State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess Announces Creation of Child Survivors Justice Program, Hires Kendall Patterson to Lead Grant-funded Program
ANNAPOLIS, MD - Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess is pleased to announce the creation of the Child Survivors Justice Program and the hiring of Ms. Kendall Patterson to lead the program.
Ms. Patterson, a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, will develop the Child Survivors Justice Program which will provide trauma informed training for Assistant State's Attorneys, Victim/Witness Advocates, police officers and other key stakeholders; provide expert testimony on trauma and adverse childhood experiences and participate in community outreach to vulnerable communities. The Office of the State's Attorney's Child Survivors Justice Program is funded by the Children's Justice Act Committee (CJAC) which aims to improve the assessment, investigation and prosecution of cases of suspected child abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse and exploitation, by limiting additional trauma to the child victim and the entire family during the criminal justice process. This program is facilitated by the Governor's Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services (BJAG-2009-9000).
"I am extremely pleased that our office can serve the many vulnerable children we encounter who are survivors of such terrible crimes committed against them. With Ms. Patterson spearheading the Child Survivors Justice Program, we hope to better represent these children through her knowledge and expertise," said State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. "In the role, Ms. Patterson will be responsible for educating our employees and partnering agencies on how to understand and respond to various types of trauma. She will also serve as a key expert in court cases by explaining to judges and juries the behaviors traumatized children might display such as their delayed reporting of crimes committed against them. And, most importantly, she will help our prosecutors in supporting the victims so we can bring their abuser to justice."
Ms. Patterson, who previously worked as a therapist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress, has a background in adverse childhood experiences, trauma informed practices and working with individuals with disabilities. She will utilize this extensive knowledge and hands-on experience while working closely with the Special Victims Unit and the juvenile trial teams in the office.
Since joining the Office of the State's Attorney in November 2020, Ms. Patterson has developed a training program for our police partners on childhood trauma and how it impacts and shapes behavior. In January 2021, she facilitated an office-wide Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) Training, where instructors addressed the science behind childhood trauma and its impact on brain development. She has also become part of an Anne Arundel County multi-disciplinary community resource care team that helps connect children, youth and families in crisis to services and community-based supports. Ms. Patterson is frequently called on to collaborate with Victim/Witness Advocates and Assistant State's Attorneys on proper interviewing of child victims and witnesses and trauma informed support for victims and witnesses in cases ranging from human trafficking to domestic and family violence.
Ms. Patterson received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Davidson College and a master's degree in counseling psychology from Towson University. When she isn't working at the Office of the State's Attorney, she works at a private therapy practice.