Cross-Sector Child Care Task Force

The Cross-Sector Child Care Task Force includes parents, employers, city and county representatives, child care providers, affordable housing developers, legislators, and philanthropists who are working together to develop and implement local and county-wide solutions to the child care crisis in Orange County.

Iosefa Alofaityli

Executive Director and Co-Founder of CIELO

CIELO focuses on entrepreneurs who drive the local economies within low-income immigrant neighborhoods. Accessible, quality child care is a critical driver within these neighborhoods because parents need to work their jobs and run their businesses, but since they can’t afford child care, they need stay home with their toddler, which means they can’t earn — which is not good for the parents, employers who need those parents at work, and most importantly, the children. This is why we joined the Cross-sector Child Care Task Force.

Blanca Arellano 

Hope Through Housing Foundation, Regional Director

Blanca Arellano is the Regional Director of the Hope Through Housing Foundation (in partnership with National Core), a national non-profit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of generational poverty by implementing programs that empower individuals and change communities. Hope Through Housing believes that affordable housing can be a platform for transformational change at the individual and neighborhood level. For households, securing affordable housing supports economic and social stability, which enables families to regain self-sufficiency and independence and can lead to greater prospects for mobility and improved quality of life. For the children in these households, this economic and social stability secures a safe haven for them in which they learn and grow and gives them a better chance of succeeding in school and beyond and of breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

Blanca and her team deliver services and support to low-income residents throughout Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange counties. Blanca oversees several after school programs, pre-schools, social events, and educational community workshops throughout her region.

Mayra Chavez

Donor & Community Engagement Officer, Orange County Community Foundation

Mayra began her work at the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) through an Education and Scholarship Assistant Internship in June 2015, before being hired to work with the Hispanic Education Endowment Fund (HEEF) in 2017. Now, Mayra’s role as a Donor & Community Engagement Officer at the OCCF has expanded to include work focused on supporting diverse communities and community impact initiatives.

Mayra helps lead the Workforce Development Initiative’s efforts to increase talent pipelines to middle-skills jobs in Orange County, the African American Alliance Fund’s work to support and elevate the visibility of Black-led and Black-centered nonprofit organizations, and the Avanzar Board Leadership Academy – a three-month training program for Latino professionals interested in supporting the community by serving on a nonprofit Board.

Mayra is from San Bernardino and moved to Orange County to attend UC Irvine, where she graduated with a joint Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban Studies and Criminology, Law and Society, and a minor in Chicano/Latino Studies. 

Melinda Frizzell

Early Childhood Center Director/Owner

Melinda has dedicated her career to early childhood education, with a focus on providing a nurturing and enriching environment for young learners. As the Director and Owner of Adventures In Learning, LLC, she oversees the daily operations, curriculum development, and staff training to ensure the best possible experiences for children.

Her journey in early childhood education began as a toddler teacher 30 years ago, and it was a defining moment that led Melinda to her life’s work. For the past 27 years, she has been fortunate to create and manage my own centers, shaping the future of countless young minds. Her commitment to high-quality childcare drives her active involvement in the Task Force.

Melinda and her husband are avid travelers who love exploring new places and cultures. They are also passionate about boating and enjoy spending quality time with their twin adult sons.

Jenna Hilal

Director of Child and Family Development, AppliedKids, Applied Medical

Jenna Hilal is the Director of Child and Family Development and is an advisor to the Community Relations and AppliedKids teams, along with other teams at Applied Medical. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in Child Development, with an emphasis on Early Childhood Development and Administration.

She has been an infant teacher in the classroom and has experience in different classes, centers, and environments such as camps and nonprofits, and helps parents through workshops and guidance in finding resources and support.

Her connection to the task force is on many levels from the business world, to the teaching and personal. Jenna has two children of her own both adopted out of traumatic situations and both with varying special needs, two kittens who are just around to be cute and mischievous, and two dogs, one who is a service dog and one training to be a Search and Rescue volunteer pup.

Madelynn Hirneise

Parent and Chief Executive Officer for Families Forward

Madelynn joined the Cross-sector Child Care Task Force because she believes in an Orange County where every parent figure has the same opportunity to provide a strong foundation for their children through their early learning years and beyond. Madelynn is a mother to two young children and serves as the CEO for Families Forward, one of the leading organizations in the region working to prevent and end family homelessness. Madelynn sees families struggling every day to access basic needs and services, such as food, a roof over their head, and a job. This leaves little room to focus on their children’s access to early intervention services, positive and responsive parenting, or safe and affordable child care. Accessible child care is a necessary resource to support the entire family unit and to support a child during the most critical developmental stage in their lives. Accessible child care is needed to build a strong foundation that will set them on a path for their emotional, social, and physical well-being from an early age.

Stephanie Klopfenstein

City of Garden Grove, Councilmember

Stephanie is involved with the Cross-sector Child Care Task Force because as a mother and councilwoman, she wants to be able to advocate for families in her community. There is a significant need for accessible and affordable child care in Orange County. Stephanie is proud of the work and steps Garden Grove is already taking in supporting working parents and child care businesses.

Susan McClintic

First 5 OC Commissioner and Early Childhood Educator

Susan has extensive teaching, leadership, and program development experience with infants and toddlers, preschool, school-age, and community college students. An advocate for high quality early learning experiences for all children, especially those facing challenges of poverty and other adverse childhood experiences, Susan is also a Board member for Families Forward, a nonprofit organization working to prevent and end family homelessness by providing access to housing and resources that create lasting stability.

As a mother and grandmother, she’s felt the frustrating lack of child care options for children under three and seen the benefits of quality programs for children and peace of mind for working parents. She hopes the Cross-Sector Child Care Task Force will create innovative solutions that improve choices for families and access to subsidized funding for those who qualify.

