Who We Are

team teachers leading class

Committee for Children is a global nonprofit dedicated to fostering the safety and well-being of children through social-emotional learning and development. We are the world’s largest provider of research-based education programs that have helped over 9 million children in 26,000 schools develop vital social-emotional skills to avoid violence, bullying, and sexual abuse. From Iowa to Iraq, Chile to Chicago, we are helping children around the globe stay safe, respect themselves and others, succeed in school today, and build a better world tomorrow.

Leading with Passion Toward Our Vision:
2015–2016 Report to the Community

Our Vision

Safe children thriving in a peaceful world

Our Mission

To foster the safety and well-being of children through social-emotional learning and development

How We Came to Be

teacher and student

In the mid-1970s, University of Washington cultural anthropologists Drs. Jennifer James and Debra Boyer conducted a landmark research study about what led youth into prostitution, and they found that a remarkable percentage had been sexually abused as children. This prompted them to establish a nonprofit in 1976. This mission of Committee for children today has not strayed from the goals of its founders. Our programs are still research-based and designed for ease of use by parents and educators, and are routinely scrutinized, tested, and improved.



  • Committee for Children programs reach more than 9 million children across the United States, Canada, and around the world.
  • Steps to Respect ®: A Bullying Prevention Program is released and soon reaches more than 350,000 students across the United States and Canada.
  • Researchers at the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning award high marks to the Second Step and Steps to Respect programs.


  • Committee for Children celebrates its 20th anniversary.
  • Committee for Children programs are distributed in all 50 states, every province and territory in Canada, and 12 other countries.
  • The Second Step program and Segundo Paso supplement for Spanish-speaking children reach approximately 7 million students.
  • Approximately 70,000 educators in 70 cities receive training in Committee for Children programs.
  • Second Step materials are introduced in Norway and Germany.
  • The Talking About Touching curriculum reaches children in the Philippines.
  • The PARTNERS project, a program to grant Second Step curricula and staff training to under-funded schools, serves 5,000 elementary students.
  • The What Do I Say Now? Parent video is produced to accompany the Talking About Touching program.


  • The family component of the Second Step program for elementary grades is created.
  • The PARTNERS project is developed to donate programs to a limited number of financially needy schools.
  • Regional training is offered for educators teaching Committee for Children programs.
  • The Segundo Paso Spanish-language supplement to the Second Step program is created for Preschool–Grade 5.
  • An educational video, Facing Up, is produced to help prevent bullying and youth violence.
  • The Second Step program expands to serve Grades K–8.


  • The organization formally becomes Committee for Children.
  • Judicial Advocates for Women changes its name to Seattle Institute for Child Advocacy, with a mission of preventing child and adolescent victimization. Its curriculum is updated to include a broader reach, a Spanish-language Emmy award-winning video, and presentations to educate about sexual abuse.
  • With funding from Washington State and the Junior League of Seattle, Committee for Children creates the Talking About Touching program, a skills-based personal safety curriculum for Kindergarten–Grade 6.
  • The review committee unofficially refers to themselves as the Committee for Children.
  • Seattle COYOTE changes its name to Judicial Advocates for Women and forms a curriculum review committee to research sexual abuse prevention.
  • Researcher Jennifer James and a group of University of Washington social scientists collaborate with Seattle COYOTE to conduct a research project on youth entrance into prostitution.



26,000 schools reaching over 9 million children globally. About Committee for Children (PDF)

Spokespeople and Experts

Joan Cole Duffell

Joan Cole Duffell, Executive Director

Over the past 30 years, Joan Cole Duffell has been an educator, writer, and leading advocate for positive outcomes for children, focusing on promoting children’s social and emotional skills and the prevention of child abuse, bullying, and other forms of violence.

Following her years teaching in a therapeutic program for abused children, she led Committee for Children’s U.S. marketing and outreach efforts from 1983 to 2002. During this time she developed partnerships with organizations across Europe, Asia, and Latin America in order to bring culturally adapted editions of the Second Step program to children and families across the globe.read more

She also advised numerous Catholic dioceses and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in their efforts to implement research-based sexual abuse prevention programs in order to establish safe environments for children in their care. After 2002 her work focused primarily on expanding national and global partnerships. She accepted the position of Executive Director in 2007. In this role she has led the organization to place an emphasis on integrating program offerings, collaboration among colleagues, and higher-level issue advocacy in order to advance commonly shared goals. She serves on the board of directors of several nonprofits focused on education, early learning, and child well-being; was co-chair of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, & Emotional Learning’s (CASEL) Program Provider Council; and co-chairs the Public Awareness Committee of the National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse. She received the Superhero for Washington Families Award from ParentMap magazine in 2010, as well as the Jack Morris, SJ, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in 2013.

She is particularly passionate about Committee for Children “walking the talk” of social-emotional learning in its internal workings and its advocacy and partnership among colleague organizations in order to fully realize the organization’s vision: “Safe Children Thriving in a Peaceful World.”


John Hults

John Hults, Chief Operating Officer

As chief operating officer, John Hults manages Committee for Children’s strategic planning from a business and operations standpoint. With experience as a leader of strategic business partnerships and chief financial officer at Global Scholar, John brings a strong finance and operations background to the team. Before joining Committee for Children, John founded two successful digital imaging companies, Azul Images and Blue Jean Images, which operated in international markets. John’s previous positions include director of financial analysis and process at McCaw Cellular/ATT Wireless and vice president of financial planning and analysis at Getty Images.

