executive team

Renata Cobbs-Fletcher, M.S.

President and CEO

Renata joined Northern in June 2015, bringing over 20 years of experience in leading social program design, implementation, research, and policies, as well as in direct service and fund development. Working in Philadelphia and in over 25 U.S. cities and ten countries across five global regions, she is passionate about social justice and social change.

As a Vice President and through other ascending positions, Renata worked for eight years at Public/Private Ventures (P/PV), a Philadelphia-based, national action-based research and practice organization focused on tackling critical challenges facing children, youth and families living in high-poverty.

One of the achievements Renata is most proud at P/PV of is her role on Ready4Work – a $25M, national 17-site prisoner reentry demonstration project funded by the U.S. Departments of Labor & Justice and several private foundations, which served over 5,000 juveniles and young adults and resulted in reductions in recidivism as well strong employment, mentoring and educational outcomes. Other P/PV project highlights include The Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund Faith-Based Project, The Choice is Yours – Philadelphia based alternative to incarceration program; and, The Ready2Thrive Web-Based Resource Center and Practitioners’ Network, a set of resources and platform for peer-to-peer exchange for program, research, and policy work specific to males of color.

Renata has also served as Assistant General Secretary for Integration & Impact at the Philadelphia-based American Friends Service Committee, Development Director and then Executive Director for New Haven, CT-based Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership, and as a consultant focused on various strategies, design, technical assistance and capacity building efforts.

Renata received a B.A. from Spelman College, and an M.S. in Social Change Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, where she is a former Fellow at the Wharton Leadership Program for the Lipman Family Prize, an annual global prize that celebrates leadership and innovation among organizations creating positive social impact.

Renata has authored or co-authored over ten publications, has testified before several U.S. Congressional Committees, and has made many presentations, including for the Brookings Institution, the White House Office for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and the National Urban League.

Picture of John Cappo

John Cappo, M.Ed.

Administrative Director, Intensive Behavioral Health Service (IBHS)

John Cappo is a School Therapeutic Services (STS) Director who leads a team of professionals to assist youth with behavioral difficulties in schools to remain in the educational environment.

John believes family engagement and empowerment are vital in the success of children.

John had worked as an STS Director for 7 years before joining the Northern team and brings a wealth of experience. He also worked as a Behavior Specialist, Mobile Therapist, and Clinical Therapist since entering the field.

John holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Services from Lehigh University.

Donna Chiavaroli, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Donna Chiavaroli joined Northern Children’s Services in June 2021 as Chief Financial Officer bringing a wealth of experience in financial accounting and reporting to this position. She is a results-focused financial leader with extensive knowledge in strategic planning and skillful at developing strong accounting teams and systems. She held senior leadership positions at various non-profit Agencies that provide supportive housing, in-home supports, behavioral and mental health counseling, and addiction treatment program services.

Donna’s technical skills were based in her attainment of a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Philadelphia University, and were enhanced through her subsequent training in public accounting at Asher and Company (now BDO) where she led audits of non-profit organizations and affordable housing properties and achieved certified public accountant licensure in Pennsylvania. 

Robbie Peterson, MHS

Director of Adoptions and Permanency

Robbie Peterson joined Northern in June 2021 as the Director of Adoptions and Permanency.  With over 19 years of experience in human services and the Philadelphia child welfare system, Robbie has helped children and families navigate through the foster care system while advocating for reunification and permanency.

Since 2017, she has been a consultant for Pennsylvania’s Statewide Adoption Network (SWAN). Robbie’s other previous management roles include serving as Program and Operations Services Manager at the Achieving Reunification Center (ARC), Foster Care Supervisor at Northeast Treatment Centers (NET), and Medical Foster Care Intake Coordinator at Best Nest, Inc..

Robbie earned her Master of Human Services (MHS) from Lincoln University in 2007 . 

Dr. Dawn George, Psy.D.

