Chris Kirchner, MSW

Chris Kirchner, MSW

Executive Director

Chris brings thirty-four years of experience in child welfare to her role as the executive director for the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Pennsylvania.    

For twenty-eight of those years, she led the team at the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, one of our accredited children’s advocacy centers. In her director role there, Chris oversaw collaborative investigations of an average of 160 child sexual abuse cases in Philadelphia per month.    

She also 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 seeking to improve their response in child abuse cases.    

In her role at the state chapter, Chris will continue to work with Children’s Advocacy Centers, providing support to existing and developing programs across Pennsylvania. She has a great passion for the work of child advocacy. She recognizes the value of a coordinated, multidisciplinary response in a child-focused environment that ensures children and families receive the care and resources they need to feel safe and heal after a report of child abuse.  

Chris has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Temple University.

A Conversation with Chris

What led you to this work? 

My focus in college was child welfare. When the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance position was posted, I was intrigued by the opportunity to collaborate with so many different agencies (law enforcement, child protection, medical, mental health) to create a truly integrated response to child victims of abuse. 

It turned out to be incredibly rewarding work! I continued there for 28 years, ultimately leading a staff of 45 and partnering with many team members in a co-located facility we designed and had built.

What do you find the most challenging about your work? 

The fact that there are often not enough resources, including funding, to ensure that every child who needs it has access to the services of a CAC, in a timely manner and with the full array of services. As we work to raise the profile of CACs in PA, I hope we can support our CACs to have all the resources they need to serve the children in their communities.

What is the most rewarding thing about your work with PennCAC? 

I’m honored to have the opportunity to support communities and programs across the state, and to increase public awareness of the great work done by our Children’s Advocacy Centers. I am inspired every day by the commitment of our CAC Directors to the children and families in their communities.

What makes you want to go to work in the morning?

Knowing that we are supporting programs that bring healing and justice to thousands of children in PA each year. It is a terrible thing when a child is abused, but effective intervention at a CAC can help ensure that the abuse does not define the rest of that child’s life. Honestly I’d like for us to find a way to end child abuse in my lifetime.

What’s your favorite quote—one that inspires you to keep doing what you do?

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

Do you have a personal dream?

I’d love to visit the Galapagos Islands!

Meet our team.

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