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, Chief Technology Officer

After initially bringing his technology, managerial, and business expertise to Committee for Children’s New Mission Ventures Task Force as an advisor, Mike Harrington moved into the Chief Technology Officer role. Mike’s experience spans several successful tech companies including Microsoft, where he worked as a software developer and manager, and Google, where he worked following the acquisition of his photo-editing company, Picnik. Additionally, Mike co-founded gaming company Valve and Catnip Labs. A leader in technology strategy, Mike brings a strong engineering, leadership, and entrepreneurial background to the organization as CTO.

Tia Kim

Tia Kim, PhD, Director of Programs, Partnerships, and Research

Tia Kim leads the development and evaluation of Committee for Children’s programs. She is committed to enhancing their quality, effectiveness, and reach through innovation, partnerships, and rigorous, continuous improvement processes.

Dr. Kim received her doctorate in developmental psychology at the University of California, Riverside, and completed three years of post-doctoral training at the Academic Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention where her research focused on the etiology and prevention of youth violence and aggression.read more

She served as an Assistant Professor in the department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State, Brandywine, for three years before taking her current position at Committee for Children.


Lyscha Marcynyszyn

Lyscha Marcynyszyn, PhD, Senior Research Scientist

Lyscha Marcynyszyn designs, implements, and manages evaluation studies on education and prevention programs. She is passionate about conducting applied research that can mitigate risk factors and improve life-course outcomes for children and youth.

Dr. Marcynyszyn received her doctorate in developmental psychology from the Department of Human Development at Cornell University, where her graduate work focused on child development in the context of adversity.read more

She has written over a dozen peer-reviewed publications on topics ranging from family instability to the effectiveness of parenting programs delivered in child welfare settings. Before her current role at Committee for Children, she worked for five years as a Research Analyst for Casey Family Programs.


Brian Smith

Brian Smith, PhD, Research Scientist

Dr. Smith received his doctorate in social welfare from the University of Washington, where he studied prevention science and focused his research on the development and evaluation of interventions to promote positive youth development and prevent youth problems. Before that, he spent eight years working as a counselor and social worker in K–12 schools. Since 2005 he has been a Research Scientist at Committee for Children, where he works on developing and evaluating school-based social-emotional learning programs.

Mia Doces

Mia Doces, MEd, Director of New Mission Ventures

Mia Doces is exploring new avenues for broadening Committee for Children’s mission impact. Before taking this role, she worked for seven years with the talented research and development team in creating Committee for Children’s social-emotional learning and bullying prevention curricula and trainings. She works on state- and national-level youth initiatives, serving on the Washington State legislative anti-bullying work group and advising organizations such as Sesame Workshop and the Born This Way Foundation on bullying prevention and social-emotional learning.read more

Ms. Doces holds a BA from Vassar College and a master of education from Western Washington University. She has 15 years of media production experience with an emphasis on educational media, and her work was recognized with a 2011 CINE Golden Eagle award.

Ms. Doces worked for five years in Seattle Public Schools as a teacher and school counselor. From 2007–2011, she co-chaired Prevention Works in Seattle, a Drug Free Communities coalition.


Bridgid Normand1

Bridgid Normand, MEd, Program Development Manager

Bridgid Normand has been a teacher, school counselor, child and family therapist, parent educator, and community prevention specialist. Since 2001, she has been a program developer at Committee for Children. She works with a team of other developers and researchers to create research-based programs that teach self-regulation and social-emotional skills to children in developmentally and culturally appropriate ways. She led the organization’s revision of its comprehensive prevention program for elementary school students: Second Step: Skills for Social and Academic Success. She has recently been the lead developer for the Second Step Child Protection Unit.read more

Bridgid holds a BA with honors in European studies from the University of East Anglia, a post-graduate certificate in education from the University of London, and a master of education from the University of Washington.

Bridgid’s career has been dedicated to helping children thrive in every area of their lives. She is committed to finding effective ways for all children to learn a core set of social-emotional skills that give them the chance to succeed in school, in their relationships, and throughout their lives.


Andrea Lovanhill

Andrea Lovanhill, Director of Marketing and Client Relations

Andrea Lovanhill has worked for Committee for Children since 2007. She oversees all aspects of client and product support for and marketing of the Second Step program. Andrea holds a masters in communications in digital media from the University of Washington. She has been working in the field of social-emotional learning for more than eight years and in nonprofit management for more than 10 years.read more

Her past experience includes working with nonprofit organizations and schools to build products and marketing campaigns designed to engage kids and families in conservation, social-emotional learning, bullying prevention, and child safety. Her academic and career focus is on how nonprofit and social enterprises can build digital experiences and use other technology to improve their own products and help schools boost social-emotional competencies.


Kelsie Longbrake

Kelsie Longbrake, Director of Finance and Operations

As the Director of Finance and Operations, Kelsie Longbrake contributes to high level day-to-day and strategic operations while also overseeing the company’s finances, facilities, operations, human resources, and warehouse. Kelsie is a key leader on the management team and a valuable team member on the board finance committee.read more

She has worked for Committee for Children since 1998, beginning as an accountant then taking on multiple management positions before moving into her current role as Director of Finance and Operations. Kelsie holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from City University of Seattle and has over 20 years of experience in the field.



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  •  800-634-4449
  •  206-343-1223
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    (Pacific time)
  •  2815 Second Ave., Suite 400
    Seattle, WA 98121


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