Our Team


Chris photoChris Kirchner, MSW, has worked in the field of child welfare for the past thirty-two years. For twenty-five of those years she has been the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance. In her leadership role at the Children’s Alliance, an accredited children’s advocacy center, Chris oversees collaborative investigations of child sexual abuse cases in Philadelphia. In 2013 Chris led an initiative to move all partner agencies that collaborate with the Children’s Alliance into one location, a new 40,000 SF facility in North Philadelphia. Co-located in the new facility is the entire Special Victims Unit of the Police Department, sexual abuse units of the Department of Human Services, prosecutors, mental health and medical professionals, as well as the staff of the Children’s Alliance. This co-located facility and the program of the Children’s Alliance ensure that Philadelphia’s children receive a coordinated and compassionate response when abuse is alleged. Forensic interviews, victim support services, therapy, and medical evaluations are provided in a child-friendly and safe facility, where all professionals involved in the case are working together. Chris has provided leadership and training to communities throughout the northeastern United States, to help them develop their own children’s advocacy centers. Chris’s outreach and advocacy on behalf of sexually abused children has had a significant positive impact on the way that we respond to allegations of child abuse in Philadelphia and across the country. Chris@philachildrensalliance.org


Teresa photoTeresa Smith, LSW, PhD is the Project Director for the Northeast Regional CAC. Teresa joined the NRCAC staff in June 2011 after more than twenty-five years of employment with Pinnacle Health Systems in Harrisburg, PA. Teresa was a Co-founder and Director of the Children’s Resource Center at Pinnacle Health Systems, an accredited CAC, and has served as President and Executive Board Member of the PA Chapter of CACs and MDTs, an accredited Chapter of the National Children’s Alliance. Teresa’s Doctoral Dissertation involved research on multidisciplinary child abuse team leaders and case reviews. Teresa@nrcac.org


Sue Ascione, MS, is a Training Specialist with the Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center. Sue provides training and technical assistance to developing and established CACs and MDTs in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Vermont. Prior to her joining NRCAC, she was the Executive Director of the CAC in Lawrence County, PA for 15 years and served in several capacities (child/adult therapist, supervisor and assistant director) at the Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County for 13 years. As a member of the PA Chapter of CACs and MDTs, Sue helped develop and implement the Continuous Practice Improvement Program (CPIP) in Pennsylvania and mentored several CPIP teams. She also helped develop and implement the TECH Smart program designed to help parents keep their children safe in the digital world. Sue has trained on many topics, including the Role of MDT coordinator, Steps to Building a CAC, minimal facts interviewing and the effects of domestic violence and sexual abuse on children. Sue@nrcac.org

Michele photoMichele Mullen, LCSW, is a Training Specialist with the Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center. Michele provides training and technical assistance to developing and established CACs and MDTs in Maine, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Michele joined NRCAC in September 2014 after 17 years with the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office/children’s advocacy center in Massachusetts. Michele began as a Victim Advocate before moving to the CAC Director role and was dedicated to the development of a fully accredited child advocacy center in 2010. Prior to working at the DA’s Office, she worked with domestic violence survivors. Since joining NRCAC, Michele has coordinated a regional conference “CSEC and CACs”, to assist CACs in the region to expand programming and resources to serve commercially sexually exploited children. Michele also conducts regional training on Victim Advocacy, Vicarious Trauma, and Multidisciplinary team development. Michele@nrcac.org


Shannon photoShannon Spillman is a Philadelphia suburb native, ultimately landing in the City of Brotherly Love. After graduating from Temple University with a B.A. in Communications, she set sail on an eclectic professional pursuit to make a difference in the world. With a passion for organization, process management and utilizing technology to streamline – not surprisingly – much of Shannon’s professional background consists of fast-paced administrative positions. Gaining experience from both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, Shannon has always been drawn to fields that exist to make a difference. She joined the team at NRCAC in early 2016 after serving as the office manager of a busy music school in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Shannon is thrilled to have been welcomed into the CAC movement and to be working with so many dedicated and hardworking individuals. When Shannon isn’t saving the world one online-form at a time, she can be found singing with her chorus, taking photos (or showing them off) of her adorable dog, cats and/or nieces and nephews, or daydreaming about her next scuba diving destination. Shannon@nrcac.org




“Enhancing outcomes in CACs and State Chapters through the implementation of collaborative projects and initiatives.”

– Training staff of four regional CAC’s