We are proud of our team at the Child Abuse Council. We have highly trained, compassionate professionals, dedicated to ensuring safe childhoods. Check out the staff who have been honored with the quarterly and annual Sue Swisher Award!
Mark Mathews, M.S. Ed., is the leader of the Child Abuse Council. Serving as the Executive Director since 2014, he says the best part of his job is knowing that we are making a difference. In addition to his sharp leadership skills and desire to change the world by ending child abuse and neglect, Mark is well known for his world class sports analogies. His favorite quote is “'They call it ‘work’ because it’s work. If it was fun, they would call it ‘fun’.” Don’t let him fool you though, he isn’t all work and no play. When Mark isn’t at the Child Abuse Council he loves making his kids laugh. His favorite meal would be Chicago-style pizza followed by Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream. An avid Cubs fan with dreams of playing center for the Los Angeles Lakers, this guy loves to watch sports, talk sports, play sports and think sports.
Jeni McGuire is our Director of Finance and HR and loves all things numbers. Her outstanding skills include crocheting blankets at the speed of light and calculating sale prices at the drop of a hat. When she isn’t dazzling us with her formula writing skills in Excel, you can find her binge watching TV series on Netflix (her admitted guilty pleasure). The number one thing on Jeni’s bucket list is to visit 6 of the 7 continents and she is halfway there! Jeni’s perfect Saturday afternoon would be doing crafts with her daughter Ellie. Jeni is very organized and ensures every dollar is accounted for and spent exactly the way it is was meant to be used. Ensuring our financial integrity is her primary focus and we appreciate her dedication and commitment to doing just that.
Michael Terry, LISW, LCSW, is trained in EMDR and is our resident infant mental health consultant. At the office Michael is playfully referred to as the “NO” guy who keeps everything running smoothly to ensure we are always in compliance and following the very best practices to deliver quality, effective services. When asked what he would do with an extra hour every day, he said he would use to it work. As committed as he is, we do make him leave once in a while. Then you can usually find him at a Silvis School Board Meeting or doing anything outdoors. He loves cycling, camping, kayaking, rock climbing, hiking and canoeing. We aren't actually sure what he does during the Midwest winters when forced to stay inside. The number one thing on his bucket list is to backpack Yosemite or summit Rainier. Mike's attention to detail and clinical skills are essential to our success.
Brooke Hendrickx is our Director of Development and Communications (and past Community Education Program Manager) and a certified teacher! Brooke was a college softball pitcher at Illinois Wesleyan University (Go Titans!) and passed some of her athletic genes down to her two boys. Brooke is always cheering for at least one team or another. Most often she can be found at the baseball fields, a cross country meet, or the basketball court with her husband cheering on her sons. If she isn't there, you might find her reading a historical fiction novel or rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals. Brooke is a trained facilitator of both the ACE Interface and Connections Matter training modules. Brooke loves the people she works with at the Child Abuse Council and the positive energy each of them bring. We certainly know that Brooke brings her own positive energy to the table, too!
Child Protection Center
Kadie McCory, MPH, is a NCAC-trained Forensic Interviewer and the Program Manager of the Child Protection Center. Kadie manages the Mississippi Valley Child Protection Center by day, and at night she dreams of being a world traveler. She hails from a small town in “the middle of Nowhereseville,” Illinois, where she still loves to visit her parents’ farm for some horse riding and hay baling. Kadie’s true passion for her work shines through her dedication to serving the children and families of her community, as well as the true care she shows for her team. Her broad skill set comes from over a decade of experience in social services, having worked in mental health, substance abuse, mentoring and at-risk youth programming. Kadie’s talents don’t stop there, as she is also an amateur ukulele player, an expert catfisher and a former heptathlon competitor! Kadie says her favorite superheroes are her parents; at home, she herself is Supermom to three small humans – Caleb, Bella and Fynlee.
Jenna Wagner is our Family Advocate and Medical Coordinator. She loves coming to work in a big old house to help families through some of the most difficult times. Her role is an advocate, knower of all services, coordinator of schedules and keeper of papers, and is one we couldn’t operate without. She is a kind face and strong support for families. When not chasing her toddler, she loves enjoying the quiet and watching the Bears or the Cubs. After serving families all day, she loves nothing more than seeing how excited her baby is to see her and treating herself to French fries dunked in an ice cream shake.
