Lisa Poris first became interested in working with victims of domestic violence while she was in high school, when she spent a summer running art classes for children staying at a shelter. Through informal comments from the children and conversations with their mothers, Ms. Poris started to learn about the challenges facing the families.
Ms. Poris majored in American Studies at the University of Michigan and obtained her law degree from New York University. She was among the first graduates of the Muehlstein Institute, a management and leadership training program developed by UJA-Federation of New York and the NYU Wagner School of Public Service, where she received a certificate in non-profit leadership.
Ms. Poris continued her commitment to assisting survivors during her college years by volunteering in the child care center of a domestic violence shelter. In law school, she interned at The Door: A Center for Alternatives, assisting young people with a myriad of legal issues, including immigration and teen dating violence.
When Ms. Poris graduated law school, she became an Equal Justice Fellow in the Family Law Unit at the New York Legal Assistance Group, where she represented survivors of domestic violence in various legal proceedings including orders of protection, custody and divorce cases. While at NYLAG, Ms. Poris also coordinated a project focused on the rights of kinship caregivers who were caring for their relative children in and out of the foster care system. She then served as the Women’s Issues Policy Analyst for the Public Advocate of New York City where she focused on the services, and gaps in services, available to survivors of domestic violence throughout the city.
Ms. Poris went on to become Legal Director of LIFT, an organization devoted to increasing access to justice for children and families navigating the Family Court system without legal representation. As Legal Director, she oversaw court-based information sites, a legal information hotline, and the development of multi-lingual informational materials. Additionally, Ms. Poris led community education legal workshops and served on several citywide committees.
Most recently, Ms. Poris served as the Senior Training Coordinator and Advocate Supervisor at CASA of Union County, where she trained community volunteers on all aspects of the child welfare system, including the systemic challenges that led to the families’ involvement with DCP&P including poverty, mental health, substance abuse, racial disproportionality and domestic violence. Ms. Poris also supervised her own team of over 30 volunteer advocates who worked directly with children and families in the system.
Currently, Ms. Poris serves as the Director of the Union County Family Justice Center, leading a multidisciplinary team of professionals whose primary goal is to provide victims of domestic violence and their children with greater support and access to resources. The FJC makes the process of reporting and seeking services easier and less intimidating by co-locating essential services and by removing barriers that are inherent in the current decentralized, silo system.
The Union County FJC opened its doors to the community in September of 2017 and is one of five Family Justice Centers in the state of New Jersey.