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Child Welfare Awards

In previous years, the Child Welfare Certificate of Appreciation Awards were given by the former Governor’s Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect. In July of 2012, the duties and responsibilities of the Governor’s Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect were merged with FACT. As a result, FACT now has the distinguished honor of recognizing the contributions of special individuals whose prevention, intervention and treatment efforts in the area of child abuse and neglect have shown exceptional merit. Recognition is given to public practitioners, private practitioners, and corporate/business, volunteer, and community representatives who have made outstanding contributions to the field of child welfare in Virginia.

2016 Award Recipients


Fredericksburg Department of Social Services Protective Services Team

The Fredericksburg Department of Social Services (FDSS) Protective Services Team, led by Supervisor Shannon Hartung, implemented the Safe Sleep Program in October 2012. Since that time, the FDSS has provided over 225 portable cribs and countless educational materials to the community. This program is the only one of its kind in Planning District 16 and funding is made possible solely through donations, community grants and staff fundraising efforts.

Ford Flannagan
Company Manager, Virginia Repertory Theatre – Richmond

Ford Flannagan is on staff at Virginia Rep and has directed 28 productions of the award winning child sexual abuse prevention play “Hugs and Kisses.” His skill as a director has ensured the continuous quality of the productions and he has done exemplary work in preparing the cast of actors to handle the sometimes difficult questions asked by the young audience members after the production.

Kathryn Jessee
Sr. Community Programs Specialist – Chesapeake

Kathryn Jessee is responsible for the implementation and growth of the City of Chesapeake’s Comprehensive Plan for Youth. Her work and dedication has been instrumental in addressing child abuse, parental engagement, partnerships, and systems’ changes to ensuring children get a healthy start, enter kindergarten with the appropriate skills, and succeed in school.

Lisa Wright
Trauma Focused Treatment Coordinator and Trauma Informed Community Network (TICN) Coordinator, Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) Inc. – Richmond

Lisa Wright serves as the Program Coordinator for Greater Richmond SCAN’s Child Advocacy Center’s Trauma Focused Treatment Program and coordinates logistics for the Trauma Informed Community Network (TICN) that SCAN leads and convenes.   Lisa’s work in both of her roles has helped shape both the practice and policy levels of trauma informed care for hundreds of children.



2015 Award Recipients

Eastern Region Child Fatality Review

The Eastern Region Child Fatality Review Team is to be commended for its 20 years of service, for the recommendations and data contained in its annual reports, and for the value of their fatality reviews in contributing to community education and advocacy around the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Meaghan Gordon
CPS Family Service Specialist III, Charlottesville Department of Social Services – Charlottesville

Meaghan Gordon’s career thus far has been devoted to serving children and their families. She has a reputation as a source of support and expertise with child protective services, domestic violence, and mental health and substance abuse disorders. Colleagues and community partners have commended her for her devotion, genuine desire to help, ability to use best practices, and find alternative solutions to difficult problems.

Paul McWhinney, MSW, ACSW, MAPA
Deputy Commissioner of Programs, Virginia Department of Social Services – Richmond

With a long history of public child welfare experience, Paul McWhinney was one of the driving forces behind the Virginia Children’s Services System Transformation. Paul helped bring about a paradigm shift in the relationship between agency workers and families that has had a positive impact on human services work and had resulted in a decrease in the numbers of children in Virginia’s foster care system.

Dr. Allison Sampson-Jackson, PhD, LCSW, LICSW, CSOTP
CEO, Integration Solutions, Inc. – Chesterfield
Trauma Informed Care Operations Manager, Richmond City DSS – Richmond

Dr. Sampson-Jackson provides trauma informed care consultation, education and technical assistance to human service organizations interested in furthering their integration of trauma informed child and family service systems. She was one of the early members of the Trauma Informed Community Network (TICN), a group of trauma-informed champions and service providers in the greater Richmond area who have been instrumental in bringing pilot trauma informed service programs to Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond DSS.

Ms. Michele Thames, M.Ed.
Forensic Interviewer Supervisor, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Child Abuse Program – Suffolk

Michele Thames is a Forensic Interviewer Supervisor at CHKD’s Child Abuse Program.  She has created a Regional Peer Review, is a board member of the Child Advocacy Centers of Virginia, and faculty of ChildFirst Virginia.  She helped create a therapy dog program and created CHKD’s Child Abuse Program’s Facility Dog program where an expertly trained dog named Pecos is a part of all of their services.  Ms. Thames and Pecos were invited and went to Washington D.C. to be a part of the Presidential Inauguration Walk.

Dr. Viola Vaughan-Eden, PhD
PhD Program Director, Norfolk State University – Norfolk

Viola Vaughan-Eden is Associate Professor and PhD Program Director with The Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work, Norfolk State University.  As a clinical and forensic social worker, she also serves as a consultant and expert witness in child maltreatment cases.  Dr. Vaughan-Eden is President of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work, Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services’ CASA/CJA Programs, and Immediate Past-President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.

To view past recipients, click here.