Director of Outpatient, Wellness, and Early Intervention

Dr. Dawn George is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received a Bachelors’ degree in Human Services (2000), a Master’s degree in Counseling and Clinical Psychology (2005) from Chestnut Hill College, respectively, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Immaculata University (2017). Dr. George is currently licensed eligible and is studying for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) licensure.

Throughout Dr. George’s career, she has worked with children in all facets. In 2000, she joined the Department of Human Services (DHS) as a trainee social worker. Within a short time, she became a Social Worker I and then Social Worker II. She has investigated thousands of allegations of abuse and neglect of children, adolescents, and teenagers. She is an avid advocate for the children and families in the Philadelphia area. In 2008, she was appointed to the elite Specialty Sex Abuse Unit while at DHS, a section of the Collaborative Sexual Abuse Unit. This small elite group of social workers was responsible for investigating the vast majority of heinous sexual crimes against minors. The Collaborative Unit, which is the cities’ first co-location, comprises DHS Specialty Unit Social Workers, Philadelphia Police Department, Special Victims Unit (SVU) detectives, and Philadelphia Caring Alliance (PCA) forensic investigators. This division has expanded to include CHOP and St. Christopher’s doctors and nurses to provide immediate medical treatment of victims. Dr. George was part of the team that discussed how to bring all parties, such as prosecutors and victim advocates, in one location to minimize the re-traumatization of victims’ abuse. Before this, a child victim may have told their story several times.

During her long tenure at DHS, Dr. George made it her mission to reunify children sooner with their families, so they did not linger unnecessarily in foster care. Dr. George’s position required her to investigate allegations, testify in court, hold family meetings, determine allegations, provide safety checks, and remove children from unsafe homes. However, she advocated for families to fight for their children while learning alternative methods of discipline.

She previously worked for Northern in several capacities, the first of which was working as a pre-doctoral internal through the Immaculata Consortium.  As a Clinical Manager for its’ Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Services (BHRS) program in Chester, PA, Dr. George  supervised the BHRS program and provided outpatient therapy.  Dr. George has also served at Northern as a clinical consultant, completing Comprehensive Biopsychosocial Evaluations (CBE’s) and Comprehensive Biopsychosocial Re-evaluations (CBR’s) for its School Therapeutic Services (STS), BHRS, Wellness, and Outpatient programs.

Immediately prior to rejoining Northern to assume her current position, Dr. George served as Clinical Team Leader for Northeast Treatment Centers (NET), School Therapeutic Services (STS). There she supervised multiple teams of Master’s and Bachelor’s level clinicians in various schools who provide therapeutic services to children with behavioral challenges. While at NET, she has coined the phrase, “We are not a reward; we are not a consequence; we are a therapeutic service.

Other notable career opportunities include providing treatment at Woods Services, where she administered testing for children diagnosed with autism, ADHD, and Intellectual Disabilities. She also provided individual, family, and group therapy at Red Shields Family Shelter for residents. Her tenure at Coleman Hall was as a co-therapist for men convicted of crimes who were midway between leaving the criminal justice system and going home. Her earliest internship experience was at Jefferson Hospital’s NARP program and Women Against Abuse.

For her dissertation, Dr. George did qualitative research on “Cultural Differences in Reporting Child Abuse by Mandated Reporting in Pennsylvania.” She also presented at the Pennsylvania Psychological Association Annual Convention “Application of Family Therapy, Concepts, and Practices to Culturally Diverse Families.” Additionally, she was among other notable critical speakers on a community panel for understanding, “Sexual Abuse in the community.”

Dr. George loves the arts, particularly dance. In her spare time, she volunteers at her family’s dance school and is family-oriented. Dr. George’s goal is to produce a therapeutic environment that cultivates real behavioral changes for children, especially minority children. She has been working with children for more than 20 years and continues to be an advocate. She believes she should help eliminate barriers so that every child can reach self-actualization.

Picture of Kia Butler

Kia Butler, M.Ed.

Director of Foster Care

Ms. Butler earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.  In 2010, Ms. Butler received her Master’s degree in education from the University of Phoenix.

