Our Staff

Administration

Laura Laura Jennings-Mitchell, LCSW, LSOE, LSOTP
Executive Director
Laura Jennings-Mitchell earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Knox College in 2001, and completed her Master of Social Work degree at Illinois State University in 2003.  Laura has been serving ABC’s kids since 2003, starting as an intern, and hired as a Sexual Abuse Therapist upon her internship completion. In 2009, Laura was promoted to Clinical Director, supervising many clinical staff and continuing to help children affected by sexual abuse as a therapist. Laura is also a Licensed Sex Offender Evaluator and Treatment Provider. In July of 2017, Laura Jennings-Mitchell was appointed ABC’s Executive Director.
  Lynn
 Lynn Willard, MA, MSW, LCPC, LCSW, LSOE, LSOTP
Founder & Former Executive Director
Lynn Willard earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Illinois State University in 1974 and 1975 respectively. She completed her Master of Social Work in 1992 at the University of Illinois. She has worked in child welfare for nearly 25 years, and has done clinical work in sexual abuse since 1990. Lynn started ABC Counseling and Family Services in 1992 to meet the needs for child sexual abuse assessment and treatment. She stepped down as Executive Director in June of 2017 and now provides therapy in ABC’s Peoria office.
 Melissa  Melissa Box, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Director
Melissa graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011 with a Masters in Social Work and a Masters in Human and Community Development. She completed two internships with ABC, in 2010 and 2011, and was hired immediately after. Melissa earned her Bachelors of Science in Child Development and Human & Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University in 2007, and has worked in early childhood education as both a teacher and an administrator. Melissa has experience working in ABC’s adoption program, and is working toward a certification in Play Therapy. Melissa works in the Normal office and is also responsible for Medicaid compliance and billing. She was appointed Clinical Director in July of 2017.
Scott Scott Nafziger
Accountant

Scott is a graduate of Illinois State University. He has been working at ABC since 2005. Scott takes care of the accounting function in the office.
amanda-b  Amanda Black, BA
Development and Marketing Director
Amanda earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 2002. She worked as the Adoption Supervisor at ABC from 2004-2014, as well as the Director of Fundraising and Public Relations for several of those years. Returning in 2016, Amanda now works as the part-time Development and Marketing Director. She coordinates ABC’s Gifts from the Heart fundraising event.
Angela Labertew
Office Manager/Billing Coordinator 
Angela came to ABC part-time in April 2017 and accepted the position of Office Manager/Billing Coordinator in July. She is a graduate of Evangel University in Springfield, MO, where her oldest son is currently attending. Her family of 5 moved here from the Chicagoland area July 2015 for her husband’s job. She comes to us with years of experience in management and administration. Angela has spent over 20 years volunteering for nonprofit organizations, enjoys serving others and looks forward to greeting you upon arrival.

Counselors

Stephanie Adams, MA
Sexual Abuse Therapist, Springfield
Stephanie Adams earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Sociology from Benedictine University in 2010, and completed her Master’s degree in Human Development Counseling at University of Illinois in Springfield in 2016. Stephanie started at ABC as an intern and was hired as a sexual abuse therapist.
Amber Amber Allen, MSW
Sexual Abuse Therapist, Champaign
Amber graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2013 with her undergraduate degree, majoring in psychology. Amber has experience working with a wide range of clients, including youth on probation, youths in residential and individuals in need of crisis intervention. Amber started at ABC as an intern in 2014 and was hired on as a sexual abuse therapist upon her graduation with her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign in May 2015.

