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CFA Staff

Tracy Green is the legal director for the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy (CFA). A product of Detroit Public Schools, she is a graduate of Cass Technical High School. She received both her Bachelor of Science in Social Work and Juris Doctorate degrees from Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan). Tracy has extensive experience in the area of child welfare, both as a practicing attorney and, formerly as a foster care case manager for The Children's Center of Wayne County and the Michigan Department of Human Services (formerly Michigan Family Independence Agency). Throughout her more than 20 years of professional involvement in the child welfare system, her working philosophy has been that zealous advocacy for parents is critical to effective advocacy and better outcomes for children.

Tracy's article, "Parents Representation in Child Welfare: A Child Advocate's Journey" was featured in the Fall 2009 issue of "The Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal." In 2010, Tracy was honored by the Michigan Supreme Court's Foster Care Review Board as its first "Parents' Attorney of the Year.

Tracy is a lifelong Detroiter who is vested in the Detroit community and who cares deeply about its families. She and her husband, Andre, are proud to live in Detroit and raise their children there.  She can be reached at tragreen@umich.edu or 313.875.4233, ext. 154.

Vivek Sankaran, a clinical assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, is the director of CFA. Professor Sankaran's research and policy interests center on improving outcomes for children in child abuse and neglect cases by empowering parents and strengthening due process protections in the child welfare system. Professor Sankaran sits on the Steering Committee of the ABA National Project to Improve Representation for Parents Involved in the Child Welfare System and chairs the Michigan Court Improvement Project subcommittee on parent representation. He has also authored scholarly pieces and practical resource guides to assist professionals working with parents in the system and regularly conducts national and statewide trainings on these issues.

Professor Sankaran earned his B.A., magna cum laude, from the College of William and Mary. He earned his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was an associate editor of the Michigan Law Review. After law school, he joined the Children's Law Center (CLC) as a Skadden Fellow, and became a permanent staff attorney with the CLC in September 2003. He supervised attorneys handling child abuse and neglect matters and carried his own caseload representing children, parents, and caregivers in abuse, custody, and domestic violence proceedings at both the trial court and appellate levels in the District of Columbia. Professor Sankaran was named the 2004 Michigan Law School Public Interest Alumni of the Year, and, in 2006, was certified as a child welfare specialist by the National Association of Counsel for Children. He currently sits on the Board of Trustees of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Foundation and is a member of the Equal Access Initiative of the Michigan State Bar. Professor Sankaran can be reached at vss@umich.edu or 734.763.5000.

Robbin Pott became the Executive Director of CFA in June 2012. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and her Master's in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan.  She is a lawyer and public policy specialist at the Child Advocacy Law Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School where she also serves as the Assistant Director for the National Quality Improvement Center for the Representation of Children in Child Welfare (QIC-ChildRep) project. She also serves as a staff attorney for the clinic handling child welfare and juvenile justice cases.

Ms. Pott has spent her career focused on improving policies, through research and program administration, for under-privileged children and youth in the areas of child welfare, juvenile justice, childcare and education. Robbin can be reached at rpgonzal@umich.edu

Jamila Weathers is CFA's social worker. Ms. Weathers graduated from Michigan State University in 2003 with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work. During her undergraduate studies she was awarded a child welfare fellowship, which allowed her to concentrate in this area. She received her Master's Degree in Social Work in 2004 from the University of Michigan, where she was awarded a second child welfare fellowship and worked at the Family Assessment Clinic.

Ms. Weathers' interests in social work include keeping families in the child welfare system together. She has a wide range of experience working in child welfare, as a case worker, a clinician, and a supervisor. Ms. Weathers is a passionate and energetic social worker who strives to empower and uplift the clients whom she serves. She can be reached at jaweathe@umich.edu or 313.875.4233, ext. 153.

Nancy Vivoda, the Family Advocate for the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy and mother of five children, has had personal experience with her children entering the foster care system. Following a rigorous treatment plan she was able to be reunited with her children and has pursued a career as a parent advocate. She became the first birth parent in Wayne County to work as a parent partner for the Family to Family Initiative, currently known as Building Community Partnership Initiative through the Association for Children's Mental Health. Working with various community committees, she has been able to present the voice of the parent to community leaders, state representatives and legislators. Additionally, Ms. Vivoda has conducted trainings across the country for the Building a Better Future Model through the Annie Casey Family Programs. In addition to her work at the Detroit CFA assisting families with children that are at risk of entering the foster care system, Ms. Vivoda serves as a faculty member with the Casey Family Programs in the Breakthrough Series.  Nancy can be reached at nancolon@umich.edu or 313.875.4233, ext. 111.

