Who We Are - The UP Institute
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Who We Are

We provide upstream interventions and strategies for reducing adverse childhood experiences and promoting resilience so children and families can have positive, supportive, and healthy relationships.

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Our Team

Stacie Schrieffer LeBlanc, JD, MEd
Executive Director – UP 4 Champions

Stacie LeBlanc, JD, MEd is CEO and co-founder of The UP Institute, a think tank for upstream child abuse solutions and the executive director of UP for Champions, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) providing programs and services to child maltreatment professionals.

Ms. LeBlanc began her career as a child abuse prosecutor more than 25 years ago. She opened Child Advocacy Centers in rural and urban parishes in Louisiana, became the chief of the Felony Child Abuse Division, and began the Family Violence Program. She received the “Outstanding Prosecutor Award” from Victims and Citizens Against Crime for the unit’s 94% conviction rate and the prosecution of a 20-year-old child rape case, which garnered national media attention.

Ms. LeBlanc serves on several state and national boards including as Immediate Past-President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. She was the Founding Director of the New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center and Audrey Hepburn CARE Center, two nonprofit programs for Children’s Hospital New Orleans that treat more than 1,500 children annually. She serves on the executive committee of the National Initiative to End Corporal Punishment and as Chair of the National No Hit Zone Committee.

Stacie regularly teaches on the prevention of child sexual abuse. In 2017, she launched the Child Advocacy Studies Training (CAST) Program as an adjunct professor at Tulane University. CAST is a nationally recognized curriculum training students how to effectively respond to child maltreatment utilizing a multidisciplinary approach.

Stacie has received numerous recognitions for her advocacy and was recognized for 11 successful legislative amendments. In 2008, she was named the Champion for Children for Policy and Legislation by Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana. In 2010, the Health Care Hero Award by New Orleans City Business and in 2012, received the FBI Directors and Community Leadership Award. Stacie was honored by Victims and Citizens Against Crime with the Lifetime Achievement Award (2015) for her contributions to the field of child maltreatment. Most recently, Stacie is the 2022 recipient of the Distinguished Contribution to Child Advocacy Award by the APA Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice.

Stacie has a Juris Doctorate from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law and a Master of Education in Early Childhood Development from the University of New Orleans.

Viola Vaughan-Eden, PhD, MSW, MJ
President and CEO – UP 4 Champions

Viola Vaughan-Eden PhD, MSW, MJ is COO and co-founder of The UP Institute, a think tank for upstream child abuse solutions, and president and CEO of UP for Champions, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) providing programs and services to child maltreatment professionals.

Dr. Vaughan-Eden is Professor and PhD Program Director with the Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work at Norfolk State University.  As a forensic and licensed clinical social worker, she serves as a consultant and expert witness in child maltreatment cases – principally sexual abuse.  She has provided mental health services to trauma victims and their families in Southeastern Virginia for more than 35 years.  She has also evaluated and/or consulted on more than 3000 cases of child maltreatment and provided expert testimony more than 600 times, having served as an expert witness throughout Virginia as well as several other states and three branches of military courts.

Dr. Vaughan-Eden is president emerita of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC), president emerita of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence (NPEIV), and past-president of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work (NOFSW). She serves on the executive committee of the National Initiative to End Corporal Punishment and as a member of the National No Hit Zone Committee.  She lectures nationally and internationally on child and family welfare to multidisciplinary groups of professionals. In 2021, Dr. Vaughan-Eden was appointed to the Beau Biden Foundation for Child Protection.

Dr. Vaughan-Eden is author of several child abuse related articles and book chapters. She is co-editor of the six-volume 2022 NPEIV Handbook of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Across the Lifespan and serves on the editorial board of several peer reviewed journals. Dr. Vaughan-Eden was a panelist on two congressional briefings – Spare the Rod, Protect the Child: A Reconsideration of Corporal Punishment of Children in Homes and Schools (November 2015) and Protecting Child Safety in Family Court (September 2016).

Viola is the recipient of several awards and honors including the 2020 Sol Gothard Lifetime Achievement Award, 2019 Council of Social Work Education Leadership Scholar, 2015 Family and Children’s Trust Fund of Virginia Child Welfare Award, 2014 Champions for Children Community Service Award, 2012 National Association of Social Workers Virginia Chapter Lifetime Achievement Award, and 2011 National Children’s Advocacy Center’s Outstanding Service Award in Mental Health. She is also the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Individual in Academia from the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy.

Viola has a PhD in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master of Social Work from Norfolk State University, and a Master of Jurisprudence in Children’s Law and Policy from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Our Board

Kirsten S. Ericksen, PhD, MSW



Breshell Jackson-Nevels, PhD, MSW



Greg L. Mahan, LCSW

In Memoriam


Lorrie Brennan
Chief Program Officer