Melissa Strompolis, Ph.D.
Director of Research and Evaluation
In overseeing research and evaluation, Melissa engages in program evaluation, data integration, and facilitation of community-based action. She leads the South Carolina Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Initiative and KIDS COUNT South Carolina. Additionally, she is an ACE Master Trainer and has numerous publications and presentations on ACEs.
She is an affiliate faculty member at the Institute for Families in Society in the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina and the Yvonne and Schuyler Child Development Center in the College of Education at USC.
Melissa volunteers as a guardian ad litem for Richland County CASA, an organization that advocates for any child referred by family court in this county. She also was elected as a member at large for awards and membership for the Society of Community Research and Action (SCRA), Division 27 of the American Psychological Association.
Aditi Srivastav Bussells, Ph.D., MPH
Research and Community Impact Manager
I tell stories through data and research to advocate for policies that promote equity, opportunity and resilience for all of South Carolina’s kids.
Aditi is responsible for leading research efforts around child maltreatment to promote child health and well-being. She oversees the South Carolina Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Initiative, including managing data dissemination and translation, providing guidance for the ACE training program, and developing the Empower Action Model, which is a tool for community-based prevention. Aditi also manages the KIDS COUNT project by overseeing research and data products, developing data visualization products, and supporting policy initiatives.
Prior to joining Children’s Trust, Aditi worked at AcademyHealth in Washington, D.C., managing the ACE initiative and overseeing interest groups across public health topics. She has also worked at the American Academy of Pediatrics on federal policy issues and the National Institutes of Health on cancer prevention projects.
Aditi received her Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health as a Doris Duke Foundation Fellow. Aditi holds a master’s degree in public health from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in American government from the University of Virginia. Her research interests include health communications, health equity, child health policy, and social determinants of health. She currently is serving as a member of Columbia’s Complete Count Committee for the 2020 U.S. Census.
Montana Cain, Ph.D.
Investing in and advocating for children, especially the marginalized and most vulnerable, is a necessity. As an evaluator, I work with stakeholders not only to critically examine the impact on the outcomes and experiences of children and their families, but also to ensure that initiatives are effective for and relevant to the communities they serve.
Montana implements, coordinates, and monitors evaluation activities for the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) and the Strengthening Families Program (SFP), trainings, parent partnerships and coalitions. She also partners with staff on quality improvement initiatives and manages the development of our web-based evaluation system.
She holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in educational psychology, measurement, and evaluation. Coupled with eight years of evaluation experience, she has 10 years of teaching experience, including seven of them as a K-12 Spanish teacher. Montana most recently served as a research associate with the Research, Evaluation and Measurement Center at the University of South Carolina, where she led the evaluation of programs, conducted research studies, supported assessment projects, and managed graduate students.
Community Coalitions Assistant
I am thrilled to use my skill sets and appreciation for detail and organization to assist in the prevention of child abuse and neglect. It has always been important to me that my work positively impacts people and their opportunity for a better quality of life.
Lakeala provides organizational and administrative assistance to the community coalitions manager in support of the Child Well-Being Coalition, Empower Action Coalition, and parent advisory councils developed within the research and evaluation department.
With a bachelor’s degree in international business administration from Lees-McRae College (N.C.) and corporate business study certification from Hannam University (South Korea), Lakeala came to the organization from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA – Campus Ministry staff at the University of South Carolina. She also has extensive experience with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
Research and Evaluation Graduate Assistant
A doctoral student at the University of South Carolina in clinical-community psychology, Colby provides support to the Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT project, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Initiative, and state data team. He reviews state and national data sets, performs data analyses, conducts literature reviews, prepares dissemination materials, and integrates data into internal and external efforts.
With a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brigham Young University, Colby is interested in health and well-being outcomes from underserved communities. He previously worked with adolescents with learning disabilities in clinical group home settings and also served as a special education coordinator for a Montessori elementary school.
Amy Moseley, M.A.
Community Coalitions Manager
I connect people and programs to the everyday actions of prevention so that they can create change for children and families through their work in South Carolina.
Amy coordinates the activities of the South Carolina Child Well-Being Coalition and manages the oversight of the community coalition and parent advisory work of the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) grant and the Empower Action Community Framework.
The Palmetto State native, who has a bachelor’s degree in counseling and Bible from Southern Methodist College and a master’s degree in counseling from Trevecca Nazerene University, has served children and families in South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee through direct service and program management in the fields of foster care, sexual assault, disability and maternal-infant health.
Amy is a certified trainer in protective factors through the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds, an ACE Interface master trainer, a Triple P Level 2 trainer and a Strengthening Families group leader. Amy currently serves on both the National Prevention Committee for the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and the board of directors for the S.C. chapter of APSAC.
Dana Powell, M.Ed.
Parent and Community Engagement Coordinator
I believe that when children thrive, there is hope for a better world.
In her role, Dana establishes parent advisory councils, empowers parent members to be advocates for all parents in their community by engaging in community coalitions, and ensures parents have the tools and resources they need to guarantee protective factors are in place both for them and their children.
Prior to joining Children’s Trust, she worked with the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy for nearly 10 years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and secondary education from Carson-Newman University and a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from the University of South Carolina. In addition, Dana is a certified speaker, trainer and coach with the John Maxwell Team.
Community Education Manager
I believe we have to make connections to better serve families and strengthen communities.
Michael fulfills training and workforce development needs with a focus on the statewide Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Initiative. He leads our train-the-trainer workshops and creates professional development and peer networking opportunities. He also is a facilitator for Empower Action coalitions and assists with the biennial Building Hope for Children Conference. A certified trainer in ACEs and the protective factors, Michael previously guided statewide awareness campaigns as communication manager.
His experience growing up as the only biological child in a foster family exposed him to the widespread issues of child abuse and neglect. It was this experience that led him to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector, especially in support of child welfare. Before joining the organization, Michael served Anderson Interfaith Ministries (AIM) with roles in marketing communications, development and community relations. He’s a graduate of Anderson University with a bachelor’s degree in business marketing.