Stacy Swon, BSN, RNC-OB, SANE, is the Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner at the Child Protection Center. She provides physical examinations to children who have been the victim of sexual crimes, collecting possible forensic evidence while assessing for any injury and helping coordinate any needed treatment. She also does other child exams for kiddos visiting our center. Her experience as an OB nurse and clinical instructor at Southeastern Community College makes her an incredible asset to our team. It takes a lot of energy to keep up with her schedule. So much energy that she actually considers coffee as its own food group! Stacy is an avid traveler and her navigating skills are top notch, essentially having a map in her brain. When she isn’t providing compassionate care for kids, she can be found traveling in her motor home, reading or practicing her landscape photography. Brave enough to claim the St. Louis Blues over the Blackhawks in the office, Stacy loves her team of supportive people committed to children in our communities.
Rebecca Valladares, MA, has been a Forensic Interviewer and Community Educator at the Child Protection Center since August 2018. Her favorite part of her job is working with children and families. Before joining the Child Abuse Council, she was a trauma counselor working with children and adults. She belongs to Kappa Delta sorority, which supports Prevent Child Abuse America. The Quad Cities native likes to spend her free time watching Netflix, going to sporting events, traveling to big cities and spending time with her friends, as well as go for relaxing walks and work out by playing soccer or jogging. Rebecca loves the “Rocky” movies and has wanted to visit Greece ever since she saw “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” If she had an extra hour every day, she would watch one more episode of the latest Netflix show she’s binging – which could be how she developed her special talent of telling you the plot of any episode of “Friends” just by the episode title.
Mikayla Cardenas joined the Child Abuse Council as Family Navigator in January 2019, after previously serving as an intern at the Child Protection Center. The native of Fruitland, Iowa, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. Mikayla describes her job to others as serving as a family advocate to assure access to services for children and families who are exposed to substance abuse. The best part of her role is working with kids and families and knowing she is making a positive impact. Mikayla is the proud mom to a cocker spaniel named Ollie, and her favorite way to spend a Saturday is playing with him. In her free time she loves talking Ollie for walks, spending time with her family and reading. The number one thing on her bucket list is to go to Hawaii and, when she eventually retires, to travel throughout the United States. Her kind and caring nature does have a pet peeve, however: mismatched socks.
Healthy Families and Doula Services
Sam Mathew is the Program Manager who leads our Healthy Families and Doula Team. She was welcomed BACK to our team in 2018 and considers it “coming back home.” Sam and her husband Taylor are foster parents and serve with Quad City Safe Families. They welcomed their baby girl Elliot to the world in 2017 and haven’t slept since. Sam’s positive, sunny smile only dims when she is at the back of a potluck line. Her anxiety spikes as she realized the broccoli casserole may well run out before she gets to it! Sam loves her “home” here with the Healthy Families program because it is rooted in proactive support. She knows it is a privilege that everyday families let us into their homes to strengthen the bond with their children and considers it an honor to learn from the wonderful families in our programs!
Debra Bozik, AAS (Paralegal), LMT, CBE, CD (DONA), is a birthworker by accident. Starting as a massage therapist in 2012, it was her goal to certify in prenatal massage and stop there. In 2016, she received certification in Prenatal, Labor and Postpartum Massage (Kate Jordan Seminars - Bodywork for the Childbearing Year), got into Spinning Babies in October 2016 by chance and claims that is when she fell down the “rabbit hole of my birthworker journey.” In June 2017, she received training at a DONA International Workshop for Birth Doula, in May 2018 she traveled to Seattle and gained a certificate from Bastyr University/Simkin Center for Childbirth Education, and completed DONA certification in 2019. She is a self-declared nerd and wants to continue education in the healthcare aspect of prenatal, labor/delivery and postpartum care. Some things most wouldn’t know about Debi is that she was a founding member and skater for the Quad City Rollers (2007-2012) and helped found the co-ed children’s roller derby team, The Orphan Brigade. She loves to travel and hopes to someday get to Ireland, Iceland and Vietnam. In her spare time, Debra loves spending time with her husband Chris, her kids Kailee, Padriac and her pitbull, Hemi. She likes yoga, hiking and camping and admits to being addicted to Ancient Aliens.
SUE SWISHER AWARD WINNER FY2020 QTR 1
Rebecca Collis is a Family Support Specialist who loves improving the lives of the children and families she serves. Her 5 children and husband of over 20 years love cheering on the Chicago Cubs and spending time with their two dogs and two cats. Her favorite part of every day is seeing her kids when she walks in the door and her favorite way to unwind at the end of the day is to binge on Netflix while enjoying some chocolate. Rebecca says she most admires her mom and wishes her one superpower was to make wishes come true.
