Kimberley Ann Kardelis, Esq.

Program Manager

Kim has devoted her career to helping children and families.

She brings to the position of Program Manager extensive trial experience in both criminal and civil courts with over 20 years as a child abuse prosecutor, guardian ad litem, educator, educational advocate, and trainer.  

Kim started her work in child abuse in the early 1990s with the Cumberland County, PA District Attorney’s Office, where she served as the Special Victims Prosecutor. She co-founded the county’s first child abuse investigative and prosecutorial coalition, and also chaired the Cumberland County Victim/Witness Program. Kim created professional development materials and offered trainings for educators, law enforcement, prosecutors, Children and Youth personnel, medical and social services personnel, guardians ad litem, and CASA volunteers around the subject matter of child abuse and child welfare.  

After serving in education for more than ten years, Kim returned to her Cumberland County roots in 2018, leading the county’s multidisciplinary team and working to revise the county’s Team Protocol to create opportunities for better collaboration across government agencies, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and law enforcement partners responsible for investigating child abuse allegations. She also served on the STOP grant committee and was a board member and governance committee member for the UPMC Children’s Resource Center.

Kim holds a B.S. in political science from the University of Scranton, an MPA from Shippensburg University, and a JD from the Dickinson School of Law, Pennsylvania State University.

A Conversation with Kim

What led you to this work? 

I became involved with the movement when CACs were just starting up in Pennsylvania. This was before we had forensic interviewers or child-friendly facilities. I remember one particularly challenging case involving a 3-year-old girl who wouldn’t talk. We were in the conference room of the police department, and she crawled under the table. I got down on the floor under the table and talked with her. She trusted me enough to disclose to me the abuse she had suffered. 

What do you find the most challenging about your work? 

What kept me going at the beginning were the cards I often received from victims and families: “thank you for giving me my life back” or “thank you for helping me hold him accountable.”  

One of the biggest challenges is still breaking through the stereotype that a child is lying or “making it up” because an adult doesn’t think they are telling the truth.  

What is the most rewarding thing about your work? 

If you investigate child abuse in the right way—as a team—you can actually help that child heal and be able to move on. If the team comes together, the child can be made whole.  

What’s a current goal? 

Having an appreciation for another team member’s role is more important than just doing your own job on a case. I would love to lead a training where we have a mock case and have everyone switch roles to see what it’s like to be in your team member’s shoes! 

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

“Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong but in finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong.” – Theodore Roosevelt 

Anything else that makes you, you? 

I’ve always had a heart for animals; like children, they are vulnerable and need someone to love them and protect them. My own two dogs are 15 now! 

Do you have a personal dream?

Someday I want to own a Percheron Paint Mix and volunteer with a horse rescue. I would love to travel to festivals with my own line of homemade, organic soaps, candles, lotions and jewelry.

What keeps you going?

My faith keeps me going. I know they say to take life “one day at a time.” My motto? Take it one minute at a time because you are never promised tomorrow!

Meet our team.

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