Kathleen Kathleen Bautista, LCSW
Clinical Supervisor, Springfield
Kathleen earned her Bachelors Degree from Illinois State University in 1994 and Masters Degree from Illinois State University School of Social Work in 2009, with a concentration in Child and Family Practice.   She received her Clinical License in Social Work in 2011.   Kathleen brings over 21 years of experience working with children and and their families, in the areas of abuse, neglect, trauma, behavior disorders, developmental disorders, and transition. Kathleen serves children in both the Springfield and Normal offices.
meganf Megan Fitzsimmons, MSW
Sexual Abuse Therapist, Champaign and Decatur                                           Megan Fitzsimmons earned her Bachelors in Social Work from Illinois State University in 2013. After graduating, she worked for 3 years as a foster care family worker. Although she enjoyed her work with foster families, she sought to work more specifically with children. Megan obtained her Master’s in Social Work in 2016 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Megan completed her internship with ABC Counseling in August 2016 and began working for the agency after obtaining her degree. Megan works in our Champaign and Decatur offices.
Sister Sarah Roy, MSW
Sexual Abuse Therapist, Springfield                                                                           Sr. Sarah received her Masters of Social Work degree with a concentration in School Social Work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2002.  She spent her undergraduate years at the University of Illinois where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development and Family Studies in 2000.  She previously worked as a school social worker for rural schools in Champaign County.  Sr. Sarah has also worked as a retreat director and spiritual counselor for college students at the University of Illinois.  Most recently, she has worked as an addiction therapist at a women’s residential treatment center offering both individual and group therapy.   She began as a Sexual Abuse Therapist in the ABC Springfield office in 2016.
 bree Bree Leathers, BS
Adoption Specialist, Normal
Bree graduated from Illinois State University in 2016 with her Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences Human Development/Family Resources. She was the Adoption Services Intern at ABC during her last semester at ISU and hired immediately after. Bree has worked directly with children and families for over 5 years and has a passion for helping families in their adoption journey.
 Julia  Julia Mendez, BSW
Director of Adoption Services
Julia Mendez, a Bloomington, Illinois native, earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Texas State University in San Marcos.  She served as an AmeriCorps member, working with young mothers living within the Texas foster care system, and worked with a school-based social service agency partnering with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin.  Julia is thrilled to back in Central Illinois, along with her husband, Marcos, and three children.  She is honored to be working with all members of the adoption triad; offering support and tools to birth and adoptive families as they move through the adoption process.
Megan Megan Murphy, MSW, LCSW
Sexual Abuse Therapist and Office Supervisor, Champaign
Megan received her Masters of Social Work degree with a concentration in Mental Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May of 2014. She started as an intern at ABC during 2013 and completed this in May of 2014. Megan spent her undergraduate years at Eastern Illinois University where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and minor in Sociology. She previously worked as a Residential Associate for 3 group homes in the Charleston-Mattoon area which housed individuals with chronic and severe mental illness; their ages ranged from 18-75 years old. Megan also completed an internship during her undergraduate career as a Psycho-Social Rehabilitation therapist intern in which she facilitated multiple group therapies for individuals with chronic and severe mental illness.
Indea Powe, MSW
Sexual Abuse Therapist, Normal and Decatur
Indea Powe graduated with her Masters in Social Work from Illinois State University in 2017. Prior to joining ABC Counseling in May of 2017, Indea interned at Stepping Stones as a sexual assault counselor. Indea also worked at Advocate Bromenn at The Addiction Recovery Unit as a case manager. Indea looks forward to honing her social work skills and developing clinical expertise to better serve children and their families.
 Karen  Karen Tobias, MSW
Sexual Abuse Therapist, Pekin
Karen Tobias received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy & Religion from Illinois College in 2001. She spent over 2 years working with at-risk youth on aggression replacement training skills before moving into a child welfare position. She was a child welfare specialist for over 8 years working with youth and families involved in the Illinois child welfare system. Karen received her Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California in 2014. Karen’s program required her to complete 16 months of clinical internship, the last 8 months was as a therapist in ABC’s Pekin and Peoria offices. She was hired at ABC shortly after her internship ended.
Katherine Katherine Van Horn, MSW
Sexual Abuse Therapist, Normal
Katherine graduated from Marquette University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She started at ABC as an intern in 2016 and was hired upon graduating with her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to this, Katherine worked with children in both child care and research settings. Her research focused on social and emotional learning, as well as interventions for improved self regulation among children.
 Emily Emily Wenger, MA
Sexual Abuse Therapist, Normal
Emily Wenger received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Illinois State University. She graduated with her Master’s of Arts in Counseling from Lincoln Christian University in May of 2016. Emily’s previous work experience is with geriatric clients and an internship at a school system working with children from early childhood through high school. She began her internship with ABC Counseling in August of 2015, and was hired in February of 2016 as a Sexual Abuse Therapist.

 

A special thank you to Therapist and Photographer, Kyle Kovski, for the beautiful employee photographs. Check out his Facebook page, KyMar Photography.