Clinical Team

  • Mark Parr, MSW
     Executive Director
  • Carrie Estrada, LCSW
    Assistant Director
  • Andrea Beita, MS 
     SFTS Counselor
  • Olivia Bus, BSW
     Intake Coordinator
  • Elizabeth Diaz, MSW
    Bilingual Therapist
  • Andrea Espinosa, MSW 
     Bilingual Advocate
  • Cara Liace, LSW
    Family Advocate
  • Robin Palmissano, Psy. D.
  • Melanie Pignotti, LPC
    Forensic Interviewer
  • Jessica Salgado, MSW
    Forensic Interviewer 
  • Fernanda Sanchez, LMFT
    SFTS Counselor
  • Kate Schultz, LCSW
     SFTS Counselor
  • Alicia Vega, BA
     Bilingual Advocate
  • Kara Zenni, MSW
    Family Advocate

Development and Administration

  • Simone Wheeler, CFRE
     Director of Development
  • Ali Boggio-Hair
    Development Coordinator
  • Jessica Brenner, MS
    Communications Coordinator
  • Yvonne C. Davis
    Accounts Manager

Intern Program

Sydney D'Andrea
2016 - 2017 Intern

Mark Parr, MSW

Executive Director

Mark Parr is the Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Illinois with more than thirty years of experience providing services for children and families in a variety of settings, including residential treatment centers, community mental health clinics, and Children’s Advocacy Centers.

Mark has been the Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County since 1998. Prior to coming to the Children’s Advocacy Center, Mark worked as Clinical Director of the Columbus Hospital Child Protection Center in Chicago, Illinois (1996-1998) and as a Supervisor of Forensic Services at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois (1989-1996). Mark received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his Master of Social Work from Loyola University.

Carrie Estrada, LCSW

Assistant Director

Carrie has been the Program Coordinator with CAC’s Safe from the Start program since January 2013. She has worked with young victims of trauma in multiple settings including residential programs, school based counseling services, domestic violence shelters and most recently in the clinical division of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Carrie has experience working in psychiatric hospitals as well as conducting individual, family and group therapy sessions. Carrie has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2008. She completed her undergraduate degree at Northern Illinois University in Family Social Services in 1997 and earned her Master of Social Work  from Loyola University, Chicago in 2001.

Andrea Beita, MS

SFTS Family Bilingual Case Coordinator/Counselor

Andrea studied psychology in San Jose, Costa Rica. She began her career as a therapist in Chicago in 2004 to provide therapy for children victims of sexual abuse. From 2004 until today, Andrea has been part of mental health, domestic violence and abuse programs, providing therapy in English and Spanish for children and their families.

Andrea has training in domestic violence, child sexual abuse, sand therapy and basic training in EMDR therapy. She received her Master of Social and Family Violence from Universidad Estatal a Distancia, and licensed as a psychologist at the University Fidelitas, San Jose Costa Rica.

Olivia Bus, BSW

Intake Coordinator

Olivia Bus interned in 2012  and in July 2014 became a part of the staff as Intake Coordinator. In her role at the Children's Advocacy Center, Olivia schedules forensic interviews which includes working with the families, law enforcement, the Department of Family and Children Services and the State’s Attorney’s Office. Olivia is usually the first person from the Children's Advocacy Center whom the families have contact with.

In 2012, Olivia graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with her Bachelor in Social Work. Olivia’s previous experience includes serving families, children and adolescents by supporting and empowering them through case management and education about child development.

Elizabeth Diaz, MSW

Bilingual Therapist

Elizabeth Diaz is a Child and Adolescent Bilingual Therapist at the Children's Advocacy Center. Elizabeth started in early 2015 to provide individual and group therapy for children who have experienced sexual abuse and their non-offending caregivers.

Elizabeth holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago where she focused on Cognitive Behavioral Therapies including Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), mindfulness, and motivational interviewing. Elizabeth also holds two Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Music from Loyola University Chicago. Elizabeth brings her experience in providing individual and group therapy and crisis intervention with children, adolescents, adults and their family systems. In addition, Elizabeth is trained to work with individual with behavioral or emotional deficits, adjustment disorder, depression, ADHD and developmental disorders including autism spectrum disorder and dyslexia.

As a professional flutist, Elizabeth is a strong advocate for the use of music, theater and other arts as forms of intervention, prevention and rehabilitation for children who require therapeutic services. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the International Association for Social Workers with Groups.


Andrea Espinosa, MSW

Bilingual Advocate

Andrea Espinosa is a Bilingual Family Advocate. She earned her Bachelor in  Social Work at Northeastern Illinois University in 2014, and a Master of Social Work from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2015. Andrea’s previous experience include providing case management services to children and families in foster care, treatment counseling for children and adolescents, conducting job readiness workshops for single mothers, and working with homeless and at-risk populations. 

Andrea feels very passionate about the importance of providing case sensitive support services and resources to families that will also help empower them throughout their healing process. At The Children’s Advocacy Center, she provides case-management, court advocacy, and bilingual services for families.

Cara Liace, LSW

Family Advocate

Cara Liace is a Child and Family Advocate at The Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Iowa in 2008 and her Master’s in Social Work at Dominican University in 2016. Cara spent five years working with youth experiencing homelessness prior to pursuing her master’s degree and completed two internships in community mental health centers, providing case management and counseling services. Cara has a passion for working with survivors of trauma and works to provide supportive case management services to the children and families at The Children’s Advocacy Center.

Robin Palmissano, Psy.D.

