Joseph M. Costa, MSW, President and CEO
Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides’ president and chief executive officer, has served as Hillsides chief executive officer since 2011 , with the title of president added in 2017. During his tenure at Hillsides, Joe has used his expertise and experience to significantly expand Hillsides programs and services and to further cement Hillsides as a leader in the child welfare field. In 2016, he oversaw Hillsides’ affiliation with another respected child welfare agency, Bienvenidos. With this affiliation, Hillsides increases our presence in East Los Angeles and adds a foster care and adoption program to increase permanency for children, thus extending our reach to serve 13,000 children, youth and families in Southern California.
Joe is also successfully shepherding Hillsides through a $17 million dollar capital improvement project to significantly enhance the main campus in Pasadena that houses our short-term therapeutic residential program and our school, Hillsides Education Center. Under Joe’s direction, Hillsides has also expanded its Youth Moving On program for transition-aged youth with a drop-in center, the Peer Resource Center, and expanded our Family Resource Centers. Joe has also led Hillsides through the creation of a new Behavioral Health Division to streamline billing and intake and a new substance prevention and intervention program. In 2013, Hillsides achieved national accreditation through the New York-based Council on Accreditation (COA). The same year, Hillsides became recognized as a trauma informed organization by the National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council.
In his role, Joe oversees the overall operation of Hillsides and its affiliate, Bienvenidos, which encompasses planning, directing and coordinating the activities of both agencies. Joe administers the policies of both agencies as designated by the board of directors, including training programs and the administration of over 600 employees. As the chief executive officer, Joe is also accountable for the overall management of the Short-Term Residential Treatment Program on a 17-acre campus, its 14 buildings and the operation of two group homes in the nearby community in addition to its Foster Care and Adoptions Program that serves children and youth in resource homes, the management of a 49-unit apartment building that provides low cost housing for youth who have emancipated from foster care, the Family Resource Centers that provide mental health services to families in crisis, and Hillsides Education Center that offers individualized education plans to students with learning and behavioral challenges. Including Bienvenidos, he oversees 35 sites across four counties: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange.
Acknowledged as a leader in the child welfare community, Joe was selected by his peers to serve on the governing body of Child Welfare League of America, and has served as its Chairman. Previously Joe was on the governing body of the California Alliance for Child and Family Services. He is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers.
Previous to Hillsides, Joe was the chief executive officer of Sunny Hills Services, a multi-service children's charity in Northern California.
Joe earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy and social services from St. John's Seminary College in Boston. Thereafter, he earned his master's degree in divinity from St. John's Seminary, School of Theology before earning another master's degree in social work from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. He also served as an ordained Roman Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts.
Stacey R. Roth, LCSW, Chief Operating Officer
In her position as executive vice president and chief operating officer, Stacey Roth, a licensed clinical social worker, oversees our behavioral health division, campus-based services, including Hillsides Education Center, community-based outpatient services, which includes all Family Resource Center programs, foster care and adoptions, new funding and program opportunities, trauma informed care, and transition-aged youth services.
Since 1996, Stacey has been a part of Hillsides family. Stacey was a social worker in Tradewinds cottage for seven years before moving to the Family Resource Centers. As coordinator at of the school-based mental health program at San Rafael Elementary, Stacey oversaw the counseling and support services for students and their families.
She quickly became the clinical director and in less than a year was asked to be the director of Family Resource Centers. Overseeing all aspects of Family Resource Centers programs, Stacey was responsible for managing the school-based mental health programs, numerous Los Angeles County contracts for programs such as Family Support, Family Preservation, and Mental Health Services Act. In addition, Stacey oversaw the three Family Resource Centers located at Pasadena, Baldwin Park, and downtown Los Angeles. Stacey oversaw the relocation of the Family Resource Center from the Cathedral Center location in Echo Park to its current site in Los Angeles. In addition, she has encouraged the expansion of mental health programs to serve many more families in Greater Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley, including Baldwin Park and Los Angeles. Previous to her most current position, Stacey served as Hillsides chief program officer.
