Meet Our Team

Melissa Werkman


Melissa comes to CACMI from her role as the President and CEO of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County. She led a team of 24 staff and 12 on-site multi-disciplinary team members serving more than 1000 survivors of child sexual abuse a year. In her past leadership roles, she worked to advocate for individuals with Down syndrome, create more access to healthcare, and helped develop mentorship programs for women and girls. Her experience has provided her with a keen awareness of the challenges and isolation that faces leaders today and she is eager to bring that empathy and insight to support others. By cultivating deeply meaningful corporate and community partnerships, she has come to understand the exponential effect of creating mutually beneficial relationships that honor mission and impact organizational goals which in turns impacts the broader community.  

Melissa is honored to assume the role supporting the critical work that CACs perform across Michigan every day by increasing access, growing capacity, cultivating sustainable funding and influencing policy that will best benefit all of Michigan’s children.


Joshua Bissell
Program Director


As the Program Director for the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Michigan (CACMI) team, Joshua is committed to providing support to CAC leaders and their staffs across the state. In addition to helping members prepare for accreditation and re-accreditation, his support ranges from on-site training to phone consultations, active troubleshooting of difficult dilemmas and planned delivery of content expertise and practical advice. His personal mission is to ensure that every CAC staff person has an opportunity for professional development and growth as experts in their field and to foster a collaborative network where even the smallest programs feel supported.

In a previous life, Joshua worked as a licensed social worker in the state of Louisiana developing a social services program embedded within the New Orleans Police Department Special Victims Section. He spent years working with the Child Abuse, Adult Sex Crimes, and Domestic Violence units and served as a forensic interviewer and case manager at the New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center. He received undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Sociology and his master’s degree in social work at Tulane University. In his free time, he enjoys disc golfing and board games and likes to write short stories in the genre of science fiction and fantasy.


Amanda Davis Scott, MS, MA, LPC-S, CAADC
Clinical Director


As the Director of Clinical Practice, Development, and Education for CACMI, Amanda helps to support the clinical and victim advocacy operations of the Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) in Michigan. Amanda’s duties include but are not limited to providing clinical consultation, giving onboarding support for new victim advocates and clinicians at the CACs, operational support for established CACs and internship programs, development of training curriculum and materials based on the needs of and for the use at CACs, and development and facilitation of peer review/support programs for advocates and clinicians. Prior to working at CACMI Amanda was the Program Director at the Lenawee Child Advocacy Center and the Program Director at the Lenawee Child Trauma Assessment Center. Amanda holds a bachelor’s degree in family life education from Spring Arbor University, a Master’s degree in counseling also from Spring Arbor University, and a Master’s degree in criminal justice with a specialization in forensic psychology from Tiffin University. In her free time Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband James, and three children.

Steven King, LMSW, LLMFT
Systems Administrator


As the Systems Administrator for the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Michigan (CACMI), Steven plays a pivotal role in ensuring the efficient operation of our organization’s internal systems and resources. With a focus on engagement, platform management, and logistical support, my responsibilities encompass a wide range of critical functions. He oversees our network’s engagement initiatives, manage our platform systems and databases, and provide essential logistical planning and support for conferences and events. Additionally, Steven helps to ensure compliance and quality assurance are maintained. His role involves monitoring and innovating internal systems and resources to ensure they adequately support CACMI’s operations.

He also facilitates peer groups for Intake Coordinators and offers technical support to our members around data tracking and reporting. By collaborating with our dedicated team and leveraging his expertise, he contributes to the success of CACMI and furthers our mission of supporting children’s advocacy centers throughout Michigan.

With a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work, Clinical, from Michigan State University, he brings a solid educational foundation to his role. He is certified in Clinical Social Work with Families and holds a license as a Masters level Clinical Social Worker and Limited License Marriage and Family Therapy. In his personal time, he enjoys running, reading a good book, cherishing quality moments with his family, and getting outside, often enjoying rounds of disc golf.


Tom Stuessy

Director of Capacity and Resource Development


Tom Stuessy, will be serving as the Director of Capacity and Resource Development. Having worked in nonprofit leadership for over ten years, Tom brings strong knowledge and experience in forging effective partnerships that lead to expanding capacity, resource and fund development. His approach centers on the opportunity nonprofits have to collaborate with for-profit partners to exponentially increase awareness and engagement. During Tom’s previous tenure as an executive director, these tools and strategies increased funding, drove membership, and participation among the business community, and led to organizational advancements such as websites, collateral investments, youth programs, internal grant programs, PSAs, partner referrals, subject matter expertise, and most importantly, more attention paid to important causes. Tom believes the CAC community has the opportunity to modernize partnership with the for-profit sector, producing engagement that will further mobilize the mission of every CAC.


