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Meet the Commission Staff

Wendelyn (Wende) Julien was selected by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in January of 2021 to lead the newly formed Los Angeles County Probation Oversight Commission as its first Executive Director. In this role, Wende oversees a nine-person citizen commission and a team of staff that will guide and enforce much needed reform and culture change in the nation’s largest probation department including closing all of the County’s juvenile halls and camps within the next five years.

Prior to joining the County, Wende served as the CEO of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Los Angeles for nearly five years, during which time the number of children served with CASA one-on-one advocacy increased from 800 to 1,400 and she launched significant initiatives to stabilize CASA/LA’s finances, move CASA/LA towards becoming an actively anti-racist organization, and serve youth in the juvenile justice system with CASA advocacy services. Prior to CASA/LA, Wende served as the Executive Director of the California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ, formerly NCCJ), where she worked in many roles including as a youth development specialist and facilitator of programs for thousands of youth, teachers, police officers and community members in human relations, elimination of bias, conflict resolution, and restorative justice.

Wende is an attorney who worked at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and as a law clerk with Public Counsel. She holds a J.D. from USC, an M.P.A. from Arizona State University and a B.A./B.S. from University of Arizona. Wende began her career as a community organizer and remains dedicated to the belief that communities know what they need and that community safety and progress come through healing, restorative practices, equity, and access to resources. Fluent in Spanish, Wende is a certified mediator, a CASA volunteer, and her proudest title is that of mom/adopted mom/foster mom/auntie/mentor to a crew of incredible children, teens and adults.

wjulien@poc.lacounty.gov

Erica Reynoso has proudly served children, families and communities in Los Angeles for over 25 years. She earned an MSW degree from the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California (USC) and a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology at the Center for Forensic Studies in Fresno, California. She is a dually licensed professional who holds licenses as a clinical social worker and a clinical psychologist.

Erica began her career as an in-home counselor, supporting families within Family Preservation, a program with the Department of Children and Families Services (DCFS). To follow, Erica served youth and families within the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH), Juvenile Justice setting. As a therapist, she provided direct mental health services throughout the juvenile halls and camps for more than 10 years. Later, Erica led efforts within the Department’s Transition Age Youth (TAY) Bureau, focusing on program development and implementation; integrated treatment; substance abuse; evidence-based therapies; trauma-informed care and outcomes, related to Juvenile Justice service provision.

Beginning in 2008, Erica led anti-human trafficking efforts in LA County as the DMH rep. She led the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth (CSECY) Program which focused on implementation of mental health programs, protocols, and services for sexually exploited youth. Through partnerships with various County Departments, Board Offices, community agencies, faith-based partners and the survivor community, countywide services and programs were established.

Prior to joining the Probation Oversight Commission (POC) team in 2021, Erica served as a Supervising Psychologist at Campus Kilpatrick, a residential camp focused on using trauma-informed; skill-building and therapeutic approaches in working with Probation youth. Alongside County service, Erica provides clinical supervision and mentorship to graduate students at a non-profit organization. She also provides organizational support in wellness and resilience for their staff – both areas for which she is very passionate about.

ereynoso@poc.lacounty.gov

Jennifer Ochoa-Garcia is the Management Analyst for the Probation Oversight Commission. Jennifer is a dedicated mother and passionate public servant. Jennifer has been working as a public servant in Los Angeles County for the past ten years. Mrs. Ochoa-Garcia was a Social Worker at Adult Protective Services (APS), and an Eligibility Worker at the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS).

Jennifer is fluent in Spanish, English, and Portuguese as she was an English teacher while studying abroad in Brazil. Jennifer earned her B.A in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara, and her M.A in Public Administration from Cal State Northridge. Jennifer was born and raised in South Los Angeles where she attended Manual Arts High School and is unwavering in her journey to advocate for the community.

jochoa-garcia@poc.lacounty.gov

Sarah Gongora is a licensed clinical psychologist who joined the Probation Oversight Commission in the role of Project Director in December 2021.

Prior to joining the POC, Sarah was a Supervising Psychologist at the Child Welfare Division of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH). In order to implement system wide improvements in the delivery of services called for by the Katie A. Settlement Agreement, Sarah worked in a close partnership with the Department of Children and Family Services, contracted mental health providers, community stakeholders, and with consumers of all ages. Seeing practice behaviors shift toward a more client-centered approach with needs driven interventions has highlighted that real change in the system is possible to help youth and families reach their goals.

Aside from a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, Sarah is a lifelong Los Angeles inhabitant who believes in the power of the people to know the needs of their communities and to construct the future they would like to see.

sgongora@poc.lacounty.gov

Janae Perkins is the liaison who has been providing secretarial, technical, and administrative support to the Los Angeles Probation Oversight Commission since March 2021.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science from California State University, Fullerton, and later took various courses in leadership, paralegal studies, and public administration to diversify her educational and professional backgrounds. Janae has a zest for learning and takes pride in sharing her expertise with others to achieve optimal goals.

Prior to joining the Los Angeles Probation Oversight Commission, Janae served in various administrative capacities at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Janae is a committed public administrator dedicated to rendering assistance and sharing advice as needed.

jperkins@poc.lacounty.gov