OUR TEAM

DEVOTED TO HELPING CHILDREN

PROF. MARCI HAMILTON
CEO & Legal Director

MARCI A. HAMILTON is the Founder, CEO, and Legal Director of CHILD USA, www.childusa.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit academic think tank dedicated to interdisciplinary, evidence-based research to improve laws and public policy to end child abuse and neglect.   She is also the Fels Institute of Government Professor of Practice and a Resident Senior Fellow in the Program for Research on Religion at the University of Pennsylvania.  Before moving to Penn, Professor Hamilton held the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Prof. Hamilton is the leading expert on clergy sex abuse and child sex abuse statutes of limitation (“SOL”).    She has been invited to testify and advise legislators in every state where significant SOL reform has occurred.  She is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press), which advocates for the elimination of child sex abuse statutes of limitations.  She has filed countless pro bono amicus briefs for the protection of children at the United States Supreme Court and the state supreme courts.  She is the co-author of Children and the Law (Carolina Academic Press 2017).

Hamilton is a leading and influential critic of extreme religious liberty and the author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty (Cambridge University Press), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  Hamilton successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) at the Supreme Court in Boerne v. Flores (1997), and defeated the RFRA claim brought by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee against hundreds of child sex abuse survivors in Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. Listecki (7th Cir. 2015).  She has represented numerous cities, neighborhoods, and individuals dealing with church-state issues as well as claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”).   

Hamilton has been honored with the 2019 Distinguished Daughters Award by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf; the 2018 Louis H. Pollak Award for Public Service by the University of Pennsylvania Law School; the 2015 Annual Religious Liberty Award, American Humanist Association; the 2014 Freethought Heroine Award; the 2016 Voice Today, Voice of Gratitude Award; the National Crime Victim Bar Association’s Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award, 2012; the E. Nathaniel Gates Award for outstanding public advocacy and scholarship, 2008; and selected as a Pennsylvania Woman of the Year Award, 2012, among other awards and honors.   She is also frequently quoted in the national media on child sex abuse, statute of limitations issues and constitutional, RFRA, RLUIPA, and First Amendment issues. 

Hamilton clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Professor Hamilton is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, B.A., summa cum laude; Pennsylvania State University, M.A. (English, fiction writing, High Honors); M.A. (Philosophy); and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.   She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif.

DANIEL S. MILLS, MA
Executive Director

Dan Mills is a dedicated father, and a subject matter expert in trauma-informed care. Dan joins CHILD USA with 26 years of child welfare experience and expertise in administration, national training and staff development. Dan received his Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Rutgers University, and his Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Rider University. Dan has devoted his entire professional life to improving the lives of children and adults whom are victims of abuse, neglect and maltreatment. The mission and vision of CHILD USA was what drew Dan to his position, and he is incredibly motivated towards changing the lives of victims.

JILLIAN RUCK
Director, Grants and Projects

Jillian Ruck joins CHILD USA as a former high school teacher, having taught across the country including in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, and Washington DC. Subjects she taught included: Government, AP World History, World Cultures, and US History. Her experience teaching high school is what inspired her to join CHILD USA where she oversees many grants and initiatives, including the Game Over Commission, Family Court Reform, and others.

Jillian received her B.A., double majoring in History and Secondary Education from Villanova University, where she received a Senior Leadership Award. Jillian is passionate about social justice for children and is committed to the mission of CHILD USA in preventing child abuse and neglect throughout the country.

ALICE NASAR HANAN, ESQ.
Part-Time Staff Attorney

Alice Nasar Hanan joined CHILD USA in February 2019. She is a part-time staff attorney and contributes to the legal research, analysis and development of our Statute of Limitations Reform Initiative. She is a former student of Marci Hamilton from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. At Cardozo, she was the recipient of the Dean’s Merit Scholarship, worked as an editor of the Cardozo Law Review, was a legal writing teacher’s assistant and graduated with honors. She received her B.A. in Criminal Justice from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif. Alice began her legal career in New York City at Kasowtiz, Benson, Torres, and Friedman LLP, as a litigation attorney with a focus on complex commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense. Next, she moved to New Jersey with her family and joined a local litigation firm. Alice brings to CHILD USA both her legal expertise and passion for respecting the dignity and legal rights of all children.

