Black Family and Child Services of Arizona

Key Staff
Mary Magalene Black

Mary Magalene Black

President and Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Black founded BFCS to meet the needs of under-served children and families in 1984. This community-based agency has grown steadily to become a thriving social service organization. Ms. Black is widely recognized as one of Arizona's leading advocates for improving the lives of children and families in all ethnic groups who survive in under-served conditions. She has envisioned and created many programs through cultivating community resources without reliance on public support. And several of the agency's services have grown to become important subcontractors to county and state agencies which now rely upon BFCS to provide essential community social and behavioral services.

Since 1984, Ms. Black has developed numerous programs, including: Juvenile Intervention, a pregnancy prevention program for teens; a behavioral health counseling program for children and families; a substance abuse out-patient program for adults; Foster Care and Adoption programs that have placed hundreds of children in nurturing homes; one of the first 25 Charter Schools in the state of Arizona (which was open from 1995 – 2004); provided the vision and leadership, in 1994, to renovate a 27,000 square foot facility with only private sector partnerships; and, most recently, expanded the foster care program to provide Therapeutic Foster Care to some of Arizona's most emotionally fragile children.


Lavarez Harris, EdD

Clinical Manager

Dr. Harris was named Clinical Director in 2016. She had managed the BFCS Therapeutic Foster Care and Foster Care programs since 2011.

Her professional experience includes 16 years in the child welfare system at the Department of Children and Family Services in both Los Angeles and Orange Counties in California, and in non-profit agencies Phoenix. Throughout her career, she has provided clinical and behavioral supervision for family reunification, adoption, recruitment, and parent aide, staff and foster parent training.

Dr. Harris continues to maintain Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) licensure and a Mediation Certification in the State of California. Dr. Harris attended California State University at Northridge where she earned a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She earned a Doctorate in Education in Clinical Psychology in 2007.

Kamal El Shaarawy

Director of Family Enhancement Program

Kamal is responsible for hiring, training, managing behavioral health coaches. He also ensures program quality through regular evaluation of program activities, and monitoring record keeping, service documentation and the data collection process.

He joined Black Family and Child Services of Arizona in 2001. Prior to that, he worked for seven years as a behavior specialists consultant in public school systems and as a mobile therapist in a comprehensive wrap-around program, counseling families and their children in home settings.

He has a master's degree in clinical psychology, he is a certified clinical hypnotherapist, and is a certified instructor of the parenting approach "Parents as Teachers".

His passion is to help families through hope and action to lead successful lives.

Marguerite Dickey, PhD

Senior Clinical Consultant

A Board licensed psychologist with over 30 years experience in behavioral health and child welfare fields, Dr. Dickey provides professional direction and guidance to agency staff and management regarding a wide range of behavioral health services. She also works to strengthen and improve the community-based model of service delivery in order to meet the needs of multicultural consumers and community.

Dr. Dickey has been with Black Family and Child Services since its inception in 1984, and has had a significant role in planning and implementation of clinical programs and services, incorporating evidence based practices into existing service delivery procedures, and in strategic planning for meeting the needs of a multicultural consumer population and community. Dr. Dickey is an active participant in ensuring that all services provided incorporate standards and practices that ensure cultural competence at all levels of service provision.

For more than 15 years, Dr. Dickey provided psychological services and consultation to children and families involved with Child Protective Services (now the Department of Child Safety). She was selected by the Department of Economic Security to co-chair a committee to examine the issue of the over-representation of African American children in foster care and provide the Department with recommendations to correct and improve that situation.

Prior to joining Black Family and Child Services, Dr. Dickey provided psychological consultation to Head Start. She was Director of Child and Family Services at Phoenix South Community Mental Health Center and later was a consultant to that agency for more than 10 years.

Tezerash Bekele

Director of Quality and Performance Improvement

Tezerash is responsible for leading the Quality Management and Performance Improvement Department and ensuring that the quality of care and services provided to behavioral service recipients meet the highest standards.

She joined BFCS in 2007. Prior to that, she had worked for the Arizona Department of Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services implementing a system of continuous quality management and performance improvement initiatives and projects.

She also has extensive experience in implementing projects and programs that have made a difference in the lives of disadvantaged communities and also alleviated social and economic problems while working for major international organizations abroad, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and Save the Children USA.

She has a master's degree in international development and social change from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts with emphasis on participatory approach and is passionate about improving the lives of children, adults and families in all aspects of life.

Oscar Soto, BBA

Chief Financial Officer

Oscar is Chief Financial Officer for the agency and is responsible for the financial reporting function of Black Family and Child Services.

In his 30-year career in government and non-profit accounting, he previously worked for several community social services agencies and went on to become the Budget Analyst for the largest school construction project in the nation in San Diego. Oscar began his career in accounting with the County of El Paso, Texas where he rose to the rank of Senior Investment Analyst after working there for 12 years.

A graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, where he received a BBA in Business Administration, Oscar lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and two children.

Alyssa K. Foote

Case Management Manager

Tim Martinson, LMSW

Clinical Support & Development Director

Tim works with the executive management team to develop clinical programs and services for BFCS. He also provides technical assistance with program management.

He has been working in the behavioral health field in Arizona for more than 32 years, joining Black Family and Child Services in 1995. He has remained at BFCS because of his passion for the agency mission: "Improving the lives of children and families."

Prior to joining BFCS, Tim worked at Florence Crittention Services outpatient and residential programs for 11 years. He has held a Behavioral Health Professional license from the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health as a Licensed Master Social Worker since 1991.

Tim holds a double bachelor's degree in counseling and behavior modification from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. He holds a Master's of Social Work degree from Arizona State University.

Joaquin Bermudez, D.O.

Consulting Psychiatrist