevant program design, incorporating peer support as a crucial piece of recovery, and using evaluation and outcomes-based reporting to drive strategy.

Shilton has served as an adviser on several statewide efforts, and currently sits on a task force examining mental health issues in California’s LGBTQ community. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Knox College, and a master’s degree in public policy and administration from California State University, Sacramento.


Gina Plate
Consultant, Education Policy

Gina Plate manages all policy advocacy pertaining to educating children in foster care, with particular emphasis on the use of nonpublic schools and charter schools to provide educational services, and staffs the Alliance Education Committee.

Gina has a wide range of administrative and teaching experience including experience as regional director, program director, director of educational services, and special education teacher at Seneca Center for Children and Families. She has more than 15 years of experience in the special education field in both public school districts and non-public schools. Gina worked as a special day class teacher and taught severely emotional disturbed pupils at the elementary and middle school level. She also served as a full inclusion aide, transition job coach and speech therapy aide.

Gina holds a master's degree in special education from the University of San Diego and a bachelor's in communication with a minor in business administration also from the University of San Diego.

Email Gina at [email protected].


Deborah Son, MSW
Director of Strategic Initiatives

Deborah Son oversees organizational efforts that provide members and others in children and family serving organizations with supports, research, learning communities and other initiatives that further the fields of child welfare, behavioral health and education. Deborah has over 10 years of experience as an activist and leader in the fields of systems change, advocacy, and community engagement. Her work spans across various fields including trauma-informed care, anti-violence, children and family services, and public and behavioral health. She has dedicated much of her career to bringing various service platforms together in collaboration toward meaningful achievements in social justice.

In previous work, she helped lead the domestic violence homicide initiative for Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay area, spearheaded the growth and integration of medical-legal partnerships throughout the Alameda County public health care system, and has facilitated leadership development opportunities for individuals across the state of California raising the capacity of individuals and networks who represent the communities they serve.

She is an active leader with the National Association of Social Workers, California Chapter, was a County Commissioner with the Contra Costa Commission for Women, and a national trainer and technical assistance provider in gender-based violence issues as they pertain to communities of color and historically marginalized groups.

Deborah received her Masters in Social Work from California State University, East Bay and her bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Email Deborah at [email protected]


Deborah Clore-Myers
Event Specialist & Special Projects Manager

Debbie coordinates all conference and training events and assists in staffing the Continuing Education Committee. A certified meeting planner, Debbie is responsible annually for the coordination of two executive conferences and several conferences and trainings throughout the year on a variety of topics.

Debbie came to the Alliance in 2000 through the merger of the California Association of Children's Homes (CCH) and the California Association of Services for Children (CSC). From 1990 to the merger, Debbie worked with CCH as executive assistant, meeting planner and office manager. Prior to joining CCH, Debbie held bookkeeper and full-charge bookkeeper positions in several settings including the California Psychiatric Association.

Email Debbie at [email protected].


Kim Janoe
Operations Manager

As Operations Manager, Kim Janoe manages all Alliance accounting functions, human resources, and supports the Membership Committee with membership applications and renewals.  Kim also assists the chief executive officer with Board and Executive Committee Meetings.    

Kim came to the Alliance in 2000 when it was formed by the merger of the California Association of Services for Children (CSC) and the California Association of Children's Homes (CCH). Previously, Kim worked at CSC as a bookkeeper, office manager and executive assistant and prior to that worked in the financial sector with Van Kasper and Company and E.F. Hutton.

Email Kim at [email protected].


Rochelle Gammad
Executive Assistant

Rochelle is a graduate of California State University Long Beach, with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with an option in Fitness, and a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Previously, Rochelle served as Administrative Assistant and Assistant for Events, Marketing and Social Media for the Diocese of Sacramento’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Her experience also includes front office and customer service support for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and health and wellness facilities, including Executive Fitness Corporate Wellness and the LifeFit Center @ The Beach. 

 Email Rochelle at [email protected]