A Publication of WTVP

As administrator of the Heart of Illinois Safe from the Start program at The Center for Prevention of Abuse, Sara Dillefeld manages the daily operations and staff oversight of the program, which helps to provide support, education and counseling to children who have been exposed to violence in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties.

She builds and sustains the Safe from the Start coalition, a consortium of 30 human services organizations working together to help families who are experiencing violence, and is also responsible for program development, grant writing, data collection, training and conferences, and marketing and public relations.

Dillefeld first joined The Center for Prevention of Abuse in 1996, but circumstances required her family to move out of state two years later. In 2006, she and her family returned to central Illinois, and Dillefeld became a court advocate for The Center. She was promoted to her current position in 2008.

Dillefeld serves on many boards and committees, such as Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership, where she sits on the Family/Schools Community Coalition; the Early Childhood Forum of Central Illinois, where she organizes the annual legislative breakfast; the Youth Service Network panel, where she is involved in the Hands Around the Courthouse Committee; and the Tri-County Child Abuse Prevention Council, where she organizes its annual Strengthening Families events.

A frequent speaker on topics involving children and violence, Dillefeld has presented at the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence Annual Children’s Advocacy Conference, the Methodist College of Nursing and statewide Mental Helth and Child Abuse Development summits. Recognized as an Emerging Leader within The Center for Prevention of Abuse, she played a significant role in the organization winning The Heartland Partnership’s Community Wealth Award.

In addition to her professional duties, Dillefeld continues to work for children’s social and emotional health by strengthening collaborative efforts to promote healthy families and educating the community on the effects of violence on children. A dedicated leader in her demanding roles at both home and work, she is a caring, intelligent and strong person whose commitments have never wavered. iBi