About Us

At Prevent Child Abuse America, we lay the groundwork to deliver the great childhoods that all children deserve. We are a 501(c)(3) dedicated to promoting services that improve child well-being in all 50 states and developing programs that help to prevent all types of abuse and neglect.

Our mission and vision

Our mission is to prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children.

We recognize that every day we each have the opportunity to help create the kind of nation we want to live in. We also recognize that when all children don’t have equal opportunity for healthy growth and development, we put our future as a society at risk.

Because of the work being accomplished via the Prevent Child Abuse America chapter network, we know that there are many effective child development efforts being implemented around the country. There are services to focus on shaken baby syndrome prevention, sexual safety and child sexual abuse prevention, peer abuse and bullying prevention, and many more.

And because of the success of our signature home visiting program Healthy Families America, evidence based home-visiting strategies that are proven to improve child well-being are able to reach nearly 100,000 families every year.

We also know that we can do better, because a focus on innovative and needed services lays the foundation for children’s growth and development that reduces the later possibility of more serious problems from occurring. Our vision is a nation in which no child is ever abused or neglected, and believe that with the help from the public, policy-makers, and corporate partners, that this idea can be made a reality.

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Our Team

    Our Staff

    Melissa T. Merrick, PhD
    President & CEO
    Alina Birenyte
    Senior Staff Accountant
    Kelly Christopher
    Chief Development Officer
    Kelly Crane
    State Policy Specialist
    Kathryn Harding
    Senior Director of Research
    Bart Klika
    Chief Research & Strategy Officer
    Marissa Morabito
    Chief Government Affairs & Policy Officer
    Catherine Murphy
    Research & Data Specialist
    Charles Mutscheller
    Chief Communications Officer
    Anita Odom
    Chief Operations Officer for Chapters
    Olivia Padilla
    Marketing & Communications Associate
    Sue Pence
    Finance Consultant
    Rob Reid
    Data Warehouse Manager
    David Simon
    Federal & State Policy Deputy
    Kathleen Strader
    Chief Program Officer, Prevent Child Abuse America & National Director, Healthy Families America
    Miguel Tovar
    Chief Financial Officer

    Board of Directors

    Matt Walch
    Board Chair
    Bob Mayo
    Co-Vice Chair
    Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD
    Co-Vice Chair
    Victoria Dudley
    Mariano Sori, CPA, JD
    Andrea Robertson
    Immediate Past Chair
    Melissa T. Merrick, PhD
    President & CEO
    Tami Ackerman
    Alison Jakes Argersinger
    Michael Axelrod
    Sanford Bohrer
    William Boltz, PhD
    Linda Bonelli
    Molly Campbell
    Thomas Carhart
    Dwayne Crawford
    Maura Somers Dughi
    Lifetime Member
    SuEllen Fried
    Lifetime Member
    Angelo P. Giardino, MD, PhD
    Harold Hong, MD
    Susan Kelley, RN, PhD, FAAN
    Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP
    James A. Mercy, PhD
    CDC Board Liaison
    Jodi Scheurenbrand
    Philip Scribano, DO, MSCE
    Robert Sege, MD, PhD
    Bernardo Wolfson

    Our history

    • 1972 Founded in Chicago by Donna J. Stone as the Family Achievement Center and a year later convened the first ever national conference on child abuse prevention.
    • 1974 The organization’s name was changed to the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
    • 1976 The first state chapter is formed in Kansas, and later that year the first nationwide public service campaign is launched in partnership with the Ad Council.
    • 1984 Partnered with Marvel Comics to release a Spider-Man comic book focused on sexual abuse, the first in a series of comics to help educate child about child abuse and neglect.
    • 1986 Established the National Center on Child Abuse Prevention and published the first 50 State Survey of child abuse and neglect the following year.
    • 1992 Healthy Families America is launched as a family support program.
    • 1999 The organization’s name is changed to Prevent Child Abuse America, and in partnership with the National Family Support Roundtable the organization received federal funding to support the growth of a national network of parent self-help and mutual support programs which evolved into the Circle of Parents program
    • 2005 Received the first of two two-year BECAUSE Kids Count! grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which were focused on the state of prevention across the country and how best to enhance the presence and impact of evidence-based programming.
    • 2008 The Pinwheels for Prevention campaign is launched nationwide, introducing the pinwheel as the new symbol of child abuse prevention.
    • 2011 In February 2011, the United States Department of Health and Human Services named HFA as a proven home visiting model after a thorough and transparent review of the home visiting research literature. That same year we served as one of the founding members the National Movement for America’s Children, which has since evolved into Connect the Dots.

    Contact details


    Prevent Child Abuse America
    228 South Wabash Avenue
    10th Floor
    Chicago, IL 60604







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