Sophia Mercado

Parent and Consultant 

As a parent, I am my son’s first role model and I don’t take that responsibility lightly. I try my absolute best to intentionally live out the same qualities of love, service, and advocacy that I teach my son about. As a member of this community, I firmly believe that we are called to support, share with, learn from, and understand one another. I joined the Cross-sector Child Care Task Force because I have a duty to fulfill as a parent and as a member of this community. The child care system is so much larger, complex, and interwoven than most realize — it spans across industries, occupations, peoples, communities, and even generations. If I, in any capacity, am able to contribute to the resolution of this issue, the realization of the positive impact these changes will have on industries, occupations, peoples, communities, and even generations is the true reward. I feel so grateful to be part of this awesome team that is working diligently toward making a difference!

Dr. Tiffany Ortiz

Parent and Licensed Clinical Psychologist 

Dr. Ortiz specializes in working with children and families. She is also an Infant Family Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist and a Reflective Practice Facilitator with years of experience working with children and families in multiple settings. She has extensive training working with the Birth to Five population and hoping to provide more expertise in early intervention and prevention services. Dr. Ortiz also has a specialization in conducting child and adolescent psychoeducational assessments and strongly promotes the importance of a comprehensive evaluation for our youth.

She currently works at El Centro De Amistad in Los Angeles County, and also works with a small group private practice in Orange County. Her experience working with diverse populations and her multicultural approach to understanding families, attachment, and community function has helped her better connect with her clients. As a working professional mother, it is a difficult situation when you must separate from your child. It is important to ensure that young children are well taken care of, not just supervised, but also to support socioemotional growth and development.

Dr. Ortiz brings to the Cross-Sector Child Care Task Force her professional training  and knowledge working with young children as well as lived experience having two children under the age of 5 and the utilization of childcare.

When Dr. Ortiz is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, having lots of in-the-moment dance parties, swimming, and loves hearing major belly laughs with her boys.

Taryn Palumbo

Executive Director, Orange County Grantmakers

Orange County Grantmakers (OCG) is a regional association of philanthropic funders in Orange County. As Executive Director, Taryn provides strategic leadership, oversees programming, communication, member services and community engagement, and supports the operations of the organization. Taryn joined OCG as a part-time Executive Administrator in January 2017 and was promoted to Executive Director in February 2018.

Prior to joining OCG, Taryn held roles in public policy, government affairs, education, small business engagement and community relations. She has served as a consultant with United Way Orange County, helping to launch UpSkill OC, a middle skills job initiative and with The Olin Group, supporting a variety of nonprofit clients.

Before moving back home to Orange County, Taryn spent four years with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, first as their Manager of Public Policy and later as their Director of Strategic Partnerships. In this role she created, grew, and implemented UniteSF, an education/workforce development initiative, and co-chaired San Francisco’s Small Business Week Committee.

Taryn earned her Juris Doctorate from Chapman University School of Law and passed the CA Bar in 2011. She earned her B.A. from Loyola Marymount University. Taryn currently serves on the Executive Board of the OC Forum and as an appointed Commissioner for the City of Huntington Beach’s Community and Library Services Commission. Taryn is also the proud mom of a 4.5 year old boy and 2 year girl. She thanks her “team” of husband, parents, nanny and daycare for letting her “do it all.”

Grace Porter

Parent Representative

Grace is thrilled to be part of the cross-sector committee. As a single mom of three little boys, quality affordable childcare is a vital part of her and her kids’ lives. Grace loves being a part of this group working to find resources and legislative solutions to staffing issues, funding issues, and more to help provide numerous affordable, quality childcare options in Orange County.

Natalie Reider

Senior Vice President, Community Operations, Jamboree

Natalie oversees Jamboree’s Asset Management and Community Impact teams. This ensures the seamless integration of property management, resident services, data collection and analysis, financial performance, and community development and operations across the lifecycle of each Jamboree property.

Natalie joined Jamboree in 2015 as Director of Community Impact to lead the expansion of resident services, a vital part of developing affordable housing that’s a platform for community change.

Natalie believes in the power of strong partnerships as they allow diverse perspectives and innovative thinking to occur. They offer the ability to leverage the best of people, ideas, and resources in one organization with the best in another organization, leading to greater outcomes.

Christian Olano Bartlett

Program Manager, Disneyland Resort Child Care Program

Christian Olano-Bartlett is a dedicated professional with an 18-year tenure at the Disneyland® Resort. Her journey with the company has been marked by significant contributions, notably the successful launch of the Child Care Program.

Christian oversees a program designed to support Disneyland Resort cast members by alleviating child care costs for children aged 12 and younger. Over the past four years, she has been passionately dedicated to enhancing the program and raising awareness about the company’s offerings, as well as connecting cast members with valuable community resources. Christian advocates for improvement and is conscientious of different perspectives and needs.

A proud alumna of California State University, Long Beach, Christian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development. Beyond her professional achievements, Christian is a loving spouse and a mother of two. She is a Team Mom for her children’s sports teams, and enjoys romantic comedies, whether in the form of movies or books. 

Other Cross-Sector Child Care Task Force Members include:

Brittany Goodman, Alder Andrea Hickman, Jamboree Housing
Al Jabbar, Supervisor Doug Chaffee’s OfficeJade Jenkins, UC IrvineFarrah Kahn, City of IrvineJennifer Kinkel, Fullerton College
Amy Ramos, Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva office
Rochelle Santacruz, Orange Coast College Child Development CenterGeorge Searcy, Jamboree Housing
Victoria Torres, Samueli Foundation
Patricia Welch-Foster, Supervisor Don Wagner’s Office