Sandy Santana, executive director
Sandy Santana joined Children’s Rights as chief operating officer in 2012 and became executive director in 2015. From 2006 to 2012, Mr. Santana served as Managing Director and General Counsel of Legal Outreach, a law-related college prep organization, where he was responsible for the organization’s management and strategic growth initiatives.
Prior to joining Legal Outreach, he served as a corporate associate in the Boston office of Goodwin Procter LLP (2004-2006) and in the New York office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP (2001-2004). His legal practice focused on international corporate finance, securities, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity matters.
Mr. Santana is a member of the board of directors of Manhattan Legal Services, an organization that provides free legal representation to fight poverty and promote racial, social and economic justice for low-income New Yorkers. He is also Treasurer of the Jeremiah Program, a national organization that uses a two-generation approach to prepare determined single mothers to excel in the workforce, readies their children to succeed in school and reduces generational dependence on public assistance.
Mr. Santana received his B.A. from Harvard College and his J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Ira Lustbader, chief program officer
Ira Lustbader has been with Children’s Rights since 1999, and is actively involved in overall organizational management, the direction of Children’s Rights’ national program of campaigns to reform failing child welfare systems, and the development of national partnerships and coalitions.
Prior to joining Children’s Rights, Mr. Lustbader practiced law at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, LLP, in New York City, concentrating in national plaintiffs’ class action litigation in consumer fraud, securities fraud, and antitrust cases. Before that, he handled matters on the defense side involving products liability and malpractice at the firms of Parker Chapin Flattau & Klimpl LLP, and at Bower & Gardner, both in New York City. From 1998 to 2006, Mr. Lustbader served as a board member of Neighborhood of Youth & Family Services, a large nonprofit family preservation agency in the South Bronx. He is a past chair of the Committee on Public Service and Education at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and is currently a Member of the leadership of the Children’s Rights Litigation Committee of the Section on Litigation of the American Bar Association, the National Lawyers Guild, and the National Association of Counsel for Children.
He received his B.S. from the State University of New York at Albany, magna cum laude, and received his law degree from Boston University School of Law.
Samantha Bartosz, deputy director of litigation strategy
Samantha Bartosz joined the staff of Children’s Rights in December 2003 following 17 years of combined law practice as a private trial attorney in Chicago and later as a government lawyer in Washington, DC. She served as General Counsel at the Office of Administration within the Executive Office of the President during the second term of President William Jefferson Clinton, where she provided counsel to senior White House officials on a variety of legislative, policy and administrative matters and represented the Executive Office of the President in a wide range of congressional, independent counsel and Justice Department investigations.
Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, Ms. Bartosz was a partner in the Chicago Litigation firm Cahill, Christian & Kunkle Ltd, where she conducted a broad trial practice in commercial, environmental, civil rights, criminal, product liability, and shareholder disputes. She also served as a Special State’s Attorney for DuPage County, IL, in a lengthy criminal trial against former prosecutors and police officers. Ms. Bartosz served as Assistant Chair of the Judicial Evaluation Committee of the Chicago Bar Association in 1999-2000. She earned her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and graduated from the Loyola University School of Law.
Harry Frischer, chief counsel
Harry Frischer joined Children’s Rights as lead counsel in 2016 after 36 years in private practice. He had served as a litigation partner at Proskauer Rose LLP since 2003, where he guided clients through complex litigations, arbitrations, regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, mostly involving the financial services industry. Mr. Frischer has tried cases in federal and state courts and has conducted arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the American Arbitration Association and other arbitration forums, and has argued appeals in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals and state appellate courts.
Mr. Frischer holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. A passionate advocate for children, he served on the board of New York City’s Court Appointed Special Advocates for more than a decade, including four years as chairman.
Marjorie A. McAndrews, chief financial officer
Marjorie A. McAndrews joined Children’s Rights as Director of Finance in August 2012 after consulting for the organization for a year.
Previously, she served as the Director of Finance at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a multi-service nonprofit that advises on and manages nearly $200 million in annual giving in more than 50 countries. She was also Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administration of the Fund for the City of New York, where she oversaw and directed administrative and financial management of a multi-service nonprofit with a budget of $30 million and 250 employees at multiple sites.
During her corporate career at Verizon she was selected to the Chairman’s elite Finance Process Review team. As a result of her work, resources were re-directed that reduced costs and attained best-in-class status and saved $35 million in annual expenses.
Ms. McAndrews participates in local philanthropic associations and networks. She is a director of New Destiny Housing, a NYC nonprofit that provides housing and services to one of the City’s most vulnerable homeless populations – victims of domestic violence and their children. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Molloy College. She has also completed executive level leadership training from Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School.
Adriana Pezzulli, chief development officer
Adriana Pezzulli joined Children’s Rights in 2017 as the Director of Development. For seventeen years she was the Director of Development for NYC’s Lower Eastside Girls Club, a national leader in youth and community development. During her tenure, Ms. Pezzulli created and spearheaded the organization’s individual, corporate, and foundation giving programs. She led a $20 Million Capital Campaign to build the organization’s Center for Community – a signature 33,000 sq ft state-of-the-art educational, arts and community facility that primarily serves families from public housing. During her long tenure, Ms. Pezzulli also helped to secure key investments for the growth of Girls Club Worldwide, a global network of sister programs in New Orleans, Hudson, Nepal, Scotland, Chiapas and Sierra Leone.
