Meet our Children's Safety Center team members. With over 65 years of combined experience, our CSC team works passionately and diligently providing trust, hope and healing to alleged child abuse victims every day. Each and every team member is unique but we all have the same goal: make sure every child is believed and their dreams are restored. Read below and get to know our work family. Say hello if you see us out in the community. It takes all of us working together to protect our kids and keep them safe.
 
 
 
 
 
Executive Director - Elizabeth Shackelford

How long have you been a CSC team member? Almost 9 years

What is your role at the CSC? As the executive director I oversee the day-to-day operations, as well as write most of the grants. Of course knowing the CSC is helping abused children is my favorite part of my job, but so is watching team members as they each grow individually and develop professionally. It is exciting to watch staff overcome challenges, especially as a team. For me to hear from a staff member that “she honestly loves her job” or to witness a client (who completed two years of therapy) say to her therapist “I am ready” or to watch the development director and her committee reach their fundraising goal – pushes me to keep going. While there may be some tough days from time-to-time, there are so many more successes I witness. To hear a forensic interviewer say she feels she “did a great interview” to actually painting a child’s hand myself and then having her want to place it in my office because she “doesn’t want me to forget her” makes this job rewarding.

What do you want someone to know about the CSC? We are a small organization, who has been making a huge impact since 1997!

What do you want someone to know about you? I have a calm and loving husband, Scott. We are about to celebrate 8 years of marriage. We love our long-hair dachshund, Willow. We have the best time being an aunt and uncle to the sweetest niece and nephews: Hollace Saxton, Parker and Nile Moore. We love Fayetteville, but when we can get away we enjoy meeting my parents at our family’s condo on Lake Hamilton and if my husband has his way, we will travel and visit all the National Parks over the next 40+ years, as we get our National Parks Passports stamped.  
 
 
 
 
 
Program Director - Casey Atwood, LSW

How long have you been a CSC team member? I have been a CSC team member since January 2006 and was an intern before that (Summer 2005) so I have been on staff officially for 11 years next month.

What is your role at the CSC? I am the Program Director of the center and my role is to provide support and supervise the child advocates and assist in overseeing the other CSC programs. I also spend a lot of my time out in the community providing education and training on child abuse prevention.

What is your favorite thing about your job? I love so many things about my job. I feel very passionate about educating the community on the prevalence of child sexual abuse as well as how we, as a community, can prevent child abuse. I also love working with an amazing team of people that are just as passionate and work vigilantly every day to provide services to victims of child abuse and their families. 

What do you want someone to know about the CSC? I want everyone to know ALL about the Children’s Safety Center. I want people to know that we have over 8,000 handprints on our walls and that those are all children who have been to the CSC and impacted in some way by child abuse. I want people to know that we are a nonprofit organization that works very hard to raise every penny to provide these services and that our services are vital to the children and the community. If we didn’t exist, children would be interviewed in police stations or at their homes where the abuse occurred. Children would be re-traumatized and have to tell their story over and over again. Children and families would not have their very own child advocate to be there for them and navigate them through this scary process. Children would likely not receive FREE trauma focused therapy. These services are critical for children to begin the healing process.

What do you want someone to know about you? I love my job! I have a wonderful family. My husband, Kyle, and I have a 1 year old son, Gunnar, and are expecting our second child (a baby girl) in June 2017. We have a yellow lab named Skeet, who is Gunnar’s very best friend! When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and squeezing in a nap whenever I can!
 
 
 
 
 
Development Director - Emily Rappe' Fisher

How long have you been a CSC team member? I just started my 5th year in November.

What is your role at the CSC? As the development director I wear many hats from planning our Dream Big Charity Gala and other events with help from committee members to building relationships with donors and volunteers to writing some grants. I also market the CSC through social media, our website and all news channels to keep the public updated on events, current needs, awareness and our prevention methods. Yes, child sexual abuse DOES happen here! My job is different every day but that is one of the things I love about it.

What is your favorite thing about your job? I LOVE my job! Talking about the handprints and the stories behind them is my favorite thing about my job. The handprints are the reason we are all at the CSC. They are the reason we keep fighting to protect and empower our kids. We have over 8,000 handprints that line the walls of the CSC and they are all different and each tell a brave story. When you hear a child say, “I picked yellow for my handprint because I am a princess and want to play in the sun all day!”, it just melts your heart.

What do you want someone to know about you? I am married to my husband Chad and he inherited 2 step-kitties. Our nephew Ryder James was born almost 3 months ago and we spoil him rotten. We cheer for the hogs in our house but my husband refuses to call them since he went to OU!
 
 
 
 
 
Forensic Interviewer - Karen Blackstone, BSW

How long have you been a CSC team member? I started as a volunteer then moved to Intern and then was hired. My first time here was in 1997. So, going on 20 years if you count the volunteer and intern time.

What is your role at the CSC? My role as a forensic interviewer is to conduct developmentally sensitive, neutral fact finding and legally sound interviews based on a protocol that utilizes research and practice informed techniques. Or put in another way, I am a conductor of a symphony of two in each interview (me and that child). The interview starts with listening and getting to know the client while building rapport and trust. The interview can reach a crescendo if abuse is disclosed but then I bring it back down to the same note, same tune that was first played in the beginning. Each child has a song and I get to listen.