Rebekah McDowell

Operations Director


Rebekah McDowell has spent her entire career in nonprofits. After graduating from Central Michigan University, Beka worked in legal and education agencies before joining the Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County. During her 16+ years at the Center, she worked in fund development and grant writing before becoming Operations Director where she led Human Resources, Finance, and Building Management for nearly ten years. A self-proclaimed “nonprofit policy wonk,” Beka obtained her HR Management certificate from Cornell University during the early days of the pandemic, while helping guide CAC Kent through remote work and safety policies and becoming the agency’s “COVID expert.” She enjoys the behind-the-scenes work of operations, providing a strong foundation for the Chapter and the CACMI team while also supporting CAC staff around the state as they engage in the essential work of creating safe and welcoming spaces for everyone who needs a CAC. Beka is honored to be a resource for CAC staff in human resources, finance-related best practice, state and federal grant writing and reporting, policy development, compliance, and DEIA.






Our Board of Directors

Alex Brace, Chair

Melanie Richards, Vice Chair

Scott Dzurka, Treasurer

Allison Benczkowski, Secretary

Nyse Holloman

Jamie Rossow

Kimberly Ruppel

Virginia Lambert

Sarah Sorensen

Rebecca Yuncker

Karla Lehman

Our CAC Members

Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center, Allegan, Barry, VanBuren Counties

CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region, Arenac, Bay, Saginaw, & Huron Counties

Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan, Berrien County

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Sexual Assault Services, Calhoun County

Northern Michigan Children’s Assessment Center, Crawford, Iosco, Oscoda, Ogemaw, & Roscommon County

Voices for Children Advocacy Center, Genesee & Shiawassee Counties

Gratiot County Child Advocacy Association, Gratiot County

Small Talk Children’s Advocacy Center, Ingham & Eaton Counties

Isabella County Child Advocacy Center, Isabella County

Children’s Advocacy Center of South Central Michigan, Jackson, Hillsdale, & Lenawee Counties

Children’s Advocacy Center of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County

Children’s Advocacy Center of Kent County, Kent County

Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer County, Lapeer County

Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center, Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, & Wexford Counties

Care House of Macomb County, Macomb County

Lakeshore Children’s Advocacy Center, Manistee County and Mason County

Safe & Sound Child Protection and Advocacy Center, Midland County

Northern Michigan Alliance for Children & Mobile Child Advocacy Center,  Claire, Gladwin, & Missaukee Counties

IM Safe Child Advocacy Center, Ionia and Montcalm

Child Abuse Council of Muskegon County, Muskegon County

Care House of Oakland County, Oakland County

Ed and Nancy Hanenburg Children’s Advocacy Center (aka: CAC of Ottawa County), Ottawa County

Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeast Michigan, Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency & Presque Isle County

Sanilac County Child Advocacy Center, Sanilac County

St. Clair County Child Abuse/Neglect Council, Inc., St. Clair County

Child Advocacy Center of Tuscola, Tuscola County

Washtenaw Child Advocacy Center, Washtenaw County

Kids-Talk Children’s Advocacy Center, Wayne County (Detroit)

Kids-Talk Children’s Advocacy Center, Wayne County (Southgate)

The Voice for Clinton County’s Children, Clinton County 

Eagle Village Child Advocacy Center, Mecosta, Osceola, & Lake Counties

Evergreen Child Advocacy Center, Newaygo County

Livingston Area Council Against Spouse Abuse, Inc. (LACASA), Livingston County

Copper Shores Community Health Foundation (formerly Dial Help) aka Houghton Keweenaw Child Advocacy Center, Baraga, Keweenaw, & Houghton Counties

Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeast Michigan, Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, & Presque Isle Counties

Bay Mills Social Services, Bay Mills Indian Community 

Caring House Child Advocacy Center, Dickinson & Iron Counties

Child Advocacy Center of Branch County, Branch County

Delta Regional Child Advocacy Center, Alger, Delta, Menominee, Schoolcraft Counties, & Hannahville Indian Community

Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, Emmitt, Cheyboygan, Otsego, & Charlevoix Counties

Northern Lights Child Advocacy Center, Marquette County

Network of Hope

Zoe’s Story.

Zoe first heard about the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) when someone from there came to her classroom. She was in 3rd grade at the time. The person from the CAC talked to the class about “body safety.” Zoe knew about keeping herself… Read more…