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Latino Family Institute 

Founder & Chief Executive Director

Maria L. Quintanilla, MSW LCSW

Founder & Executive Director


Maria L. Quintanilla is the Founder and Executive Director of Latino Family Institute, Inc. (LFI).  Ms. Quintanilla is a part-time faculty at California State University, Long Beach in the Social Work Department.   


Maria was born in Tijuana, Mexico and grew up in South Central Los Angeles.  She completed her Elementary, Junior and High school education through the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Maria obtained her AA Degree from Mount Saint Mary’s College, her BASW (Bachelor’s in Social Work) from California State University, Los Angeles and her MSW (Master’s in Social Welfare) Degree from UC Berkeley and studied Social Welfare and Public Health in Mexico at Universidad de Guadalajara.  


In April 2012 she graduated from the Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In January 2015 she received California Endorsement as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist/Reflective Practice Facilitator II.  She recently completed Dr. Bruce Perry's, trauma informed Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) Certification.  


Maria is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) since 1993, a Certified Perinatal Bereavement Counselor, Advanced Bereavement Facilitator, Model Approaches to Partnerships & Parenting (MAPP) and Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education (PRIDE) Trainer.  Ms. Quintanilla is a recognized leader in the field of Latino child welfare issues.  She has developed a culturally based practice model of service delivery for Latinos and has trained nationally on this model.  


Ms. Quintanilla’s work experience includes serving as a psychotherapist for children and families in a community mental health clinic, as a psychiatric social worker for Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, ten years as a Medical Social Worker specializing in Maternal Child Health and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and serving as a psychotherapist for Latina women and their children impacted by HIV/AIDS and/or substance abuse through agency’s previously federally funded Abandoned Infant Assistance Program. 


She has trained Medical personnel in the areas of adoption and identifying child abuse and domestic violence in hospital settings. She has also conducted trainings, statewide and nationally, at the request of the State Department of Social Services Adoptions Branch, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – Administration of Children and Families (ACF), the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and the California Latino Social Work Network and multiple Public Child Welfare agencies seeking to increase their effectiveness in working with the Latino community. Ms. Quintanilla has trained several other states through her work as a trainer for the National Resource Center for Adoption and the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSkids.  


Ms. Quintanilla is a board member of the Adoption Exchange Association (AEA) and serves as Board Secretary. Prior national board memberships include:  the National Council of Latino Executives, the Latino Advisory Board for CWLA, the Latino Advisory Group for Wendy’s Dave Thomas Foundation, Voice For Adoption (VFA), the advisory board for the “All Children-All Families “Human Rights Campaign and she completed her eight-year tenure as board member of the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC).   She has been interviewed on radio, local and national television and various media outlets regarding Latino child welfare issues.

Maria L. Quintanilla

Founder & Executive Director

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