Natividad Keim has been a Family Support Specialist with CAC since April 2018. She grew up on a farm in Indianola, Iowa. Her favorite part of her job is promoting infant literacy with families in her community. Her second favorite part is being located within walking distance of La Primavera Mexican Grocery Store and Restaurant. Natividad graduated from St. Ambrose University with degrees in Spanish and International Studies. Before coming to CAC, Natividad worked at Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement as an AmeriCorps VISTA and Lutheran Services in Iowa as a Family Support Worker. Ever-ready to learn something new, Natividad brings a new point of view and a stubborn optimism to the office. When Natividad is not at work, she is eating ice cream with her dog Max, making food from around the world and drinking too much coffee with friends. She only brings lunches to work that smell good. She does not like any of the Star Wars movies, so don’t talk to her about them. Her greatest accomplishment is coming in fourth place in a trivia contest about The Office.
Jessica joined the CAC team in 2021. She has been married to her husband, Josh, for 10 years and, together, they have two boys ages 10 and 9. Jessica and her family are a foster-family for rescue dogs. They love have 7 backyard chickens and appreciate the regular supply of fresh eggs. In her spare time, Jessica helps to run the Ruff Life Dog Rescue of Illowa as the organization's vice-president.
JoAnna joined the Child Abuse Council team in 2020. JoAnna earned her Bachelor's Degree in Special Education from Northern Illinois University. She has been married since 2013 and is the mother of a very artsy little girl. JoAnna loves to spend her time at festivals and camping in the woods. She is also a Middle Eastern dancer and a member of the Society of Creative Anachronism, a medieval recreation group.
Tina Greer is a health care and early childhood professional turned DONA-certified Doula. Her career serves to live out her favorite quote: “Be the adult you needed as a child.” Tina and her husband, Greg, have a forever 17-day old sweet boy, a spunky toddler and a strong “boss girl” 5-year-old. Tina’s genuine compassion, patience and empathy only wane when forced to listen to people eat. Or really make any “mouth” noises. Tina loves working in such a positive, empowering office and loves to channel that same support she feels to the parents she serves.
Shawna joined the Child Abuse Council in 2020. She lives in a small town outside of the Quad Cities with her husband Donovan and her 2 year old son, Wyatt, her two fur-babies Addy Mae (Mommy's Princess) and George Henry (the trouble maker). Shawna is a certified surgical technologist, however her passion has always leaned towards labor and delivery. To relax, Shawna enjoys blues music, making faux leather earrings, going for walks as a family, and supporting her husband's dirt track racing events on the weekends.
Tonya joined the Child Abuse Council in 2021. She is a DONA certified Doula with a background in social work and family advocacy. Tonya has lived and worked in South Carolina and Florida, but before you feel bad for her for missing all of that warmer weather, you should know that she is a proud Iowan who also lived in Minnesota. She spent over 15 years serving as a community organizer and finds her "why" in being a champion for children. Tonya is a married mom to two kiddos and - in her spare time - enjoys yoga, dancing, fitness, gardening, and reading. According to Tonya, she is here to "serve, learn, and take positive action towards health, wellness, and the greater good of our community."
Safe From the Start
Emily Cummings returned to the Child Abuse Council in December 2018 as the Safe From the Start Program Manager, and her favorite part of the job is simple: everything! She’s been at the CAC a total of five years and her favorite things about it are the hilarious team, the courageous leadership and the breakroom snacks. Emily’s family – Luke, Ava and Bradley – are her world, and in her free time she loves to go on adventures with them, read and play games with friends. Though she describes herself in five words as a “loud girl with red hair” and once was able to move a cookie from her forehead to her mouth using only the muscles in her face, Emily recharges herself by watching videos on her phone of cute puppies and babies. The women in her family – her grandma, mom and aunt – are her superheroes, for they “have had just about everything go wrong, but they handled it a thousand different ways on a thousand different days.”
Charlene Brants is the Administrative Assistant for Safe from the Start and a jack of all trades. Around the office she is the one everyone goes to for everything from highlighters to Advil; she takes care of us all. She loves her hometown of Atkinson where you can find her crocheting, riding bikes or boating on the Mississippi. In the fall and winter you can usually find her watching the Denver Broncos (she reminds everyone that Peyton Manning is NOT a Bronco). If she could have any animal skill, it would be the ability to forgive like a dog. Charlene has been at the Council since 2006 and her favorite thing about it is seeing the difference we make in families lives!
Paula Jaeger, M.S. Ed, NCC, is a child therapist and is trained in EMDR, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Adlerian Play Therapy and Theraplay. This girl is Michigan’s biggest fan! She grew up in upper Michigan and wants to spend every summer there when she retires. She is also the Green Bay Packers' biggest fan. If she isn’t watching a game or visiting the UP, she loves to be sitting around a fire with her family and friends. When people ask what Paula does, she tells them she gets to play all day. Around the office, we all know her as the crazy cat lady with a heart of gold. She has worked with children exposed to trauma and sexual abuse for most of her career and is a positive, compassionate therapist helping children to heal. If you ever need a morning pick me up, Paula’s right up front greeting people every morning – which happens to be her favorite time of day!
