Laura Fernandez provides leadership, management and strategic direction for all of Sanctuary’s clinical services citywide. She oversees a team over 40 clinicians, along with case managers and support personnel. Before coming to Sanctuary in 2015, Laura served as Assistant Executive Director of Programs for Edwin Gould Services.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University and her Masters of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.

Ms. Fernandez has over 25 years of experience working with families and violence, including as a Child Protective Worker in Massachusetts, as a school counselor, and as a social worker in a New York City domestic violence shelter.   She served as an expert witness on the overlap between domestic violence and child protective issues in the Federal class action lawsuit, Nicolson v. Williams, which influenced major changes in the Administration for Children Services’ policies towards domestic violence victims.

Ms. Fernandez has initiated several programs for young people that promote positive youth development and inter-disciplinary collaborations.  She created an after-school program based on promoting an awareness of human rights, using the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and presented research on this program at an the XII  World Congress of Comparative Education Societies in Havana, Cuba.  A young person from that after-school program was chosen to represent children of prisoners on an international children’s jury for the World Children’s Prize for the Rights of a Child in Sweden.

Ms. Fernandez is also a field instructor for social work students and has been an adjunct professor at Hunter School of Social Work in the areas of Child Welfare Policy and Research.