2021 LEADERSHIP AWARDS HONOREE
Toni Cardenas, LCSW
Child Protection Coordinator, New York Presbyterian Hospital
Toni Cardenas was born in Cuba and immigrated with her parents and brother as a political refugee at the age of 13. Education and helping others have always been important values as she always saw her parents sharing what little they had in Cuba and always instilling in her “do good and do not look at who”. Toni’s father was the “smartest” man to her because with just a 6th grade education he was well versed in everything. He was an avid reader, something she inherited from him.
After contemplating veterinary school, she got a job as a caseworker with NYC’s Special Services for Children, now the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). That was the beginning of her passion in the Child Welfare field. Toni completed her Master’s In Social Work Degree at Fordham University after applying and earning a full scholarship given to Latina and minority women.
Toni is currently the Child Protection Coordinator at NYP Hospital. She is also the Social Work Supervisor for the Pediatric Emergency Department, the Child Advocacy Center and some of the Specialty Outpatient Clinics. She has been the Child Protection Coordinator for the last 5 years. In this capacity, Toni is directly involved with child abuse cases seen in the Child Advocacy Center, as well as in the in-patient units. Here she supervises two child abuse social workers. She also provides hospital wide training on recognizing and reporting child abuse. She serves as a consultant to the staff for child abuse questions/concerns, serves as a liaison to ACS and is the Chairperson for the hospital’s Child Protection Committee.
Toni is a trained forensic interviewer. She served as a faculty member for the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) Forensic Interview Clinic. Toni also served on the APSCA Board of Directors for two terms.
Toni is presently a member of the National Children’s Advocacy Center Spanish Forensic Interviewing Training Staff. She does the training on Spanish Language and Cultural Issues to a multi-ethnic cadre of forensic interviewers in the country.