Jessica Schidlow Esq.
 Staff Attorney

Jessica Schidlow joins CHILD USA as a Staff Attorney with an extensive background in child welfare. Jessica holds a Master’s degree in Professional Clinical and Counseling Psychology and worked as an out-patient child and family-based therapist before pursing her legal education. After law school, Jessica joined the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office in their Child Advocacy Unit where she represented hundreds of at-risk and dependent youth in their Juvenile and Orphan’s Court proceedings. Jessica is committed to advancing the rights of children and improving the outcomes for court-involved youth by ensuring practices that are trauma-informed and congruent with legal, medical, and social-science research.

Jessica earned her B.A. in Psychology from Temple University, Honors Program. She earned her M.A. in Professional Clinical and Counseling Psychology from LaSalle University, graduating with distinction. Jessica earned her J.D. from of Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law, 2-year accelerated program, where she served as a research assistant and president of the Health Law Society. Jessica is a National Board-Certified Counselor and member of the National Association of Counsel for Children. She also serves on the Children and the Law Committee for the Montgomery County Bar Association and the Children’s Rights Legislative Subcommittee for the Pennsylvania Bar Association. 

Carter Timon, MBDS
Social Science Researcher

Carter Timon joins CHILD USA with experience conducting research in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and having covered such diverse topics as the expression of sexuality in conversation, new religious movements, and the performance of behavioral science. His most recent work focused on increasing therapists’ adoption of evidence-based practice when caring for traumatized children. Carter received his Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania where he specialized in semiotic anthropology. He received his B.S. in Psychology, Linguistics, Anthropology and Sociology from Ursinus College, where he earned the Jessie Ashworth Miller Prize for his work in Anthropology and Sociology. He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Alpha Delta Phi Society. Carter is drawn to CHILD USA by his drive to improve all individuals’ (and therefore our collective, too) wellbeing. 

Elizabeth Allen, M.S.
Social Science Researcher

 Elizabeth Allen joins CHILD USA with a background in child maltreatment research. She graduated magna cum laude from Bucknell University in 2013 with a double major in Psychology and Spanish and a minor in Women’s Studies. Additionally, Elizabeth earned a Master’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University in Human Development and Family Studies where she was part of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network. She is interested in risk and resilience mechanisms following child maltreatment and translating research into practice. Elizabeth is excited to be a part of CHILD USA and is passionate about their mission to protect children and inform child welfare policy.

CHILD USA FELLOW CLASS 2019

ALICE BOHN, ESQ.
Legal Fellow

Alice Bohn joins CHILD USA as a Legal Fellow. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law, where she later worked as the Director of Insurance & Risk, overseeing initiatives to prevent child sexual abuse. As a student, Alice served as the Symposium Editor of the Pepperdine Law Review; she was also a member of the Moot Court team and the International Commercial Arbitration Moot team.

Before law school, Alice worked with International Justice Mission on a national campaign to end bonded labor in India. She graduated from Gordon College with a B.A. in Sociology, having focused her studies on Human Trafficking and Cultural Conflict. Her interest in CHILD USA’s work grows from a conviction that the rule of law must function for every member of society, including our children.

SHAYNA CHERNAK
Postgraduate Fellow

Shayna Chernak joins CHILD USA as a recent graduate from Boston University. She previously interned for CHILD USA and has extensive background with social media, public relations, and media logistics. Shayna received her Bachelor of Science in Communications and a minor in political science in 2019. Her personal and professional experiences have made her passionate about children’s rights. She plans to become a child advocacy lawyer in the future.

SIMONE UNWALLA
Postgraduate Fellow

Simone joined CHILD USA as a Fox Leadership Fellow during her senior year at the University of Pennsylvania and now works as a Postgraduate Fellow. From her experiences as an elite youth athlete and a member of a Division I varsity sports team during college, she is deeply passionate about the issue of abuse in athletics and CHILD USA and the Game Over Commission’s work to protect vulnerable children.

Simone received her B.A. in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, where she served as the representative of student-athletes on the University Council. During college, she interned at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and at the United States Supreme Court. She plans to attend law school and pursue a legal career defending human rights with a focus on women’s and girls’ issues.

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info@childusa.org

215.539.1906

3508 Market Street

Suite 202

Philadelphia, PA 19104

 

 

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