Brittany Littrell, M.S. Ed, LCPC, LMHC is a child therapist on both the Illinois and Iowa side of the river for the Safe From the Start Program. Brittany graduated from WIU in 2016 with her Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Brittany has been trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and utilizes techniques from Adlerian Play Therapy and Child Centered Play Therapy. Brittany is currently working toward her Registered Play Therapy License. Brittany has been married to her husband Jake since 2012. Jake and Brittany have a beautiful, caring and sassy daughter, Lilyann. Their household also includes 2 dogs and 2 cats. She enjoys backpacking, hiking, gardening, watching the Bears, yoga, painting and boating on the Mississippi. Two of Brittany’s favorite memories are hiking up Mt. Elbert (14,443 ft, Colorado’s highest mountain) and doing a backpacking trip in Arkansas just herself and her daughter who was 3 at the time. Brittany’s guilty pleasure is watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette. As the newest member to the SFS team, Brittany enjoys working with those who have experienced trauma and with children; Brittany says this is the perfect job because it combines her two passions.
Alyssa Acton joined our Community Education Team in 2020. She has 2 kids, 2 dogs, and lives with her significant other in Davenport. She loves working out and is a coach at The Foundation, a local gym in the area. Fitness and health are a huge passion of Alyssa's and includes physical, mental, and emotional health. Lifting weights and swimming are her two favorite physical activities. She loves being outside with her kiddos anytime they can. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminology from the University of Iowa and she is currently pursuing a Master's Degree for Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Western Illinois University.
Alyssa sees the importance of knowledgeable and open leadership in non-profits and social service agencies to promote the health and welfare of families in our community. Alyssa enjoys watching movies, tv shows and series (anything crime related), reading, music, hanging out with friends and wearing comfortable clothes! She is passionate about diversity and inclusion, social justice, equal access to services for all, supporting families, community education, trauma informed practice and strengths based approaches. Alyssa is trained in several evidenced-based curricula including, but not limited to, ACE Interface, Community Resilience coach, Conscious Discipline, Lemonade for Life, Parenting Inside Out and more.
Heather Lamb is our Prevention Education Specialist. If you are looking for parent support she has the curriculum just for you! She is a facilitator for Stewards of Children, Connections Matter and Adverse Childhood Experiences (Understanding ACEs: Building Self-Healing Communities) and certified in Positive Discipline, Love and Logic, and Nurturing Parenting.
When Heather isn’t leading a class or laughing out loud at the answers preschoolers come up with on the verbal personal safety pre-tests, you can find her baking or reading. If it’s above 85 degrees, though, she will most definitely be inside binge watching Netflix. She dreams of traveling to all 50 states, Italy and Greece. Her favorite super hero is Wonder Woman and she wishes she could read your mind. Heather’s optimistic attitude makes her not only fun to work with but ideal to connect with parents and caregivers to provide the support they need and deserve!
Amanda Striegel is our Program Coordinator for the Rock Island County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program. Amanda has worked in the child welfare field in various capacities for over 13 years and her passion for keeping children safe burns bright. She is a proud mom to a college-aged son (go Drake!) and is slowly getting used to the empty nester life. When she’s not jumping out of airplanes or cruising the water in her kayak, you can find her antique hunting at local auctions. She also enjoys making lists of things to do (tasks already completed count too!) or feeding her addiction of anything Amazon Prime. What Amanda likes the most about working at the Child Abuse Council is having a team of co-workers who share the same drive of keeping children happy and healthy in a nurturing, safe environment.
Daniel is Quad Cities born and raised, growing up in a small town just outside of the Quad Cities and graduating from Augustana College in 2019 with a degree in Psychology. After living in St. Louis for two years and working in the political arena, Daniel is thrilled to be back in the Quad Cities and re-entering the child advocacy field. He's especially excited to be working with volunteers who are selflessly dedicating their time to ensure that children get to live in a loving, nurturing environment. When not working, Daniel is often hanging out with his rescue beagle Barney, performing in musicals across Quad City stages, listening to obscure music and attending live concerts, playing/coaching soccer, or spending time with his family, including his adorable niece and nephew.
Catherine was born and raised in Bettendorf, Iowa. She started her college experience at St. Ambrose, transferred, and graduated from UMUC with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Science, with a minor in Philosophy. Catherine has been married 10 years and has a 1 year old son as well as her cat and dog "fur babies". She is currently pursuing her MSW from University of Northern Iowa. She has previous experience as a Behavioral Health Intervention Specialist and Community Care Case Manager. Her favorite part of those roles were working with kiddos and getting to help families find positive solutions. She is inspired to help make a difference in the community, one child's life at a time.