In the Big World Of Courts and Controls
Children's Voices are small
Pat has more than 15 years' advocating for children. She was a Court Appointed Special Advocate in two states and was Arizona Court Appointed Advocate of the year, March 2006. Pat also served on the Foster Care Review Board and Governor Napolitano's Child Protective Services Reform Education Work-Group. She has been advocating as a Special Education Parent, appointed by the Courts or the Department of Education for children in the care of the Department of Child Safety Since 2003. Pat joined Defenders of Children in 2015.
Formerly a volunteer attorney with Defenders of Children for ten years, Mr. Robbins brings more than 30 years experience in family law to our client-families. His expertise is crucial to the client-families we serve, in guiding them through the maze and hoops of the legal system.
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Behavioral Health Specialist
Donnalee Sarda’s 20 years working as a professional child advocate has been acknowledged by the Attorneys General of Arizona: In 2013 with the Victims’ Rights Advocacy- Direct Services Award; and during 2003 -2015 under both AG Tom Horne and AG Terry Goddard, serving on their Victims Rights Advocacy Committees. Sarda was appointed by AZ Governor Napolitano to the Legislative Domestic Relations Committee (DRC) from 2006 to 2012, filling the position of child advocacy agency. She served on the Reports Committee of the Governor’s Commission to Reform CPS from 2001 to 2003. At that time she gained the post of regional director of nonprofit Justice For Children-AZ, and transitioned to executive director of Defenders of Children until January 2015. She currently works as Project Director for Defenders, and as a state licensed counselor, utilizing her Masters Degree from ASU in 1996, and applying her family-court forensic knowledge to help families heal where possible, and help the children heal when not possible.
In addition to working with client families, the staff liaisons with other non-profit organizations, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), shelters, treatment centers and state and county officials concerned with child welfare. Defenders of Children works with families before, during and after court proceedings to ensure children's rights. Defenders of Children offers legal, forensic and expert witness services and referrals when children and their families have exhausted available resources through public and social service agencies, and yet the children still remain at risk (see Family or Legal Services). Defenders of Children also interfaces as an educational resource with such agencies as the Attorney General’s Office, AZ State Bar, Family and Juvenile Courts, the Department of Child Safety (DCS formerly CPS), State Legislators, and numerous non-governmental agencies.
Our in-house programs provide social services and limited-scope legal services, often court-ordered, for children and families whose cases we accept. Defenders of Children may provide family support and court-ordered services (counseling, mediation, supervision, therapeutic intervention aka reunification) with our own in-house team of qualified professionals when there is a compelling evidence that a child is at risk or family finances are exhausted.
Kimberly has a background in early childhood education and development, working with children for more than 25 years. She was introduced to Defenders of Children near completion of her Bachelor degree at Arizona State University concentrating in criminology and social welfare. As a paralegal, she used these skills while she served as case manager for Defenders of Children for more than two years. Now Executive Director, she continues to passionately advocate for children and their families to ensure their health, safety and well being.
|Administration||Carol A. Jacobson|
|Family Physician||Claire Bowey, MD|
Brittany Chavez, Esq.
Kelly-Ann Weimar, Esq.
Betty H. McRae
Child Advocacy 101
Consultant and Instructor
Dr. Chris Monaco holds two Masters Degrees and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, with post-doctoral training in neuropsychology. She was in private practice for 16 years doing therapy, and psychological and neuropsychological evaluations. For seven years, Dr. Monaco served as the national spokesperson and Director of the National Child Abuse Hotline at Childhelp. She presented seminars and provided training throughout Arizona, the United States and abroad on Child Abuse, AD(H)D, Juvenile Fire Setters, Anger Management, Stress Management and Parenting.
Dr. Monaco taught graduate students for seven years at Northern Arizona University and one year at Arizona State University. She has been an Adjunct Professor for six years at Glendale Community College. Dr. Monaco is a published author. Since its inception, she has provided training for Defenders of Children Staff, been a Case Manager as well as an expert court witness. She again joins the staff at Defenders of Children.
|Board Chair||John McAlister|
|Secretary||Tara Bickford Bailey|
Members at Large
Merrill Robbins, Esq.
Donnalee Sarda, LPC
David M. Lujan, Esq., former State Senator and Minority Leader, AZ House of Representatives
Defenders of Children