What is your favorite thing about your job? My absolute favorite thing about my job and what keeps me going are the kids we serve.  

What do you want someone to know about you? I am a mom of three. Two are adult twins and the last is a teenager. I also have a granddaughter and a grandson.  For fun I like to do anything outside. Camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, almost anything that involves being out in the woods. Although with age people could not look at me now and say they knew, a unique fact about me is I was slated to swim in the Olympic Games when I was 13 years old. I was on a Junior Olympic swim team in California and slated for the bicentennial games.
 
 
 
 
 
Child Advocate/Forensic Interviewer - Abra Morgan, LSW

How long have you been a CSC team member? I will begin my 10th year in January

What is your role at the CSC? As a child advocate I provide support during the investigation process and longer if needed/requested by the family.  My role is to help look out for the best interest of the child within my realm of control, provide education and appropriate referrals within the community.

What is your favorite thing about your job? When I get to help a child or a parent feel like they are not alone through this process.  When I get to spend time with a child before or after their interview and help ease their minds, even if it is just a little bit.  When I can help a caregiver begin the difficult discussion of body safety with the children in their lives…these are a few of my favorite things.

What do you want someone to know about the CSC? Community involvement is a MUST.  We cannot begin to imagine a world without child sexual abuse until we have community buy in.  Our children will grow up and potentially marry someone else’s children.  All children are our children, so let’s protect them all, not just our own.  Child sexual abuse does not discriminate.  

What do you want someone to know about you? I am married and we have a 2 year old son. He is my everything! 

Anything else….  Research supports childhood trauma may increase school dropout, drug use, juvenile court involvement, suicide, etc.  (really, the list goes on and on)  If you want to support education, drug use prevention, suicide prevention, etc.…a great place to start is investing in agencies who focuses on child abuse.  Then you would be helping to create a community with more productive, healthy members of society.  Remember, our children will be working, socializing, and even marrying someone else’s children.  
 
 
 
 
 
Child Advocate/Forensic Interviewer - Debbee O'Brien

How long have you been a CSC team member? 6 ½ years

What is your favorite thing about your job? The highest honor is getting to listen as families sit in my office and share their stories. Stories of a single parent doing everything possible for their children, now facing the most difficult day of their lives. Stories of bravery, strength, and determination as they make a plan to move forward. Having the privilege to follow the family on their healing journey is always very humbling.

What do you want someone to know about the CSC? The Children’s Safety Center Team dedicates themselves daily to fulfill the missions of empowering children to overcome abuse and begin to trust, hope, and heal.

What do you want someone to know about you? Family is of upmost importance to me. I cherish every moment spent with my parents, my children and their spouses, and my grandbabies. Sunday afternoons are set aside for my grandchildren, where we play board games, eat, laugh, watch funny videos, and make memories. I live on a cattle farm and enjoy riding 4-wheelers….and…I L-O-V-E coming to work every day.     
 
 
 
 
 
Therapist - Crystal Pitts, LCSW

How long have you been a CSC team member? 1 semester as advocacy intern, 1 year as therapy intern, 2 years as a therapist

What is your role at the CSC? I am a licensed certified social worker and hold a master’s degree in social work from the University of Arkansas.  I am a therapist at the Children’s Safety Center, nationally certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. My duties include providing trauma focused assessments and treatment to alleged child victims of abuse. 

What is your favorite thing about your job? I cannot think of a more rewarding career, one that is designed solely to decrease suffering and improve quality of life. My favorite thing are those moments where I see hope in the eyes of a child, or a recognition of his or her own strength, or a long-abandoned smile. I consider myself lucky to do this job, and to do it with a team of strong women. 

What do you want someone to know about the CSC? That we can’t do our jobs without the support of the community. 

What do you want someone to know about you? I enjoy spending time outdoors with my husband and four dogs.   
 
 
 
 
 
Bilingual Child Advocate/Forensic Interviewer -
Christina Henriquez

How long have you been a CSC team member? 5 months

What is your role at the CSC? As a Bilingual Child Advocate/Forensic Interviewer my role is to guide families through the forensic interview process and provide them with support, whether it’s offering them emotional support or connecting families to additional resources. My job as an interviewer is to allow a child to tell his/her story in a safe, child friendly, unbiased interview and empower that child to tell their story.

What is your favorite thing about your job? I feel privileged being able to work with the families that come through our doors, I have the opportunity to hear their story and provide emotional support. Whether it’s painting that child’s hand or talking to them about their favorite sports team I feel honored to have just those few minutes with them to tell them that I am so proud of them for telling someone.

What do you want someone to know about the CSC? Children are resilient, they are able to heal with the support from their family and community and therapy. It’s important for the community to become educated on how child abuse can be prevented and for community members to learn how to better support their local CAC, whether it’s volunteering or financial giving. 

What do you want someone to know about you? I love to garden, for the moment I have to container garden but I cannot wait to have a backyard dedicated to gardening. We also have 2 dogs, Myla and Jax and we enjoy taking them everywhere we go, whether it’s out hiking or visiting a new city.
 
 
 
 
614 East Emma Avenue, Suite 200 Springdale, AR  |  479-872-6183 
 
 
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