Jessica Seitz, Executive Director
Jessica Seitz was named Missouri KidsFirst Executive Director on August 1, 2021 after serving as the agency’s Director of Public Policy for nearly four years. As Executive Director, Jessica is responsible for implementing the overall mission and policies set by the Board of Directors, including overseeing operations of the organization, developing and maintaining a strong funding base, increasing public and private awareness of the organization, developing and maintaining relationships of partner agencies and representing the organization on a local, state and national level.
As Policy Director, Jessica successfully advocated for an improved response to child abuse across the state including services from Child Advocacy Centers and the SAFE-CARE network and for policies promoting the prevention of child abuse. Among her legislative achievements are the passage of a requirement to provide trauma-informed, developmentally-appropriate sexual abuse prevention education in schools and the historic “Residential Care Facility Notification Act” which created safeguards for children living in unlicensed boarding schools. She also spearheaded the #Essential4Kids campaign to educate adults on how to recognize and respond to child abuse and neglect during the COVID-19 pandemic, a campaign which reached thousands of people across the country.
Jessica joined Missouri KidsFirst after spending more than six years in federal government relations in Washington, DC with YMCA of the USA and the National PTA. She began her career in politics at the state-level as a lobbyist for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Originally from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Jessica has BA in Politics from Brandeis University and is finishing a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs with a focus on nonprofit management from the Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. She lives in St. Louis with her husband, Ryan, an attorney and native Missourian. In her free time, she is a devoted baseball fan.
Meg Boyko, Training and Education Program Manager
Meg Boyko joined Missouri KidsFirst in September 2021 as the Training and Education Program Manager. In this role, she provides oversight, development, and direction for Missouri KidsFirst’s programs that provide training to direct service staff of child advocacy center (CAC) staff and multidisciplinary team (MDT) members. She works collaboratively with partners and stakeholders to promote best practices in the field and improve Missouri’s statewide response to child abuse and neglect. Meg has over ten years of experience in nonprofit programs and, prior to joining Missouri KidsFirst, served as the Executive Director of the Teen Pregnancy & Prevention Partnership (TPPP).
Meg holds a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from NYU and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. In addition, Meg is active in the community as a Steering Committee member of Thread STL, a professional association of community partnership and coalition leaders in the St. Louis region and an Advisory Committee member of The Right Time initiative, a six-year initiative that is based on the simple belief that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue the future they want, including if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant. Meg lives just outside of St. Louis in Kirkwood, MO with her husband, two kids, dog and chickens. Outside of the office, you can often find her playing Pokémon Go or reading a library book.
Patrick Hughes, Manager of Operations
Patrick began his tenure with Missouri KidsFirst as Manager of Operations on September 1, 2021, after serving as Assistant Director at Judevine Center for Autism for nearly seven years. As Manager of Operations, Patrick is responsible for administering and developing Missouri KidsFirst’s organizational functions, information systems, and financial controls. He supports project management across the organization in partnership with program leads, while planning and managing the nonprofit’s operational budget.
As Assistant Director of the St. Louis Hub for Judevine Center for Autism, Patrick created and implemented operational processes to extend and improve administrative functions. In Judevine’s residential services, he was also instrumental in fostering independent supportive living arrangements for consumers in the community, supervising a diverse team of managers and frontline healthcare workers, and collaborating with medical professionals, parents, and community groups for delivery of exceptional consumer care.
Patrick joined Judevine after spending more than 17 years with Magellan Behavioral Health, managing client mental health through a nationwide network of providers as a Clinical Care Coordinator. As a project manager, he worked closely with mental healthcare professionals in multiple communities, marketed the Magellan network, and enlarged the practitioner population through the implementation of national contracts.
Originally from South Bend, Indiana, Patrick has a BA in Psychology from the University of Missouri at St. Louis, where he now lives. A devoted gardener, Patrick spends as much of his free time as possible enjoying Missouri’s natural environment.
Rebecca Bax, SAFE-CARE Program Manager
Rebecca started working at Missouri KidsFirst in February 2018 as the SAFE-CARE Program Specialist and she deeply values the work of Missouri KidsFirst’s programs. Now as Program Manager, she coordinates all of the Network’s medical-forensic trainings, tracks provider requirements, maintains provider records, coordinates the activities of the three medical resource centers, and communicates with active SAFE-CARE providers. Rebecca previously worked in the field of disability advocacy and holds a Master’s degree in History. She’s an avid reader and movie lover.
Deirdea Mason, Program Assistant
Deirdea joined Missouri KidsFirst as the Program Assistant in the spring of 2020. She assists the SAFE-CARE Program Manager and Training & Education Program Manager in providing training and support to the CAC staff, medical providers and other professionals providing services to reported victims of child abuse and neglect in Missouri. Deirdea previously worked for the Department of Social Services and The Missouri Bar. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.
Board of Directors
- Harold Bland, M.D., F.A.A.P.
- Rod Chapel
- Bryna Edwards
- Jack Jensen
- Chris Kelly
- Emmy McClelland
- Keith Ray Mackie
- Genny Nicholas
- Brandon Nicklas
- Jessica Pabst
- Steven Renne
- B. T. Rice