Mary’s primary policy areas include foster care, kinship care, children’s health, and more recently, juvenile justice. She has authored guides and articles on child welfare-related topics, including the Kinship Legal Guardianship Guide, and has represented ACNJ as amicus curiae before the NJ Supreme Court in several cases. Mary is a member of the New Jersey Children in Court Improvement Committee, the NJ Medical Assistance Advisory Council, the New Jersey Council for Juvenile Justice System Improvement and its School/Justice Partnership Subcommittee, and the NJ Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect. Recently, she was appointed Acting Co-Chair for the NJ Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect. She previously chaired the Child Welfare Section and the Pro Bono Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association.
Prior to joining ACNJ in 1993, Mary practiced family law in New Jersey. She received both her J.D. and B.A. from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Policy, Advocacy & Data
Prior to her appointment as Director, Winifred was actively engaged in ACNJ's advocacy efforts, offering testimony, presenting on webinars, and meeting with public officials to effect change on a statewide level. Currently, as the leader of the early learning policy team, she works closely with key stakeholders to advance ACNJ's mission of ensuring affordable, quality early learning is accessible to all families in need. Winifred's proven track record of community involvement is extensive, having served on several committees, including the South Orange Maplewood School District Preschool Reopening Committee, the East Orange Preschool Advisory Council, and the former East Orange Mayoral Economic Development and Education Transition Team. She has also volunteered as a Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad member and served as a State of New Jersey Licensed Foster Parent and Certified Emergency Medical Technician.
Winifred is a member of several professional and national organizations, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, Delta Sigma Theta, and Jack and Jill of America. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Master of Science in Health Administration, and is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree in Higher Education. Her vast experience, deep commitment to child advocacy, and dedication to community involvement make her an invaluable addition to ACNJ's team of early learning policy experts.
Prudence Walters is the Director of Operations and has been with the organization since 2018. She is a first-generation college graduate in her family with a B.A. in Business Administration from Brooklyn College. With over a decade of experience in HR Management and Business Strategies, her primary role is to work closely with senior management in developing long-term operational strategies that help meet company objectives by overseeing the day-to-day operations of the office, ensuring that it runs efficiently so all members of the team have what they need to succeed. In addition, Prudence also works closely with ACNJ board members to maintain connections between the Board of Directors, committees, and staff.
Prior to joining ACNJ, Prudence has worked with companies such as Planned Parenthood, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Scholastic, Inc. Being a mother herself, she hopes to bring a personal touch to the agency's mission of child advocacy.