One of the priorities dear to Stacey’s heart is Hillsides commitment to Trauma Informed Care (TIC), part of a movement in the mental health field to recognize profound cognitive, social and emotional impacts of trauma, especially among public mental health clients. TIC has been shown to reduce the length of treatment and improve outcomes for clients. Stacey has been leading the effort to train all Hillsides employees in trauma-informed practices that are endorsed by the National Council on Behavioral Health. She also serves as the vice chair of the steering committee for a Los Angeles Trauma Informed Care Task Force.
Dan Braun, MBA, Chief Financial Officer
Dan Braun is Hillsides chief financial officer. In this position Dan oversees all agency business matters including banking, legal affairs, registrations and filings, tax returns, investments, compensation and benefits. He is also in charge of developing and maintaining the fiscal and business management of Youth Moving On and Hillsides Education Center. He supervises three staffs at Hillsides: financial operations, informational technology and operations. In addition, among his many duties, he is shepherding the financial rollout of Hillsides recent affiliation with Bienvenidos and is playing a significant role in the agency’s $17 million capital improvement project of the Pasadena campus.
Before coming to Hillsides, Dan served for eight years as the chief financial officer for Five Acres, a residential children’s mental health agency located in Altadena. There he negotiated and managed $30 million in government mental health and residential treatment contracts, among many other accomplishments. Previously, he was the controller for the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles, and the assistant vice president for finance and accounting for Hathaway-Sycamores Child & Family Services, a child welfare organization in Pasadena.
During a long and distinguished 29-year career in finance, Dan also worked as the economic vice president of a leading forensic economics firm, IBAR Settlement Company, Inc. in San Marino, and as the controller for All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. Dan considers his experience with children’s agencies to have begun when during college, he worked as a recreational supervisor and crisis support counselor at LeRoy Boy’s Home in La Verne.
Dan received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Azusa Pacific University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management at The Claremont Graduate University.
Carrie Espinoza, Chief Advancement Officer
Well-respected among her peers and donor community, Carrie Espinoza serves as the agency’s chief advancement officer. In her role, Carrie is responsible for raising more than $2 million a year to augment public funding for Hillsides programs. In addition, she is charged with fundraising for special initiatives, such as the agency’s recent $17 million capital campaign to enhance its aging Pasadena campus.
Carrie began her career at Hillsides in 1997 in the community resources department, cultivating relationships with volunteers and in-kind donors along with organizing special events, outings, and activities for the children living at Hillsides. In 2004, she was named assistant director of development and in 2013, director of development. Carrie brings knowledge of the various components of our advancement services department, an effective working relationship with her team, the confidence of our donors, and a demonstrated commitment to our mission. She oversees major gifts and planned giving, annual support, grant management, corporate sponsorships, communications, direct mail, and marketing, special events, and the fundraising component of support groups. In addition, Carrie participates in the board of directors meetings including attending executive, finance, capital campaign, membership, and building and grounds committees. Carrie is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
As a former board member and Ways & Means committee member at Holy Angels Catholic elementary school in Arcadia, she honed her special event skills by developing and overseeing all fundraising events for several years.
Previous to Hillsides, Carrie owned and operated adult residential care facilities for thirty years. She received her associate’s degree and certificate of achievement in nursing home administration from Pasadena City College. Carrie also earned her nursing home administrator license from the California Department of Public Health.
Diana Buehler, JD, Chief Administrative Officer
Diana Buehler is the chief administrative officer, bringing some 20 years experience working in nonprofits. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing risk management, the human resources department, contracts, and our accreditation process.
Diana comes to Hillsides from Bienvenidos, where she served as the chief operating officer for 11 years, from 2005 to July, 2016. There, she oversaw 170 staff and 15 satellite offices, acted as a liaison with the Department of Children and Family Services and Community Care licensing, managed human resources and partnered with the division directors to plan and direct all aspects of the agency’s operational policies, objectives, and initiatives.
Diana also worked for Bienvenidos from 1990 to 2000 as the human resources director. She created the human resources department and instituted all necessary state and federal labor laws. She also assisted the agency in creating the employee policies and procedures handbook.
In between jobs at Bienvenidos, Diana earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of La Verne and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of La Verne Law School. During these years, she also worked as the human resources director for the Urban Education Partnership, an education nonprofit in Los Angeles. She also earned a masters of science in leadership and management with a concentration in nonprofit management from the University of La Verne in May 2015.
