Statewide Services | Chapter Services | Staff and Board | Financials

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

In 2021, we yearned for a return to “normal” and were met with more change and upheaval. As COVID-19 continued to impact our daily lives, we began to rebuild the ways we connect with one another and support the children and families in our communities.

At the Minnesota Children’s Alliance (Alliance), some things stayed the same. We continued our work with children’s advocacy centers (CACs) and multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) across the state, hosted high-quality virtual trainings, and supported federal policy work to ensure the future sustainability of funding for services that support healing from abuse.

And some things changed. After a year of stay-at-home orders and school closures from 2020 and into early 2021, children began returning to school in person. As people gathered more frequently, our CAC members reported an increase in child maltreatment cases at their centers.

CACs never closed their doors during the pandemic, and our work is just as critical as ever. In total, over 3,000 children and adolescents received services from a CAC in 2021. They and their caregivers accessed comprehensive support in the aftermath of abuse.

At the end of 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory on the mental health crisis young people in this country are experiencing. The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released its annual data book, which estimated that an additional 1.5 million children in the U.S. are struggling with depression and anxiety than before the pandemic.

What happens in childhood can deeply shape the rest of our lives. That’s why the Alliance, our member CACs, and all of the professionals responding to child abuse and maltreatment show up each day. Collectively, we help kids heal from abuse, and we thank you for your commitment to do the same.

With Gratitude,

Marcia Milliken, MA
Executive Director
Minnesota Children’s Alliance



Cheyenne Orcutt, MSW, LICSW
President of the Board of Directors
Minnesota Children’s Alliance

Learn more about growing services and support for teams, children, and families.

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Helping Kids Heal From Abuse

Minnesota Children’s Alliance (Alliance) is a membership organization that works with local communities to effectively and efficiently respond to allegations of child abuse.

Our statewide coalition of children’s advocacy centers (CACs) made a difference in the lives of over 3,000 children and adolescents in 2021. They and their families accessed comprehensive, trauma-informed support and services in the wake of reported abuse and maltreatment. What does that support look like? Let’s break it down by the numbers.

3,000+ kids and adolescents received support from a Minnesota CAC

Comprehensive and Trauma-informed Services

Our Services

Through training, technical assistance, research, and public policy change, we strengthen the multidisciplinary teams and (CACs) that help children, adolescents and families heal and thrive after abuse.

State Chapter Support for CACs and MDTs

Capturing the true scope of child abuse and maltreatment is a challenge because many people never disclose their experiences. Even so, we know that an estimated 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. In 2020, over 5,000 kids in Minnesota were the subject of a report of sexual abuse report.2 While Minnesota CACs provided support to many of those kids, not all had access to a center.

As a statewide organization, the Alliance works to expand access to these services. Through support and technical assistance to CACs and multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs), training for professionals in the field, public policy advocacy, and development of pilot projects, we strive to ensure all children in Minnesota get the support they need.

Service Growth Over Time

The Alliance transitioned to a staffed, full-time state coalition to help expand services to kids and families in 2010. Over the past 12 years, the number of CACs and children receiving services has grown, but more work remains to be done. CACs depend on federal and state agencies, foundations, and fundraisers to build local CACs.

Fiscal Sponsorship Allows Redwood Falls to Open 501(c)3

A new CAC with a seasoned staff opened its doors in Southern Minnesota in 2021. While Redwood County had been operating with a county-based CAC for several years, it became increasingly clear that the local community needed a standalone, non-profit organization in order to meet the needs of Redwood and neighboring counties.

In late 2020, the team identified the need for this transition and coordinated closely with Alliance Executive Director Marcia Milliken to make the change. While the team worked to create the infrastructure for a new organization, the Alliance served as a fiscal sponsor so that services could continue uninterrupted.

“Without the fiscal sponsorship, I fear we would have had to shut down and not been able to operate while we were building the structure. This allowed us to continue keeping our doors open to support kids and families uninterrupted,” said Sarah Reynolds, executive director at Child’s Place.

By the end of 2021, Child’s Place opened its doors with a newly acquired 501(c)3 status. Now an independent organization, the team provides services to children and families throughout the region.

