The Rite Aid Foundation awarded Chris Kirchner, executive director of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, its KidChamp Award for her advocacy and outreach to ensure healing and justice for sexually abused children in Philadelphia. Ms. Kirchner, who is the 6th to receive a KidChamp award, was recognized during a special ceremony in Philadelphia.
PCA is Philadelphia’s only child advocacy center for sexually abused children. The nonprofit organization brings together a team of professionals to allow abused children to tell their stories using a coordinated process in a safe and welcoming facility. When a report of child sexual abuse is made in Philadelphia, PCA’s intake team coordinates the investigation with a multi-disciplinary team approach, working closely with representatives from the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, the Department of Human Services, and mental health and medical professionals on behalf of the victim.
Three years after PCA opened in 1989, Ms. Kirchner took on the role as the Alliance’s executive director. Initially, PCA was housed in a 3,300 square foot space in West Philadelphia with only one forensic interview room that allowed for only one child and family to be seen at a time. Ms. Kirchner made it her mission to advocate for a larger site and ensure PCA could serve every child who has faced sexual abuse.
In 2010, the facility moved to a larger space in Center City that served 100 children a month. Still, Ms. Kirchner continued to advocate for an even larger site so PCA could serve even more children who have faced sexual abuse.
After seeing the incredible work Ms. Kirchner and PCA had accomplished, the City of Philadelphia built the state-of-the-art Philadelphia Safety Collaborative facility in 2013 to co-locate PCA and all partner agencies. This larger facility now allows for 250 children to be served a month.
As part of her role at PCA, Ms. Kirchner also oversees the Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center (NRCAC), a federal grant project that provides training and technical assistance to communities in the northeastern United States that are interested in developing or maintaining a Child Advocacy Center. In addition, she and members of her management team lead trainings locally and nationally about the topic of child sexual abuse and the importance of a collaborative response.
“It is truly an honor to be presented with this KidChamp Award. I am incredibly thankful to The Rite Aid Foundation and KidCents for their support of PCA and our efforts to provide a safe space where children can heal and begin to reclaim their lives,” said Ms. Kirchner. “Our work has helped change how we approach sexual abuse cases for children. I’m so very proud of what we have accomplished and promise to continue advocating to ensure these children continue to get the support and care they deserve.”
In recognition of her service, Ms. Kirchner received a $10,000 donation to the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance from The Rite Aid Foundation and a $500 Rite Aid gift card during a special ceremony at Philadelphia Children’s Alliance.
Congratulations to Chris, a true KidChamp!