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Chris Kirchner, Executive Director
chriskirchner@penncac.org / (814) 969-6993

Chris Kirchner, MSW, is proud to be the Executive Director of the PA Chapter of Children’s Advocacy Centers and Multi-Disciplinary Teams. Chris has worked in the field of child welfare for the past thirty-four years. For twenty-eight of those years she was the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance. In her leadership role at the Children’s Alliance, an accredited children’s advocacy center, Chris oversaw collaborative investigations of child sexual abuse cases in Philadelphia, an average of 160 cases per month. Located in North Philadelphia, the Children’s Alliance offers a child friendly facility where child welfare and law enforcement professionals collaborate with the specialized forensic interviewers and victim advocates on the staff of the Children’s Alliance, to ensure that abused children receive a coordinated and compassionate response. Medical evaluations and therapeutic services are also offered on site. As part of her work at PCA, Chris led a federal project, funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, to provide training and technical assistance to communities in the northeastern United States that seek to improve their response in child abuse cases. In her new role at the PA Chapter Chris will continue to work with Children’s Advocacy Centers, providing support to existing and developing programs across the State of PA.

 

Terri Hess, Finance and Human Resource Manager
terrihess@penncac.org / (814) 737-9137

Terri is the Finance and Human Resource Manager with PA Chapter of CACs & MDTs. Terri is responsible for the day-to-day accounting function as well as cash management, grant budget management, Chapter budget management, Human Resources, and the Chapter Membership Database. She also works closely with the Chapter’s Information technology vendor to create and implement technology improvements. She is responsible for the analysis of data both internal and external used to strengthen the PA Chapter. Terri attended Gannon University where she majored in Accounting. She has worked in manufacturing as a cost accountant and supervisor, and in the banking and non-profit industries. Terri spent the majority of her career as an Accountant for PNC Bank both in Erie, PA and Pittsburgh, PA and most recently at Cathedral Prep and Villa Maria Academy where she was an Accountant and also managed Prep and Villa’s alumni databases.

 

Kimberley Kardelis, Program Manager
kimberleykardelis@penncac.org / (814) 490-3692

Kimberley Ann Kardelis is the Program Manager for the PA Chapter for CACs & MDTs. She has devoted her career to helping children and families. She brings to the position extensive trial experience in both criminal and civil courts. Kim has prosecuted almost one hundred criminal jury trials and even more bench trials. She prosecuted a wide variety of felony cases, including child abuse, sexual assaults, child homicide, aggravated assault and elder abuse. Most recently, Kim worked at the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office as the Special Victims Prosecutor. Kim served as the lead prosecutor for many sexual assault and all child abuse cases. She led the county’s multidisciplinary team coordinating multi-agency investigations and trainings. Kim revised the county’s Team Protocol to create opportunities for better collaboration across government agencies and law enforcement within the county. Kim served on the STOP grant committee and as a board member and governance committee member for the UPMC Children’s Resource Center.

For over 20 years Kim has served as a child abuse prosecutor, guardian ad litem, educator, educational advocate, and trainer. She co-founded the original county-wide child abuse investigative and prosecutorial coalition in Cumberland County when multidisciplinary teams were being discussed as a new approach to child abuse investigations and prosecutions. Kim chaired the Cumberland County, PA Victim/Witness Program. She also served as an attorney for the Florida Department of Children and Youth and a prosecutor with the Atlantic County, NJ Prosecutor’s Office where she prosecuted Megan’s Law offenders.

Kim spent ten years as an educator in the classroom and as an administrator in a school setting. She developed her skills as an educator and trainer by creating professional development materials and trainings for educators, law enforcement, prosecutors, Children and Youth personnel, medical and social services personnel as well as guardians ad litem and CASA volunteers. Kim holds a B.S. in political science from the University of Scranton, an MPA from Shippensburg University, and a J.D. from the Dickinson School of Law, Pennsylvania State University.

 

Rebecca Buckham, Communications Manager
rebeccabuckham@penncac.org / (814) 431-8151

Rebecca Buckham is the Communications Manager for the PA Chapter for CACs & MDTs. She is responsible for leading marketing and communications initiatives for the Chapter, supporting state-wide outreach efforts, and providing platforms that will help raise awareness about the important work of children’s advocacy centers and multidisciplinary teams. Having volunteered as a pet therapy team with her dog Polly at the Adams County CAC, Rebecca has some familiarity with the day-to-day efforts of CACs and MDTs to serve child victims of abuse, and is committed to supporting this important work in her role with the Chapter. Rebecca brings a diverse professional background from over 10 years in higher education, community advocacy, and project management for a variety of non-profit organizations. She has taught in the Johns Hopkins Program in Expository Writing, as well as in the First-Year Seminar and General Education programs at Messiah College. Outside of the classroom, Rebecca has provided writing, editing, and creative design for local campaigns and grassroots efforts in the Harrisburg area. Most recently, she worked as the Development Coordinator for Paxton Ministries, where she led key communications and fundraising initiatives to benefit adults challenged by poverty, intellectual disability, and mental illness. Rebecca earned her M.A in English from Villanova University and her B.A. from Messiah College.