Robin Palmissano, Psy.D., received her doctorate from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Hoffman Estates Department of Health and Human services and completed her post-doctoral fellowship at The Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County. She has experience working in community mental health agencies, schools, hospitals, and private practices. She has worked with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Dr. Palmissano has training in general psychology, and currently focuses on providing evidenced-based treatment to children and families who experience trauma. Dr. Palmissano’s clinical interests include trauma, attachment-based interventions, spirituality, developmental psychology, play therapy, and psychology across the lifespan.

Melanie Pignotti, LPC

Forensic Interviewer

Melanie Pigotti is a Forensic Interviewer at The Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County. She earned her Bachelor in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Iowa State University in 2004 and her Master of Mental Health Counseling from Walden University in 2010.

Melanie came to CAC with many years of experience as a forensic interviewer. She also has worked in a residential treatment center, as a victim advocate, and as a counselor for victims and witnesses of abuse as well as women with depression and anxiety. Melanie is currently pursuing her counseling licensure or LPC.

Jessica Salgado, MSW

Forensic Interviewer

Jessica Salgado is a Forensic Interviewer at The Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County.  She earned her Bachelor in Social Work at Northeastern Illinois University in 2013, and her Master of Social Work from Aurora University in May 2015.  Jessica has a passion for working with the Hispanic community, particularly children and families who have experienced trauma.

Jessica’s previous experience includes working with at-risk homeless, domestic violence victims, and families who are in crisis. 

Fernanda Sanchez, LMFT

Bilingual Therapist

Fernanda is a bilingual therapist at Safe from the Start. She provides services in both English and Spanish. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and her Master of Marriage and Family Therapy from Northern Illinois University. 

Fernanda enjoys working with children/adolescents and their families. Her clinical interests include trauma, depression/anxiety, and relational therapy. Fernanda’s previous experience includes providing individual and family therapy in an outpatient setting, working with women and children who have experienced domestic violence, and working with children and adolescents who have been victims of emotional/physical/sexual abuse.

Kate Schultz, LCSW

SFTS Family Bilingual Case Coordinator/Counselor

Kate interned in 2012 with the CAC and in January of 2013, became a part of the staff as a contractual Child & Family Therapist. Kate’s experience includes working with victims of domestic violence. She has specific expertise in the areas of crisis intervention, legal advocacy, and counseling work.

Currently, Kate is working with children and non-offending parents in providing therapeutic services that include individual short term and crisis intervention counseling as well as co-facilitating support and psycho-educational groups. Kate received her BA in Political Science from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and her Master’s in Social Work degree with a concentration in Community Mental Health from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne in Urbana, IL.

Alicia Vega, BA

Bilingual Advocate

Alicia has been a Bilingual Child & Family Advocate at the Children’s Advocacy since 2001 and she has been in the field of Child Abuse for over 17 years. Alicia is a compassionate and a dedicated advocate for the Latino Community. Alicia provides bilingual services to meet the needs of Spanish speaking families with children that have experienced sexual abuse.

In her role as an advocate, Alicia provides case management, court advocacy, and provides counseling referrals, as well as other service referrals to community agencies. Alicia received her BA in Sociology from DePaul University and continues to attend Master level courses.

Kara Zenni, MSW

Family Advocate

Kara is a Child and Family Advocate at The Children’s Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County. She earned her Bachelors in Social Work at Auburn University in 2014, and a Masters of Social Work from The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration in 2016. In her role as an Advocate, Kara supports children and families through case-management, court advocacy, and counseling.

Kara’s previous experience includes providing case-management services for children and families suffering from HIV/AIDS and homelessness as well as conducting individual and group therapy in a school setting for children suffering from developmental and intellectual disabilities, social skills, mental illness and trauma.

Simone Wheeler, CFRE

Director of Development

Simone Wheeler became the Director of Development for the CAC in October of 2012. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Simone came to CAC with vast non-profit and business experience in the United States and abroad. She has worked with Chicago organizations including Volunteer Center in Arlington Heights, Wellness Place in Inverness and The Children’s Place Association in Chicago.

Simone is responsible for developing short and long range giving programs, procurement of major gifts, selection and writing of foundation grants, corporate giving and special events.

Ali Hair

Development Coordinator

Ali Boggio-Hair became  Development Coordinator in September 2013. Ali graduated from UW-Madison with a B.A. in psychology. Her interest in psychology and background in working with children originally brought her to the CAC as a volunteer. Through volunteering she discovered her interest in development.

As Development Coordinator, Ali is responsible for volunteer management, special events, and development research.  

Jessica Brenner, MS

Development Communications Coordinator

Jessica Brenner became Development Communications Coordinator in January 2016. Jessica holds a Master of Sport Management with an emphasis on event planning and fundraising and a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Administration. Jessica has a background in working with nonprofits who specifically help deserving children which drew her to CAC. She previously worked at the Lake Geneva Fresh Air Association where she planned programs and raised funds for free outdoor programs for Chicago's inner city youth. 

As Development Communications Coordinator, Jessica is responsible for all marketing and communications as well as other development initiatives. 

Yvonne C. Davis

Accounts Manager

Yvonne C. Davis became Accounts Manager in July 2013. Yvonne graduated from Drake University with a B.A. in International Business. Yvonne has more than 15 years of experience as a bookkeeper and office manager. Her knowledge of Quickbooks and most database programs helps keep her clients’ records clean and efficient.


Sydney D'Andrea


Sydney is currently a clinical intern with the Children's Advocacy Center. Sydney is working on her Master Degree in Social Work with a concentration in child and family at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Social Work at Northern Michigan University in 2015.

Before interning with the Children's Advocacy Center, Sydney interned at a domestic violence shelter and also with the Allendale Association. She has previously worked as a Behavioral Health Counselor with Centegra Health Systems. Sydney looks forward to learning new skills and connecting with new clients throughout her internship.