Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina staff members gather for photo at the 2022 Fall Staff RetreatPosted: January 9, 2023
By Sharon Hirsch, Prevent Child Abuse NC President & CEO   

At Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina (PCANC), we work to prevent the long-term effects of child maltreatment from ever occurring – because child abuse and neglect is 100% preventable and solvable! We do this by ensuring all communities have the knowledge, support and resources to prevent child abuse and neglect through trainings, advocacy efforts, implementation support and public awareness. Read this blog for some updates and changes to our dedicated statewide team of prevention experts. 

2022 was a year of big change for PCANC with a staff reorganization to support our strategic plan. It means bringing on new staff and promoting veteran staff into new roles. We want to make sure you know who is on our team and the roles they play. In addition to new team members, sadly, our Policy Director, Melea Rose-Waters, left us in December to become the National Policy Director at Family Connections International. We are sure many of you, like us, will continue to work with her in her new role!  

Since late Spring of 2021, PCANC has reorganized and hired 16 new staff, while promoting eight (8) members into expanded roles. One of the results is that our staff is more ethnically and geographically diverse. Today we have a staff of 25 that includes: 

  • Seven women of color (including 1/3 of the Executive Team). 
  • Two men of color (with the addition of Rafi Ahmaud as a contractor on the F&A Team). 
  • Staff living in Wilmington, Fayetteville, Johnson County, Wake County (many different municipalities), Durham, Greensboro, Boone, and the Charlotte metro area. We literally have staff living from the mountains to the coast. 
  • One challenge is that we lost a man who is Latino and Spanish was his native language. We will be recruiting when we replace staff with that in mind, as our Capacity Building Team supports agencies that include staff that are primarily Spanish speakers. While we do have bilingual staff, we are challenged capacity-wise. 

As the team has grown, we promoted Christy Bradsher to Vice President for Finance and Administration. Christy is responsible for all internal financial management and revenue generation (including Development), Human Resources, technology, and administrative supports. Christy leads our strategic goal to build a sustainable, high-functioning infrastructure to support operations and innovation. Crystal Kelly joined our team this summer as Vice President for Programs and Policy, responsible for strategic leadership for our policy, communications and marketing, capacity building, and evaluation teams. Crystal leads on two strategic goals: 1) build supports for policies, investments, and strategies that foster Protective Factors statewide, and 2) build local capacity to implement and sustain Protective Factors in their communities. 

Within the F&A Team, we have incorporated the Development Team, led by Zoë Playe, and our Donor Database Manager and Grants Coordinator Stacey Kaiser. Our HR team is led by HR Manager Melanie Christmas with support from Carma Hooper, Executive Assistant/HR Coordinator. Our financial team includes Melinda Neal, HR Administrative Assistant and Rafi Ahmaud, currently working under contract. 

Within Programs and Policy, we also reorganized to support our external goals.  

The Capacity Building Team, led by Ashley Alvord, brings together staff who are responsible for providing implementation support for evidence-based programs, building knowledge and skills of Prevention Action Network (PAN) and other network members, and supporting community-based prevention planning. Most of this team is still intact with the addition of Kelley Kilgore as Meeting and Event Planner and the promotion of Andrea Clark to lead the development of a new Family Resource Center Network and Taylor McDonald to Senior Partnership Engagement Manager. This team is coming together to create a common vision and plan for building knowledge, skills and resources for the professionals we support statewide. 

To build support for policies, investments, and strategies, we created a new Communications and Marketing Team and promoted Kris Demers to Director. Kris’ team includes Elizabeth Fowler, Communications Associate (lead on policy communications); Ashley Cooper, Communications Associate (lead on capacity building related communications); and LouMecia Staton, Community Relations Manager (lead on community engagement, the Connections Matter Campaign and co-lead on Development communications with Kris). This team is responsible for raising awareness about what works to build strong families and about PCANC as an organization. 

Erin Meehan has been promoted to lead our Evaluation Team and she recently brought Sarah Davis on board as an Evaluation Associate. This team supports both external evaluation contracts for Incredible Years, Strengthening Families and Circle of Parents and helps our team internally measure the impact of their work. 

Our Policy Team, focused on supporting policies and programs that build Protective Factors, is in transition. We had some big policy wins this year, with reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) (and a first-ever funding increase!) and passage of the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act at the federal level with the omnibus reconciliation agreement in late December. Nina Tracy, Policy Analyst, is on parental leave, returning later this winter. As we determine next steps, we anticipate building support for family support and child safety programs and policies at the local and state levels. 

We are excited about the diversity, skills, experience, and strength on our “bench” and look forward to working with all of you to nurture positive childhoods into 2023! 

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