In the years after college her love for children in the community continued to grow. Kia began her career at Progressions, a behavioral health agency where she worked with children between the ages of 5 and 15. Her commitment to children led her to Northern Children Services in 2003 where she worked as a school-based case manager.  In 2006, she was promoted to the supervisor of the school-based case managers.   In 2008, Kia assumed the role as the Director of Community-Based Programs.  Some of the programs within this division include Truancy Prevention, Community Change Initiative, the After School Beacon program and Juvenile Justice Prevention.

These prevention programs assist children throughout Philadelphia and surrounding counties.  Currently, Kia holds the position of Director of Foster Care at Northern, supporting over 100 youth and 75 Resource Parents in Philadelphia.

Her enthusiasm and drive has kept her focused on the needs of children who often are overlooked by society.

‘If you change the life of one child, you have changed the world,” Ms. Butler said. Her love and active role in the lives of scores of children are a testament to that motto.

Lindsay Brown, Psy.D.

Senior Clinical Director of Behavioral Health

Dr. Brown is the Senior Clinical Director of Behavioral Health at Northern Children Services.  Dr. Brown earned her Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Immaculata University. Dr. Brown is a licensed psychologist and has over 15 years of experience in outpatient and residential settings working with children and their families.

Dr. Brown oversees all of the Behavioral Health programs at NCS, including Wraparound, STS, OP, Partial, and the Wellness & Resiliency Program.

Clinically, Dr. Brown believes the foundation of a successful therapeutic experience relies on the relationship between the clinician and client/caregiver.  She believes treatment is a collaborative effort and helps individuals identify personal goals that are meaningful to them and identify steps to achieve such goals.  Dr. Brown strives to provide a safe, warm, and insightful environment at Northern Children’s Services in order to help individuals and families work through their stress and troubles.

Aaron Prince, PhD(c), MSM, ICAADC, ICCDP-D, ICCS

Director for Residential Programs

With over 30 years’ experience, Aaron brings a strong level of expertise to his role.

Prior to his tenure at Northern Children Services, Aaron was Program Supervisor of Residential Services at Youth Services Inc. (YSI). Aaron has previously served as Program Director for The Empowerment Resurrection Center in Chester, PA and as Program Director for Connections, ISP Inc. in Chester, PA, and the nationally renowned Therapeutic Community-Key Program in Wilmington DE. Prior to this work, Aaron served as Executive Director at Addictions Recovery Systems (ARS) where he provided direct oversight for a federally funded medication assisted treatment program, and Program Manager for Brandywine Counseling & Community Services (BCCS). Aaron also worked with New Castle County, DE, in a variety of capacities, including as Deputy Director of Programming for a nine hundred bed correctional half-way house owned by Community Educations Centers (CEC) in Trenton, NJ. During this time, he was awarded the Department of Corrections’ prestigious “Golden Key” award for outstanding service. I also served as the.

Aaron is currently in the final dissertation stages of acquiring a Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology with a major in Mental Health, and a Minor in Performance Psychology. Aaron holds a Master of Science in Management degree (specializing in Public Health/Public Policy), a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health degree concentrating in Mental Health/Rehabilitation, and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Addiction Studies.

Aaron holds several board national and international certifications in the field of Hunan Service, Addictions as well as Substance Use: International Certified Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor (ICAADC), International Certified Co-Occurring Disorder Professional (ICCDP) and International Certified Clinical Supervisor (ICCS). He is in the final stages of becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Aaron is also active in a variety of civic and cultural organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the Middle Atlantic States Correctional Association.

Yu-Ching Ting, M.S.

Human Resource Director

Yu-Ching earned her Master of Science in Human Resource Development (HRD) from Towson University and her Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication. She is a well-developed Human Resource Director with extensive employee development and human resources leadership experience. She is adept at supervising and developing staff, recommending solutions to improve processes, and implementing effective training programs to streamline personnel productivity. She designs and implements HR policies and procedures, as well as consistently maintain compliance with employment laws as set forth by State and Federal regulations.