News from the PA Chapter



  • Abbie Newman, CEO, Mission Kids CAC Attends Human Trafficking Summit at the White House

    Release Date: 01.31.2020

    Abbie Newman was a guest at the Human Trafficking Summit held at the White House on Friday, January 31st. Abbie represented Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center (CAC) and the Pennsylvania Chapter of CACs and MDTs, and advocated for bipartisan support for survivors of child sex trafficking. This year marks 20 years since the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was signed into law, making human trafficking a federal crime.

    During the Human Trafficking Summit Abbie heard speeches from Attorney General William Barr, White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump. Abbie also watched the signing of an Executive Order to combat Human Trafficking.


    Attorney General William Barr                             Ivanka Trump, White House Senior Adviser             Abbie Newman, CEO, Mission Kids CAC


    Vice President Pence, President Trump, Ivanka Trump                              Signing of the Executive Order to Combat Human Trafficking

  • PA Chapter’s Work to Create Best Practice Protocols for Helping Child Victims of Human Trafficking in Pennsylvania Featured in Municipal Police Officers’ Education & Training Commission Newsletter

  • County Child Advocacy Center hosts ribbon-cutting at new location

    Release Date: 12.17.2019

    A ribbon cutting was held Monday afternoon for the new Child Advocacy Center located at 530 Spruce St., Clearfield. The new location is more spacious, allowing additional numbers of Clearfield County’s youngest residents who are victims of a crime to obtain required services within their own county.

    In 2013, Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. recognized the need for a center to assist investigators to identify, investigate and prosecute cases of child abuse. Shaw worked with the Clearfield County Office of Children, Youth and Family Services, law enforcement jurisdictions in Clearfield County, Victim Witness, Passages Inc., Community Action Inc., Crossroads Project, medical providers and CenClear to create multi-disciplinary investigative team to combat child abuse in Clearfield County.

    According to CAC Director Mary Tatum, the Spruce Street location replaces the facility at Hyde that opened in August of 2016. Before the Hyde location was opened, a report of a child who had been abused could mean a child would have to tell the story of the assault up to eight times to law enforcement, children and youth services, medical personnel, the district attorney and in some cases educators.

    “A search for a better way led to the development of child advocacy centers that are able to help everyone be informed about the case’s facts without requiring a child to be repeatedly traumatized by having to repeat the story.

    “Basically we outgrew the space at Hyde. We are seeing more than 200 children a year,” Tatum said.

    The new location provides space for the employment of two full-time staff members, Tatum said. The need for additional room to serve children and the multi-disciplinary investigative team that work with those children meant a larger location was needed, according to information provided.

    The center is a child-friendly, safe and neutral location where law enforcement and child protective services investigators are able to conduct and observe forensic interviews with children who are alleged victims of physical and sexual abuse crimes in a setting that is child-friendly and decorated to help put nervous or frightened children at ease. The team consists of prosecutors, police officers, children and youth officials, victim advocates and mental health providers who are uniquely qualified to assist in the identification, investigation and prosecution of individuals who abuse children.

    The new Spruce Street location has a welcoming waiting room, an interview room, office space and a kitchen. The new space at Spruce Street also has room where pediatric-specific medical exams are conducted by a certified, trained practitioner on sight. Previously, children who need that service had to drive to facilities several hours away in Bradford or Pittsburgh. Tatum said transportation is often a problem for Clearfield County families.

    Over a six-year period from 2011-2017, the number of child abuse cases in Clearfield County has increased from 174 in 2011 to more than 370 in 2017 — a 114 percent increase. During its first full-year of operation, the Child Advocacy Center of Clearfield County served 126 child victims and last year that number grew to 218 victims.

    Tatum said the center follows guidelines developed by the National Children’s Alliance. The center’s staff is required to participate in intensive training, on-going peer reviews and mentorship programs in order to ensure a high-quality, child-sensitive approach is maintained. The center partners with legal entities and other community agencies to help ensure offenders are held accountable. It also offers education and training to promote community awareness and safety.

