Elva Tamashiro

Elva comes to IFF with more than more than 20 years of experience working with children and their families as a Child Life Specialist. Her expertise includes child and parent development, assessment and early intervention, and therapeutic play for children with acute and chronic illness. In addition, she has provided training for early childhood educators, and is responsible for forging community and interagency partnerships. Prior to IFF, she taught undergraduate Child Psychology courses at CSU Dominguez Hills, and was the Director of Child Development Services at Braille Institute.

While at Braille Institute, Elva supervised consultants working with infants, young children and their families with visual impairments. Her work at Braille Institute has provided her with knowledge of childhood eye diseases, and the impact they may have on a child and the family's development. Elva's professional career has come full circle. Her career began in 1987 as a Child Life Specialist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where she was fortunate to work alongside Nancy Mansfield. Under Nancy's guidance and mentorship, Elva worked in close partnership with the families from the Institute.

Elva is excited to join the team at Institute for Families, and to continue to honor the work of founder, Nancy Mansfield.

Paula Denney 

Paula is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist providing psychosocial and emotional support to children and their families. Paula had the opportunity to work under the supervision and mentorship of Dr. Nancy Mansfield for over 2 years starting in 1998. She returned to the Institute for Families in November of 2010 after Dr. Mansfield's unexpected passing to help carry on Dr. Mansfield's goal of helping children and families where cancer or other diseases have impacted vision.

Paula graduated with a Master of Science degree from California State University. She has been in private practice in Pasadena, CA, since 1999. Her experience working with families in her Pasadena practice, as well as her experience in working with Dr. Mansfield, provides her with valuable experience for her position at IFF.

Amy Di Francia 

Amy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Los Angeles, CA. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine University, and an M.S. in Marital and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary. In addition to working with individuals and families in a therapeutic capacity, she has also worked as an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University, and is a certified Family Wellness Instructor. 

Amy's personal experience with a medical diagnosis at a young age shapes her desire to be a support to other families going through similar difficulties. She knows first hand the difference that a team of supportive and caring individuals can make for the long-term health of both the child and the family when there is a diagnosis that affects vision. Amy is excited to join the team and offer support to families in medical crisis.