At Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center
we’re building a better, healthier future by ending child abuse one child at a time.
Create a better future by healing hearts today.
We seek to heal and prevent the trauma of childhood abuse and neglect by providing advocacy, child-friendly therapies, and a safe environment for kids to feel seen, heard, and understood. We restore lost innocence, provide hope, and make a difference in all the lives we touch.
Our goal is to one-day end child abuse and neglect. We will continue to be an essential need for our community by providing a child-friendly advocacy model, raising awareness, and educating children on how to protect themselves.
- Lead with love.
- Care with all your senses.
- Be brave. Others will follow.
- Focus on the future.
- Splash in puddles.
- Eat dinner family-style.
- Celebrate the little things.
- Know your facts.
All of our caring, dedicated team members pour their hearts into restoring childhood for the children we serve. Each one of these groups play a critical role in helping ECCAC run effectively so we can heal today’s children and support them in becoming tomorrow’s leaders.
Julie Porterfield, MPA
Chief Executive Officer
Julie is the heart of our organization and the driving force behind our mission. Since our inception, she’s led our team with tenacity, grace, and the unwavering belief that children deserve the best possible future. She is a true voice for the voiceless, and because of her dedication to our mission, she’s been able to elevate those voices to the highest level of our state government and national CAC platforms. While she’s undeniably a warrior in the fight to end child abuse and neglect, she leads with love in all she does, and the children we serve are always her why.
Solange Arnett, M.S.
Chief of Operations
Solange serves ECCAC as a strategic leader, coach, mentor, and team advocate—helping spread awareness of our mission and motivating others to take up the fight. Her extensive background in child welfare, natural leadership abilities, and determination to embrace every opportunity to shine with a spirit of excellence drives our team forward daily as we work to fulfill our mission.
Director of Development & Marketing
Christen leads all marketing and growth initiatives at ECCAC. With years of marketing, event, and business development experience, she brings a courageous and passionate approach to the outreach and growth efforts of our Centers and mission. Family-oriented and community-focused, she believes that we’re all called to the fight to create a safer world for children to thrive.
Lead Mental Health Advocate
A nationally certified advocate, Kerri leads the advocacy program at ECCAC, helping restore hope and health to children and their families through our Centers’ programming. Her fierce dedication and forward-thinking mentality are matched with an equally empathetic heart and warm, smiling face. She’s an example to us all of how walking the journey alongside them can help empower them to keep moving forward to a brighter future.
Debi Riley-Broadnax, MSW
CARES Program Manager
Debi is our very own Champion of Hope, having spent her entire career serving in the social sector and advocating for mothers in need, diligently supporting early childhood education services, and caring for families in need. She now champions our brand new CARES program, helping generate community awareness of critical issues and working to prevent abuse and neglect through shared advocacy, resources, education, and support programs.
Jamie Rickert, LCSW
Jamie joined ECCAC as a volunteer in 2001 and has followed a lifelong passion of working to improve child welfare ever since. She now lends her knowledge and expertise to ECCAC—helping guide and expand the child-friendly, evidence-based therapy programs that restore hope through healing and empower the children we serve to look forward to a brighter future.
Sara is one of our most knowledgeable employees, having held multiple positions over her time with ECCAC. Her strong organizational skills, unwavering belief in our mission, and passion for helping others make her a natural leader and ensure things run smoothly for our team and the children and families we serve.
ECCAC is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors.
Each board member brings a unique perspective and expertise to the organization. From bankers to business owners to foster parents, the board tries to maintain a diverse membership to guide the centers. Directors can serve up to two 3-year terms, so openings do become available.
If you are interested in applying to be on the Board, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an application.
Affectionately knowns as the A-Team.
Our mission would not be possible without the coordination and support of our advocates. Each advocate either has an office in the ECCAC centers or works at one of our centers when necessary—allowing children and their families/caregivers to come to one location for the entire investigation and healing process.
Transformation through therapy.
Allow us to share a story from one of our mental health therapists:
“I had a young man graduate today from therapy. His peer perpetrator will not be prosecuted, but this young man worked his treatment, learned how brave he really is, and was able to say, ‘It was not my fault. I don’t have to be embarrassed for something a *bad guy* did. It’s his fault. I’m brave and I’m loved.'”
Our therapist also noted that the young man had an amazing family who helped facilitate his speedy treatment. It is stories like these that keep us fighting for our children. Thank you for our continued community support that make moments like this possible.
Our next generation of champions.
Our young ambassadors are between the ages of 21-40 and help support the purpose and objectives of ECCAC. They spread awareness of our mission through targeted service, social happenings, and community outreach.
Over the years.
Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center was built through grassroots support from the communities we serve. The motivation for establishing a children's advocacy center that uses a multidisciplinary team response to child abuse in Okaloosa & Walton counties grew out of a high-profile case in the early 1990s.
High-profile abuse case that occurred in a local childcare facility where the daycare owner victimized several little girls.
Individuals from agencies involved in that case, led by the Department of Children & Families and the State Attorney's Office were convinced that there had to be a better response to abuse cases. Together, they formed a Child Abuse Task Force.
The group recommended a children’s advocacy center be built, so ECCAC was formed. Individuals and corporations in the community responded by giving both their time and financial support.
A Capital Campaign Kickoff was held in May, and there was a Groundbreaking Ceremony for the facility centrally located in Niceville, Florida, in April.
Partner agencies signed a Memorandum of Agreement in December.
In October, ECCAC opened its doors to a 13,000 SF child-friendly facility and implemented its advocacy program with little debt, thanks to the amazing community.
The Center became a National Children's Alliance member in January, and NCA accreditation followed soon after.
ECCAC implemented its mental health programs.
ECCAC received its re-accreditation from NCA in June.
Grassroots efforts began to establish the second Center in Defuniak Springs, Florida.
ECCAC received its re-accreditation from NCA.
Pierce Family Center opened its doors to provide services for children in Walton County.
ECCAC implemented its prevention program–raising awareness and educating the communities on critical issues and techniques to prevent and/or report abuse and neglect.
ECCAC receives re-accreditation from NCA.
ECCAC CARES program is launched—a community-based initiative to reach a wider demographic of children who are subject to neglect and lack of resources.
Re-opened office in Fort Walton after fire/flood.
Fort Walton office re-named the Julie Sacco Porterfield Children's Advocacy Center.
kids assisted in 2022
mental health counseling hours
of donations go directly back into our programs
students received prevention education
Rise to the challenge.
Help us restore childhood joy and hope for the future.Become a Champion