    For additional information on the Child Advocacy Center of Clearfield County call 768-3155 or email

    Progress article link:


    The Children’s Advocacy Center of McKean County is hiring. Consider joining our team of professionals and making a change in the lives of children.

     Forensic Interviewer

    McKean County is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Forensic Interviewer within the Children’s Advocacy Center.  The FI is an essential member of the Child Advocacy Center, responsible for direct service delivery within the program, as well as training and awareness throughout the community. The full-time position will conduct high quality forensic interviewing to abused children, communicate the results of the interview and act as an effective member of the multidisciplinary team.

    Requirements include:

    • Master’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree with 2 years of experience working with children.
    • A minimum of two years of professional experience working with children and families where abuse and violence are identified issues is required.
    • Previous professional experience working with the criminal justice or child welfare system and as a member of a multi-disciplinary team is preferred.  Previous experience or training in the forensic interviewing of child victims of child abuse is also preferred.
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
    • Excellence in team work and multidisciplinary coordination.
    • Position must successfully complete specialized forensic interview training in accordance with the National Children’s Alliance (NCA).
    • Must submit to a criminal history background check and child abuse clearances, and qualify under regulations.
    • Must be able to attend out of town trainings, possess a valid drivers’ license and proof of insurance.
    • May on occasion be called in for emergency cases evenings and weekends.
    • Will function under the confidentiality of the CACMC according to the standards set forth by the National Children’s Alliance and the CACMC Multi-Disciplinary Team/Interagency Protocol.

    Interested applicants are invited to apply by completing an application and resume.  Salary is commensurate with education and experience.

    A more detailed job description is available upon request.  Please forward resume and application to: Kathy Roche, Human Resources Director, McKean County Courthouse, 500 West Main Street, Smethport, PA 16749 or emailing it to: no later than COB December 13, 2019.  We are an equal opportunity employer, M/F/D/V.

    UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Child Advocacy Center is recruiting for a Forensic Interviewer Lead.


    The Forensic Interviewer, Lead is an essential member of the Child Advocacy Center, who is responsible for program operations including direct service delivery, supervision and orientation and continued professional development of forensic interview and referral staff. Coordinates a multi-disciplinary team approach to child abuse investigation, involving medical personnel, child interviewers, county children and youth agencies, district attorney offices, law enforcement personnel, victim advocates, volunteers, and student interns. Provides consultation and training within the agency and in the community and represents the agency at appropriate forums to achieve the mission and goals of the agency. Collaborates with the Executive Director in agency planning, evaluation, training and program development.

    This position will work Monday – Friday, daylight shift with on-call rotation of nights and weekends.


    • Supervises child advocacy center forensic interview staff and referral caseworkers including program monitoring and evaluation, determines corrective action as appropriate and necessary.
    • Assists Director of Operations in completing performance evaluations of staff on a yearly basis. Coordinates orientation/ training of new forensic interviewers and referral caseworkers. Completes weekly supervision with forensic interview staff and referral caseworkers. Maintain weekly forensic interview assignments and monthly on call schedule (as needed).
    • Approves all time off, payroll and other expenses for forensic interview staff. Reviews, tracks and process forensic interview reports for all staff (which includes data tracking and reporting for quality measures). Facilitates regular meetings with forensic interview staff. Participates in all division meetings as assigned.
    • Completes quarterly Peer Review of all forensic interview staff. Ensures all forensic Interview staff are compliant with peer review and training as outlined by the National Childrens Alliance Accreditation Standards.
    • Provides overflow coverage for child forensic interview processes and continue to conduct forensic interviews for highly specialized or complicated cases.
    • May be required to provide court testimony. May be responsible for overseeing graduate level social work interns, which consists of development of training schedules, orientations, and intensive supervision and instruction. Performs other duties as assigned.
    • Demonstrates the highest degree of customer awareness by seeking out opportunities to identify and meet the needs of internal and external customers. Treats each person as an individual with respect and dignity. Receptive to questions and criticism, and willing to offer assistance. Demonstrates genuine concern and empathy. Consistently performs all of the above in a friendly, courteous manner. Maintains accountability for patient and family satisfaction throughout the episode of care. Includes physicians as customers.


