Executive Director
Melissa "Liss" Haviv

Clinical Director
Dr. Neil Kirkpatrick


In 1978, ten year old Missy Sokolsky was  abducted from New York by her mother, who used a stolen, forged baptism certificate to begin life under a new identity.  As law enforcement and a slew of private detectives scoured the country in search of Lee and Missy Sokolsky the fugitive mother and daughter became Sharon and Melisa Hart, emerging out of thin air on the other side of the country.  In her early 30’s, Melissa (Hart) Haviv founded Take Root, to help fellow victims of child-abduction overcome its legacy and share their insights. Today, she is considered a leading expert in the victimology of child-abduction and child-centered best-practice responses.

In 2001, Fulbright Scholar Melissa Haviv discovered that what had happened to her as a child was a crime called “family abduction” and that it had happened to others. She also discovered that although excellent services and resources existed to support families searching for missing-children in all types of abduction cases no specially designed programs were available to help abducted children recover once located - not just in family abductions but in all types of child abduction cases.  Knowing firsthand that the trauma of abduction does not disappear the day a missing child is found, Melissa began a crusade to expand America’s missing child response “beyond recovering missing children to helping missing children recover.” 

Today, Melissa is a leading expert on the victimology of long term child abduction. She is the visionary pioneer behind Take Root, a landmark missing-child nonprofit that adds data collected from primary victims to the public and policy discourse on child-abduction, using understanding of the child victims’ experiences and needs to close gaps in missing child services and knowledge. The agency provides aftercare support to abduction victims and channels the emergent watershed program data and insights into best-practices, advocacy initiatives and landmark training for multidisciplinary response professionals.  Melissa’s work and research through Take Root has informed numerous key response agencies including the US Department of State Office of Children’s Issues and missing child nonprofits and law enforcement agencies around the globe. She provides training and consultation for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the United States Department of Justice, among many others, and presents workshops and keynotes at conferences across the country.  Her written work on child abduction has appeared in professional journals, magazines, and federal government publications.  Colleagues in the missing-child service field have called her contributions to the field “revolutionary,” “game changing,” and “essential.”

NeilpDr. Kirkpatrick received a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont and completed his predoctoral internship at Morrison Child & Family Services in Portland Oregon. He has considerable training and experience in providing individual and family cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat a wide range of problems. Dr. Kirkpatrick has worked extensively with parents around responding effectively to their children's feeling and building safe, emotionally supportive, and structured home environments. He also specializes in anxiety disorders, trauma, and working with treatment resistant suicidal adolescents and adults. Dr. Kirkpatrick has consulted extensively over the last five years in the juvenile correctional system, working with incarcerated youth and their families. Dr. Kirkpatrick holds appointments as a staff psychologist at Evidence Based Treatment Centers of Seattle, as a clinical faculty at the University of Washington, as a consultant to the Experimental Educational Unit at the University of Washington, and is currently opening the Behavior Therapy Center of Tacoma, where he will serve as Clinical Director.



There would be no Take Root without the Rooters : former victims turned victors who join in community to share their experiences, supporting one another and educating the world.