Here at the Champaign County Children’s Advocacy Center, we are dedicated to your safety and well-being in times of stress and crisis. We have several combined years of experience and want you to feel comfortable in our facilities.
Kari Miller, Executive Director
Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice
A native of Champaign, Illinois, Kari has been supporting, advocating, and working to protect children for over 20 years. Kari began her professional career shortly after graduating college as a paraprofessional social worker’s assistant, providing case management to children in foster care. She then worked as an Assistant Director for a daycare and ultimately was promoted to Director, followed by Program Coordinator for an Early Intervention program serving children with disabilities. Kari was the program coordinator of a child and adolescent program serving children with mental health impacts in Indiana, then became the Child & Family Services Manager at Champaign County Head Start upon returning to the area. In 2017, Kari became the Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Champaign and Ford Counties.
Elizabeth Lebs, Family Advocate
Originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Elizabeth brings over 5 years of diverse experience working with children and families to her new role as Family Advocate. While pursuing her degree, Elizabeth worked as a math tutor and nanny. During summers back in Iowa, Elizabeth served as a substitute teacher in the local HeadStart program. She then moved to Oahu, Hawaii where she continued working with children in preschool and church settings. Upon her husband’s military retirement, Elizabeth moved back to the Midwest and joined the CAC because of their common dedication to those in need. Additionally, Elizabeth’s degree included extensive cultural studies that uniquely equipped her to respond to all families with understanding and equity. In every role from section leader in her high school marching band to nannying, Elizabeth has shown her compassion and determination. As Family Advocate, Elizabeth is committed to providing clients the knowledge, resources, and individualized care they need to build healthy, resilient families.
Mary Tewell, Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Coordinator / Forensic Interviewer
Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice
Associate’s Degree in Therapeutic Recreation
Certified Forensic Interviewer
Mary Tewell is our Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Coordinator and a Forensic Interviewer. She worked with children and families for over 30 years for the Urbana School District. She has experience in classroom management, coordination of services for homeless families, and office management. The MDT Coordinator position was added to the CAC in 2017 to establish and maintain open communication and healthy relationships with all partner agencies. Mary facilitates dialogue with Child Welfare and Law Enforcement Investigators related to information sharing for cases needing forensic interviews, joint investigations, and case review. Mary leads the monthly MDT case review meetings to ensure team members (law enforcement, mental health, attorneys from the State’s Attorney’s office, mental health practitioners, and Department of Children & Family Service investigators) work together to develop the best course of action for the child victim and their non-offending caregiver. Mary’s experience with children, families, and office management has been a welcome addition to the CAC team.
Mary Bunyard, Forensic Interviewer
Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education
Certified Forensic Interviewer
Mary Bunyard is our Forensic Interviewer and has over 22 years of experience as a law enforcement officer where, as a member of the Crisis Negotiation Unit, she received City Commendation for positive resolution of a high-profile case. For 11 years, Mary was a detective and received Department Commendation for excellence in investigating crimes against children. Mary has been a certified Forensic Interviewer for over 15 years, starting as a detective at the Children’s Advocacy Center before the CAC had an interviewer on staff. After retiring from the Champaign Police Department, her experience as a detective who was assigned to cases involving crimes against children, her working relationships with medical, social work, education, and law enforcement agencies, and her experience testifying in court, Mary was a welcomed addition and was hired as a Forensic Interviewer and Community Educator. Mary’s expertise is instrumental in providing services to children at the CAC.
Governing Board and Staff
The Children’s Advocacy Center is administered by a Governing Board whose role is to:
- promote interdisciplinary communication and training personnel from various Champaign County offices, agencies, departments, and local service providers
- supervise, oversee, and communicate policy for the operation of the Children’s Advocacy Center
- make reports to contributing officers, agencies, and departments as may be required
- act as a liaison to the multidisciplinary professionals involved in the Children’s Advocacy Center.
The following offices/agencies are represented on the CAC’s Governing Board:
- Carle Clinic
- Champaign Police Department
- Mental Health Practitioner
- Champaign County Probation and Court Services Department
- Champaign County Sheriff’s Office
- Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office
- Champaign-Ford Counties Regional Office of Education
- Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
- Illinois State Police
- Mahomet Police Department
- Ford County State’s Attorney’s Office
- Rantoul Police Department
- University of Illinois Police Department
- Urbana Police Department