    • Master’s degree in Social Work, Public Administration or related field.
    • Five (5) years of experience in services for children and families and non-profit management.
    • Five (5) years of Forensic Interviewing Experience, working knowledge, experience, and expertise in Childrens Advocacy Centers and dynamics of all forms of child abuse.
    • Possess personnel management skills.
    • Ability to provide training on the concept, development and management of Childrens Advocacy Centers and a collaborative community response to child abuse.
    • Possess good organizational and writing skills.
    • Successfully completed Forensic Interviewing Training through a NCA approved Organization.
    • Two (2) years of management/supervision experience preferred.

    To apply for the position please visit and use Job Code Forensic Interviewer, Lead (00525160)

  • Abbie Newman and Leslie Slingsby, Write Opinion Article for the Inquirer
    “Institutions face risk for child sexual abuse. Here’s how they can prevent it.”

    Release Date: 09.18.2019

    More and more, the public has begun to understand what we here at Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center already know too well: Institutional child sexual abuse is a prevalent problem in our local communities as well as around the country. Whether the Boy Scouts of America or the Catholic Church, no organization interacting with children is immune to this issue. The institutional sexual abuse of children is never a one-off or single occurrence, but rather a pervasive symptom of the ingrained power dynamics and relationship structures upon which organizations are built.

    When it comes to institutions, a number of factors allow child sexual abuse to repeatedly take place and stay hidden. For institutions with distinguished histories or devoted followings, it can become all too easy to prioritize upholding that long-cultivated public perception at the cost of a child’s well-being. Especially for those that rely on donations, protecting the group’s overall reputation can become more important than ensuring the safety of the children they serve.

    According to Forbes, the Boy Scouts of America received nearly $300 million in private donations in 2015, accounting for more than one third of the group’s total revenue. Creating and sustaining a positive image is integral to the organization’s well-being — yet sometimes comes at the expense of its members.

    The leadership structures of institutions can also enable child sexual abuse. Although it makes sense that adults assume authority and control in these settings, this can endow blind trust in leaders while discrediting children. When presented with accounts from an institutional leader in contrast with those of a child, organizations are likely to side with the superior.

    These ingrained power dynamics sometimes silence victims. From the beginning, children are told who their leaders are and are made to understand their status on the organizational totem pole. As a result, they may feel weak or disempowered, especially when they are abused or betrayed by those that they have been told to trust or look up to. In fact, as many as 93% of sexual abuse victims under the age of 18 know their abuser, according to Child Rescue Network.

    Institutional child sexual abuse is a complicated issue without a single solution. Although recent allegations against the Boy Scouts of America — and resulting wave of potential lawsuits — likely won’t be the last, there are a growing number of initiatives to address this problem.

    For example, new legislation expanding the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases is empowering victims to speak up and seek justice. But statutes of limitations vary between states. Victims in Pennsylvania have until 50 years of age to file a criminal action for sex abuse they experienced as children, and age 30 for civil suits, with calls to extend both and grant a one- to two-year window for those whose actions have currently expired.

    Beyond structural change such as new laws, we must hold ourselves accountable as individuals to protect children on an everyday basis. Adults have the power to spot warning signs and listen to victims asking for help. That’s why at Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center we offer free “Darkness to Light” training to teach adults how to recognize, prevent, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Also known as “D2L,” it is a nationally distributed, evidence-informed program shown to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child protective behaviors. Research suggests just a third of child sexual abuse cases are identified, and even fewer are reported. When adults are trained and educated, they can better protect children and bring abuse to light.

    The institutional sexual abuse of children has been an issue for years and unfortunately will continue to be. Recognizing the prevalence and legitimacy of this problem is the first step toward effective solutions, like legislative initiatives and on-the-ground training programs. In the face of this ingrained issue, we must continue to prioritize prevention and empower victims to seek justice and healing.

    Abbie Newman is the CEO of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center, an organization dedicated to achieving healing and justice for victims of child abuse. Leslie Slingsby serves as the organization’s executive director.

    Click the hyperlink to read the article.