Miriam Gonzalez-Coultas, MBA, Chief Programs Officer
Miriam Gonzalez-Coultas is Hillsides’ chief program officer. In this role, she oversees community-based programs, Youth Moving On programs, and several program by either the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Mental Health, among other responsibilities.
Miriam brings 17 years of experience in the social services field to her position. Previously, she held the same position at Bienvenidos. There, she oversaw the mental health, foster care, and community services divisions, and was responsible for a $15 million budget. She also acted as the liaison with the county social service entities and other community organizations.
Miriam began her career with Bienvenidos in 2003 as a foster care social worker. She was promoted to a lead mental health therapist, then to clinical manager and director of mental health before assuming the title of chief program officer.
Miriam is very active in the community and serves as a board member and secretary at Valley of Hope Children’s Center in Pacoima, a nonprofit that provides mental health counseling to victims of violent crimes. She is also involved in children’s ministry at Rocky Peak Church in Chatsworth. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Northridge and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University.
Amy Ley-Sanchez, LCSW, Chief Clinical Officer
Amy Ley-Sanchez, LCSW, is Hillsides chief clinical officer. In this position, she oversees intake referrals, the centralization of and funding sources of mental health allocations, and s quality assurance standards. She evaluates data and outcomes to better deliver services to clients and assures ongoing communication and collaboration with county representatives, external funders and county leadership. Amy also ensures proper preparation of program and division plans as well as oversight for all new program initiatives with respect to contractual compliance.
Formerly, Amy served as the division director of the Behavioral Health Division and division director of community-based outpatient services. She joined Hillsides in 1999 as a Family Resource Centers case manager, collaborating across departments in the coordination of services and resources for our clients. Her initiative, perseverance, and leadership were demonstrated through the many achievements as the program manager/contracts manager, a position she formerly held. She served as the principle grant writer for government grants, initiated subcontracting and capacity building partnership with community organizations, led the first Peer and parent Partner program in 2006, and helped cultivate intermediate leadership roles for emerging leaders. In her position today, Amy coordinates the agency’s response to all contracts and solicitations as offered by county and private sources, including evaluating the decision to bid, leading out program design, and coordinating the contract writing team.
Amy was instrumental in launching the Trauma Informed Care initiative at Hillsides, establishing our agency as the premier provider of parenting education within two service areas, and developed efficient modes of communication among FRC staff and supervisors. In efforts to anticipate new initiatives and changing trends in community behavioral health, Amy continues to participate in county associations, local area planning groups, and integrated care networks.
She currently serves as adjunct faculty at University of Southern California, providing mentorship and guidance to new social workers. Amy received the Master Field Instructor Award from USC in 2011 and earned her licensing credentials in 2010. She received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and anthropology from the California State University Fullerton and a master’s degree in social work from USC in 2003.
Amy Cousineau, Ph.D., Division Chief, Campus-Based Services
Amy Cousineau, Ph.D., is Hillsides’ Division Chief, Campus-Based Services. In this position she oversees the Short-Term Residential Treatment Program, the Hillsides Education Center, nursing, Residentially-based Services and Therapeutic Behvioral Services. She is also in charge of steering the residential program through foster care reform as mandated by the recent state law AB 403, the Continuum of Care Reform. Most previously to this position, she served as Hillsides director of programs and strategic initiatives.
Amy began her career at Hillsides in 2008, starting out as a psychologist and assessment program manager. She was then promoted to Hillsides training program manager and then to the director of Hillsides Family Resource Center in Echo Park, Calif., which offers the community a wide range of programs and services such as mental health support and parenting classes. While supervising the Echo Park location, she also served for eight months as the interim director of Youth Moving On, Hillsides program for transition-aged youth 16 – 25.
While working at Hillsides, Amy concurrently worked as a psychologist in private practice in Glendale, Calif., for about five years. She also worked as a therapist at the VIP Community Health Center in Los Angeles, as a psychological assistant at the Learning Disabilities Testing Center in Redondo Beach, Calif., and as a staff therapist at the Biola Counseling Center in La Mirada, Calif., among other jobs.
Amy received a bachelor’s degree from Biola University with a double major in psychology and music and a master’s and doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the Rosemead School of Psychology at Biola University.