Public Policy and Expansion Funding

In 2015, the Alliance secured $400,000 in annual funding through the Minnesota Legislature. The funding is dedicated to the development and expansion of CACs and CAC services in Minnesota. To date, $2.4M has been invested by the state in this growth, helping the movement grow from seven CACs in 2010 to 13 centers with two additional satellite locations in 2022. The comprehensive nature of services has also grown, with CACs pursuing innovative practices to extend mental health access throughout the state.


The Alliance hosts training to provide ongoing advanced skill development for professionals working in the field of child abuse response. In 2021, 250 people attended training, totaling 800 hours of continuing education for frontline workers.

Forensic Interview Peer Review

Forensic Interviewers at Minnesota CACs had the opportunity to join a statewide peer review program in 2021 for the first time ever. While other organizations provide peer review at the national level, the Minnesota program – housed at the Alliance with development support from staff at CornerHouse and First Witness – is unique in that it caters specifically to the CornerHouse and Child First ® interview protocols and uses a group facilitation model that supports the development of leaders in the field.

In its first year, the Alliance hosted 11 sessions for 27 interviewers and resulted in a total of 160 continuing education hours to support professional development, best practice, and accreditation standards.

In a year-end survey, respondents rated the peer review program as 4.5/5 stars overall, and 40 percent reported that their confidence in conducting a forensic interview increased.

Overall Program Quality (4.5 stars)


“As someone who has only been interviewing for a little over two years, it is incredibly helpful to hear from those with lots of experience in the field during these meetings!”

“Getting to hear different perspectives and thoughts from people all over with different levels of experience and different protocols is very helpful.”

“I think the balance achieved by everyone taking on different roles each session…it promotes equity and increases value”

Peer-to-Peer Learning

As a statewide resource, the Alliance convenes roundtables for professionals to build community and share information, experiences, and support for colleagues working through challenges.

“What is most helpful for me is when our team is stuck with a tough situation or needs expertise we can call and talk through and get that support. Also providing a safe space to talk about the struggles throughout our work.”

“The value of the directors connecting with each other and with Marcia …is impossible to measure. We have connections to each other, to resources, to sounding boards which all lead us to be better leaders of the CAC movement and to feel heard and collaborate.”

Technical Assistance

Growing Center Capacity with Case Management

The Child and Family Advocacy Center of South Central Minnesota (CFACSCM) first opened its doors to serve children and families in and around Blue Earth County in 2019. Since then, the Center has grown in the number of cases they serve each year. Growth in services means that tracking cases and the support provided to families is becoming more complicated. Accurately reporting statistics to funders and accrediting organizations can also be a real challenge.

The Alliance provides technical support for case management and tracking through NCATrak as a member service. In 2021, Alliance staff partnered with CFACSCM to update their system. This shift allows the Center to track services and statistics in one central place.

Crystal Lemke, administrative assistant and forensic interviewer at the Center, took the lead in customizing the software to meet these growing needs. “We want, on a state level, to run similarly to others, so having technical assistance from the Alliance helps work out any challenges that may come down the road. Then everyone has the same system that we’re using consistently,” said Crystal.

Now, CFACSCM can report statistics with the click of a button. In a growing CAC where the staff wears many hats, this shift can save hours of valuable time that can be dedicated to working with families to ensure their needs are met.

Alliance Staff and Board of Directors

The Alliance relies on the support and expertise of our staff and Board of Directors to work towards our purpose of helping kids heal from abuse.

Alliance Staff

» Brittney Forrest, Finance and Operations Manager
» Marcia Milliken, Executive Director
» Katie Rojas-Jahn, Director of Program and Strategy
» MaiXi Ye, Administrative Support Specialist

Alliance Board of Directors

» Cheyenne Orcutt, Chair
» Stacy St. George, Vice Chair/Secretary
» Kate Cox, Treasurer
» Ellen Case, Member
» Mark Hudson, MD, Member
» Brandon Jones, Member
» Julie Marthaler, Member
» Jodie Sunderland, Member

Contact Us

Marcia Milliken

Prior Annual Reports


For the 2020 Calendar Year

Total revenue: $743,709
Total expenses: $663,473

» Program: $553,684 (84%)
» Management and general: $95,142 (14%)
» Fundraising: $14,647 (2%)