For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
November 5, 2015
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks announced today that the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) and two Deputy District Attorneys (DDA) received recognition at the annual Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Task Forces’ Kristine Nagy-Johnson awards banquet held Tuesday evening. These awards recognize outstanding community service by individuals and groups who work in the area of child abuse and neglect.
The Washoe County Child Advocacy Center received the award for Outstanding Program in honor of superior cooperation and quality of service in the delivery of a child abuse prevention and treatment program. The CAC opened in 2014 and is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of prosecutors, law enforcement, medical professionals, counselors, advocates and social workers. Each member of the team is dedicated to the investigation and successful prosecution of criminals who victimize children in our community. The center is a partnership between the District Attorney’s Office, The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Reno and Sparks Police Departments, Washoe County Social Services and other local law enforcement agencies. It serves as a centralized facility dedicated to the needs of child victims of crime and their families. Since its opening, children who are crime victims are no longer subjected to repeated interviews in an unwelcoming environment. To date, over 500 victim interviews have been conducted and successful prosecutions of these difficult cases have increased.
Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hicks accepted the award on behalf of the CAC. DDA Nicole Hicks was instrumental in the creation of the Child Advocacy Center. She serves as the CAC’s director and specializes in the prosecution of crimes committed against children
Deputy District Attorney Kathleen Baker received the award for Individual Performance for her work representing Washoe County Child Protective Services (CPS) and volunteering with the Washoe County Foster Parent Program. The award identifies exemplary personal or professional service by an individual and recognizes their outstanding interest and concern in the protection of children who are victims of abuse or neglect. DDA Baker has been with the District Attorney’s Office for 12 years and is currently assigned to the civil division, where she specializes in child welfare cases involving abused and/or neglect children. Prior to the DA’s Office, DDA Baker was with the Family Violence Unit of the National Counsel of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and practiced family law. In addition to a dedicated career representing children, DDA Baker is a volunteer instructor with CPS where she helps foster parents better understand the child welfare system.
Deputy District Attorney Alison Testa was nominated for her work in the Civil Division representing the Department of Social Services and the interests of children under their care. This nomination recognized DDA Testa’s outstanding work and highlights her commitment as an advocate for children during court processes addressing issues of parent responsibility and the placement or removal of children who are victims of abuse and/or neglect. DDA Testa has been with the District Attorney’s Office for over 5 years and is one of 8 attorneys assigned to ensure the protection and safe placement of children under CPS care. DDA Testa has a special interest in addressing the problem of domestic violence in our community. She regularly volunteers her time as an instructor and mentor at the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Nevada.