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Child Advocacy Center

(757) 668-6100

The Child Advocacy Center at CHKD ensures that all children who have been abused or neglected in Hampton Roads have access to quality services and expertise.

Established in 1998

Child abuse is a complex issue. Professionals in medicine, mental health, forensic interviewing, child protective services, law enforcement, prosecution and victim advocacy each have a role in the process of stopping the abuse.

Established as the child abuse program in 1998, the Child Advocacy Center at CHKD brings the knowledge of these disciplines together to work as a team to coordinate investigations and interventions for each child abuse case, with the goal of reducing the child's trauma and time in the legal system. Combining the wisdom and professional knowledge of the team reduces re-victimization by the system and provides the support and services these young victims and their families need.

The Child Advocacy Center minimizes further stress to these child victims by providing a supportive, child-friendly environment for forensic interviews, conducted by professional interviewers who understand the fears and anxieties of abused children. Interviews are digitally recorded and witnessed by investigators, with the goal of recounting the history of abuse one time only. Victims of abuse and neglect begin the healing process in a program that honors the child’s need for safety, dignity and privacy.

Our Mission

Our mission is to identify and provide services for child victims of abuse and neglect in a safe, culturally competent, supportive environment while reducing secondary trauma. The program offers an integrated response to child abuse through case coordination with a multidisciplinary team of community professionals. All services are based on the highest professional standards and best practices shown to reduce trauma and generate positive outcomes.

Services We Offer

All services and child maltreatment research are conducted at our central office in Norfolk with selected services at our satellite facilities in Newport News and Virginia Beach. The following services are provided:

  • Forensic Interviews
  • Forensic Medical Evaluations
  • Acute Sexual Assault Examinations
  • Psychological Testing
  • Parenting Capacity Evaluations
  • Evidence-Supported Psychotherapy
  • Case Management and Family Advocacy
  • Multidisciplinary Team Coordination
  • Expert Testimony
  • Training for team professionals and community stakeholders about child maltreatment and program services.

Click here to learn more about our services.


We accept referrals from investigative and other approved community agencies that address child maltreatment. These include:

  • Child Protective Services divisions of the Department of Social/Human Services
  • Law Enforcement
  • Offices of the Commonwealth's Attorney
  • Offices of the City Attorney
  • The Judiciary
  • Military Family Advocacy
  • Military Investigative Services
  • Military Prosecution
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation 

Direct referrals for medical evaluations from health care providers are accepted in select situations when the examination performed by the health care provider has raised concerns of abuse or neglect.

The Child Advocacy Center at CHKD offers a child abuse pediatrics fellowship at Eastern Virginia Medical School  and partners with them to coordinate a child maltreatment research team. For more information, please call (757) 668-6100.

(757) 668-6100

Professional Staff

Executive Director

  • Erinn F. Portnoy, LCSW

Medical Team

  • Michelle Clayton, MD, MPH (medical director; medical fellowship director)
  • Dawn Scaff, MSN, RN (pediatric forensic nurse operations supervisor)

Mental Health Team

  • Kelsey Blackwell, LCSW
  • Quiana Bradley, LCSW
  • Kristina Golden, PsyD
  • Laura Kanter, LCSW
  • Katlin Ternes, PsyD
  • Jessica Thompson, LCSW

Program Evaluation and Grant Development Team

  • Darci Fritz, MS (director)
  • Dominique Johnson, BS
  • Ashley Turner, BS

Forensic Interview Team

  • Jenna Spagnuolo, MBA, DCFI (supervisor)
  • Daisy Schuurman, BS, DCFI
  • Jenn Lee, BS, DCFI
  • Katie Tricomi, DCFI
  • Jessica Arrington, DCFI

 Outreach and Case Management Team

  • Arlene Agustin, MS
  • Jackie Johnson, BSW
  • Jennifer McReynolds, MS
  • Kathy Phillips, BA
  • Kim Pitts, AAS