Based on a successful national model, our CAC is a collaborative effort of local government and community agencies dedicated to the investigation, treatment and prosecution of child abuse.

The mission of the Lake Sumter Children's Advocacy Center is to provide a child-friendly, community-based facility where a child victim can be safely interviewed, provided with crisis counseling, receive medical exams and long-term specialized therapy, when needed. We work together with agency representatives to provide child abuse victims with all necessary services in a single location.

The CAC also assists in the coordination of investigations and intervention services by bringing together professionals and agencies as a multi-disciplinary team to create a child-focused approach to child sexual and physical abuse cases.

Our philosophy is in accordance with community directives established by the U.S. Department of Justice for victims' rights and services. Our Center is also a Fully Accredited CAC in good standing with the National Children's Alliance.


The CAC works in collaboration with following:

  • Lake County Sheriff's Office
  • Sumter County Sheriff's Office
  • Municipal police departments
  • State Attorney's Office
  • Department of Children & Families
  • Guardian Ad Litem program
  • Other community service agencies


The Lake Sumter Children's Advocacy Center was incorporated in 1997 through a co-operative effort among various law enforcement agencies, other child welfare agencies and concerned community leaders.

With incidents of child abuse rising, the group saw a definitive need for a facility that could offer a safe, child-friendly environment where child victims of sexual and physical abuse could access all necessary services.

Our primary Center is located in Leesburg, Florida, close to the main campus of Leesburg Regional Medical Center for emergency care and follow-up. It is centrally located for law enforcement agencies and the Department of Children and Families, who depend on our thorough and diverse range of quality services. We also operate a satellite office in Wildwood.

In 2010, the Florida Department of Health awarded the CAC the Child Protection Team contract for Lake and Sumter Counties. This enabled the CAC to hire its own medical providers and expand to provide forensic interviews, medical exams and other risk assessments on a 24/7 basis.


Our Board of Directors oversees the fiscal and programmatic aspects of the Center.

  • PRESIDENT: John Rohan; The Villages Community Development Districts
  • VICE PRESIDENT: Katie Stradinger; Properties of The Villages
  • SECRETARY: Vaneese Collins; Community Volunteer
  • TREASURER: Kacie Linton; The Villages Community Development Districts
  • MEMBER-AT-LARGE: Brittany Hansen Fugate; Properties of The Villages
  • Mary Lou Clark; Community Volunteer
  • Kayla Dees; Community Volunteer
  • Sarah Jane Hewitt; Hewitt Companies
  • Meredith Kirste; M. Meredith Kirste, P.A.
  • Dr. Doug Moffett; OB-GYN Associates of Mid-Florida PA
  • Ryan Parent; Community Volunteer
  • Sue Purdy; Community Volunteer
  • Paula J. Stinson; Community Volunteer
  • Jacqueline Summers; Community Volunteer
  • Detective Pam Warren; Sumter County Sheriff's Office

Directors Emeritus

  • Peggy Fuller
  • Chris Heaton
  • Jill McDowell

In Loving Memory

  • Alex Ogilvie III
  • Pete Wahl
Brenda Crellen, Executive Director


Brenda Crellen, M.A., LMHC, NCC, joined the CAC team in November of 2014 as the Clinical Supervisor prior to becoming the Executive Director. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over 30 yeears of experience in the field of child maltreatment and designated Qualified Supervisor. She has previous experience working with children through the Department of Children and Families, Children's Home Society and Lifestream Behavioral Center. Brenda is a graduate of Webster University with an M.A. in Counseling. She earned a certification in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is trained in the use of EMDR and Alternatives for Families Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.