Melissa Rivera-Serna

Ruth Segura

Ruth Segura

Ruth Segura

Ruth Segura, our Ninth Annual June Handler Awardee, arrived in NJ with her father at the age of 17. Bringing her from her home in Peru, this big adventure meant leaving behind those she was attached to, including her extended family and all the familiar things she loves. Remembering her own longing for home, Ruth built her career around caring for young children whose own worlds have changed through immigration.

Ruth is this year’s recipient of the Coalition of Infant/Toddler Educators (CITE) Ninth Annual June Handler Award, in honor of the organization’s co-founder, June Moss Handler. She is one of the 172 Credential earners statewide.

This $1,000 award acknowledges Ruth’s dedication to educating infants and toddlers in care outside their homes by relying on the practices of infant mental health promoted in the New Jersey Infant/Toddler Credential.

Building trust is the key work of infants and toddlers for them to build healthy relationship and become successful learners.  The New Jersey Infant/Toddler Credential was created with statewide collaboration to offer the specific professional development for infant and toddler caregivers, especially those who have earned their CDA.  Acquiring this credential requires participation in two college credit bearing courses which are currently offered remotely. Funding for this coursework is available for those who qualify. To learn more, contact

Elect Our State-wide Board 2021

CITE Members will be voting on May 1st at the start of our annual conference to elect our statewide Board, here is the list of candidates and we welcome nominations for all positions from our members. To nominate someone, including yourself, please contact Jennifer Santana at

President: Cynthia Soete
President Elect: Melissa A. Rivera-Serna
First Vice President: Angie DeFazio
Second Vice President: Cathie Chmielewski
Secretary: Casey Orlando
Treasurer: Daisy Linares
Members-at-Large:  Karen Humphris, Michele Gregorio,  Alicia Jenks, Kathy Simone, and Michelle Burress

Members-at-large continuing their terms on the Board will be Nicole Garibaldi-DeNude, Beverly Lee, Lorri Sullivan, and Jennifer Metzger.

CITE’s Parent & Caregiver Engagement Cards

We are sharing “Building Brains in the First 36 Months of Life” below in English and Spanish, and hope these will help infants build attachments with those caring for them; offering ways to learn about your infant or toddler’s development during everyday routines.

The full version of these standards is available here in both English and Spanish.

CITE Parent Engagement Cards – English

These Parent and Caregiver Engagement Cards are based on New Jersey’s Birth to Three Early Learning Standards. They were developed by CITE in collaboration with the New Jersey Council for Young Children, the New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, MSU Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health, and the SPAN Parent Advocacy Network. They provide strategies for parents to use every day with their infants and toddlers to help support their healthy development in all the ways they learn: social and emotional, language, cognitive and physical health and well-being. These cards are also designed to help you discover your child’s own approaches to learning and appreciate each of their temperament traits as strengths. 


CITE Parent Engagement Cards – Spanish

Estas tarjetas se basan en las Normas de Aprendizaje Temprano de Nacimiento a Tres Años de Nueva Jersey para el uso de los padres. Fueron desarrollados por CITE en colaboración con New Jersey Council for Young Children, New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health, MSU Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health, y SPAN Parent Advocacy Network. Proporcionan estrategias para que los padres las usen todos los días con sus bebés y niños pequeños para ayudar a apoyar su desarrollo saludable de todas las maneras en que aprenden: social y emocional, lenguaje, salud cognitiva y física y bienestar.  Estas tarjetas también están diseñadas para ayudarle a descubrir los propios enfoques de su hijo para aprender y apreciar cada uno de sus rasgos de temperamento como fortalezas.

Example of Parent & Caregiver Engagement Cards

Long time CITE member, Mary Lou Allen, initiated these ‘Building Brains from Birth to 36 Months of Life’  parent & caregiver engagement cards!
Learn more »

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What's New at CITE
In Memoriam – June Moss Handler
CITE founder, June Moss Handler, 94, died on November 6, 2017 at her home in Hackensack, NJ. (read more...)