Adriana was born and raised in New York City where she earned her BA from New York University. Prior to the Girls Club, Adriana ran a literacy program for middle school youth in the Mission District of San Francisco through Americorps, The Corporation For National Service program that helps meet critical U.S. needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.
Christina Wilson Remlin, lead counsel
Since joining Children’s Rights in 2011, Christina Wilson Remlin has represented classes of children in foster care in suits challenging violence, inadequate medical care, inappropriate conditions and over-institutionalization. Her clients include those at risk of discrimination associated with their LGBTQ identity, gender, race, immigration status and class.
Previously, Ms. Remlin was a litigation associate at Baker & McKenzie LLP, where she represented clients in complex commercial disputes and regulatory investigations. She developed an active pro bono docket and represented children and adults in political asylum hearings, Violence Against Women Act petitions, and Special Juvenile Immigration Status and green card applications. Before that, Ms. Remlin was a member of Shearman & Sterling’s litigation group. Ms. Remlin received her J.D. from Fordham University in 2004 where she participated in The Crowley Program on International Human Rights’ Annual Mission to Bolivia and interned for the Center for Legal and Social Studies in Argentina. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Furman University in 1999 (cum laude). She has a variety of publications focusing on issues of corporate responsibility, investment disputes, environmental protection and human rights reparations.
Susan Reeves, director of talent and operations
Susan Reeves joined Children’s Rights as Executive Assistant to the Founder and Executive Director in August of 2009. Since stepping into her latest role in late 2019 as director of talent and operations, Susan is responsible for the organization’s support structure. Ms. Reeves directs human resources, facilities management, and office services (including information technology management and systems development), with a focus on integrating those functions with the operations of the organization.
Prior to her employment at Children’s Rights, Ms. Reeves worked at global public relations firm Porter Novelli as Vice President of Corporate Human Resources. Ms. Reeves holds a Bachelor’s degree in social sciences with a concentration in international studies from New York University.
Camilla Jenkins, director of communications
Camilla Jenkins joined Children’s Rights in June 2018. Previously, she served as the Director of Communications at the New York Legal Assistance Group, a legal services provider serving low-income New Yorkers, where she was responsible for raising awareness for the vital role that legal representation plays in combatting discrimination, ending poverty and creating opportunity. She was also the Director of Communication at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, managing the firm’s media relations program to drive recognition for the expertise and leadership of its partners, and its longstanding commitment to pro bono work.
During her corporate career Ms. Jenkins was the Vice President of Communications at Fujifilm America, where she led marketing and communications for the company’s US affiliates at a time when Fujifilm was repositioning its brand as the market dramatically shifted from analog to digital technology. Earlier, she managed communications for the multinational healthcare firm, Becton Dickinson and Company and founded and grew her own PR/Marketing agency serving clients in the retail, technology, health care, and media.
Shereen White, director of advocacy & policy
Shereen A. White joined Children’s Rights in 2019 and in 2021 transitioned from a Senior Staff Attorney to lead Children’s Rights Advocacy & Policy work. Prior to joining Children’s Rights, Ms. White spent the duration of her legal career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She served as an Assistant General Counsel for The School District of Philadelphia, primarily representing the District in special education matters. Ms. White also worked as a Child Advocate Attorney in the Child Advocacy Unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, where she represented children involved in the child welfare system. Before her work in the nonprofit sphere, she was a Commercial Litigation and Family Law Associate at Fox Rothschild, LLP.
Ms. White earned a J.D. from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law in 2009. She was actively involved in the school’s Inclusiveness Commission and Black Law Students Association and gained hands-on legal experience volunteering at local nonprofits, including the SeniorLAW Center and Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Ms. White received her B.A. in political science with a minor in history from Duke University and later was the Philadelphia representative for the Duke Black Alumni Association, as well as an active member of the Duke University Alumni Association. Ms. White is a member of the board of directors and Chair of the Governance Committee of Partnership to End Human Trafficking (“PEHT”), a nonprofit devoted to ending human trafficking through holistic trauma-informed survivor care services, including a 24 month housing program for adult survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, and economic empowerment through a survivor-led social enterprise business.
Leecia Welch, lead counsel
Leecia Welch joined Children’s Rights in September 2021 as Lead Counsel. She brings extensive legal experience in the child welfare field, including 16 years at the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland where she was most recently the Senior Director of Child Welfare and Legal Advocacy specializing in child welfare, mental health, immigration, and education issues.
Ms. Welch is co-counsel in the seminal Flores v. Garland case, representing a nationwide class of detained immigrant children to enforce a settlement that governs their release and treatment in federal immigration custody. Welch previously served as co-counsel with Children’s Rights in M.B. v. Tidball, which resulted in a groundbreaking settlement reforming the use of psychotropic medications on children in Missouri’s foster care system, and M.B. v. Howard, which addressed extreme housing instability and inadequate mental health care services for foster children in Kansas. She is also counsel on D.S. v. Washington State, which demands that the state end its practice of forcing youth in foster care to sleep in unlicensed and unsafe settings, including hotels, child welfare agency offices, and even cars.
She is the 2021 recipient of the Janet Reno Endowment Women’s Leadership Award.