The Kane County Child Advocacy Center has a new executive director.
Debra Bree, 38, who has been interim director since former director Lori Chassee resigned in August, officially took over the position last week.
She was assigned to the Child Advocacy Center almost four years ago as lead attorney. She said her latest role is one she’s passionate about.
“Any time you talk about the area of child advocacy – these children and families are vulnerable, and you do anything you can do to be a voice for them,” she said. “It’s something I have a passion for. It’s very rewarding.”
State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said he received outside applications and also searched internally for a new executive director. He said he’s looking forward to working with Bree, victims’ families and outside agencies.
“I’m excited about her leadership ability, not only working with victims and their families, but with outside agencies, and investigating cases thoroughly and making sure the victims’ families receive the proper emotional support,” he said.
Bree, who has been an assistant state’s attorney for 13 years, has served in numerous legal roles, including the narcotics division and traffic misdemeanors divisions. She said she started in the abuse and neglect courtroom when she became an assistant state’s attorney.
She graduated in 1996 from Illinois State University and earned her juris doctor in 1999 from DePaul University College of Law.
Bree said as executive director, she hopes to examine the office’s strengths and identify areas that can be improved. She wants to get the word out that her office can assist with numerous cases that involve children as victims or witnesses.
“We have some of the best forensic interviewers,” she said. “Our services can really encompass the community’s needs.”
The Kane County Child Advocacy Center is a member of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Illinois and is accredited through the National Children’s Alliance, according to a news release.
The office works to minimize stress on children and their families and to ensure that treatment is available to every child who has been abused.
The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office in 2012 investigated 285 cases that alleged sexual misconduct against children and charged 38 people.