Rubina S. Mustafa is a staff attorney with the CFA. She earned her Bachelor's in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Chicago in 1988 and her J.D., summa cum laude, from the Detroit College of Law in 1994. Ms. Mustafa has fifteen years of legal experience practicing appellate law, criminal law, constitutional law, family law, juvenile law, and employment law. Before joining CFA, Ms. Mustafa worked with the Michigan Children's Law Center as a Legal Guardian ad litem in the Wayne County Juvenile Court.  She represented children in all court proceedings and advocated for children’s needs in education and out-of-home placements.  Ms. Mustafa's prior experience includes working as a social worker, an employment and labor associate, a judicial clerk with the Michigan Court of Appeals, and as a staff attorney with the State Appellate Defender Office.

Ms. Mustafa has served on the state and executive boards of the Women Lawyers' Association of Michigan and as President of the Association's Wayne Region, as Chair of the Grosse Ile Community Recreation Commission, and as an At-Large member on the state board of the ACLU of Michigan.  She has also served on the leadership team of the YWCA of Metropolitan Detroit.

Ms. Mustafa advocates for individuals to be treated with dignity and respect. Ms. Mustafa joined CFA to prevent removal of children from their family home and strengthen children’s moral and emotional foundation. Rubina can be reached at rubinaw@umich.edu or at 313.875.4233, ext. 152.

Meredith E. Cohen is a staff attorney with CFA. She is a proud Wolverine, Warrior and Spartan! Ms. Cohen earned her Bachelor's in Social Work from Michigan State University in 2007, and her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School in 2010. While in law school, Ms. Cohen clerked at the Michigan Children's Law Center. There, she represented children and youth in child abuse, neglect and juvenile delinquency cases in the Wayne County Juvenile Court. Ms. Cohen also held internships with both Judge Avern Cohn of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, and Judge Judy Hartsfield of the Third Circuit Court of Michigan, Family Division-Juvenile Section. Ms. Cohen also acted as a Note Editor for the Wayne State University Law School Journal of Law in Society.

Ms. Cohen earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan in 2011, in the practice method of Social Policy and Evaluation, and in the practice are of Children and Youth in Families and Society. While pursuing her MSW, Ms. Cohen had the opportunity to collaborate with CFA and other law and social work agencies to develop the "Baby Court" project. This new infant mental health specialty docket at the Wayne County 3rd Circuit Court of Michigan, Family Division-Juvenile Section, develops more effective court procedures by working with an entire family unit and advocating in a less adversarial manner to promote stability and expedited reunification or permanency for our youngest children in foster care.

Ms. Cohen is determined to keep families together, and to ensure children are raised in a stable, loving environment, surrounded by their attachment figures. Ms. Cohen joined CFA knowing its work advances these goals, and more. Although raised in Michigan, she is excited to finally get to know the heart and soul of Detroit city. Meredith can be reached at cohenmer@umich.edu.

Shannon L. Urbon is the current Holbrook Fellow. (Hyperlink to Dewitt C. Holbrook Fellow section) Ms. Urbon was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan, though she moved to Ann Arbor in 1995 to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Studies from the University of Michigan. Ms. Urbon returned to Spartan territory in 2005 to obtain a law degree from the Michigan State University College of Law. Ms. Urbon accepted the Holbrook Fellowship with CFA in February 2013, in order to her pursue her passion for family advocacy. 

Ms. Urbon began her career in public service at a young age volunteering with her grandfather at a local hospital. While a student at the University of Michigan, Ms. Urbon worked for Safehouse, a domestic violence shelter, answering the 24-hour crisis line. After graduation, Ms. Urbon engaged in a professional career in New York City while continuing her advocacy on behalf of victims of domestic violence through volunteer work as a legal intern with Sanctuary for Families. In 2008, Ms. Urbon refocused her family advocacy efforts to concentrate on child welfare law through her work as a volunteer attorney with the Washtenaw County Office of the Public Defender juvenile abuse and neglect section. Mr. Urbon brings the skills she learned while advocating on behalf of parents and children involved with Child Protective Services to her work with CFA. Ms. Urbon is a zealous advocate on behalf of her clients, utilizing CFA’s multidisciplinary approach to obtain the best possible outcome from both a legal and social work perspective. In addition, Ms. Urbon serves as the Intern Coordinator for CFA seeking to shape the minds of the center’s legal interns as well as instilling in them the spirit of public service. Shannon can be reached at slurbon@umich.edu. 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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