Friends of the Child Advocacy Center
FROM THE DIRECTOR'S DESK
FROM THE DIRECTOR'S DESK
Happy New Year! As I reflect on the past year, I undoubtedly find myself thinking of the more than 300 children who crossed our threshold and I am reminded of why the services we provide are so incredibly important to each and every one of them. Our mission demands that we keep the child first, and that is exactly what we do! Knowing that a child who is understandably feeling a bit nervous or anxious when they first come into our CAC, leave us a comment that says “They helped me,” “The people were extremely kind, understanding, and not judgmental,” or I felt better when I left” literally takes my breath away. This is a testament to our dedicated and compassionate staff and multidisciplinary team partners – from the advocate who provides them endless support, the forensic interview specialist who empowers them to use their voice, the child protective services and law enforcement investigators who ensure their safety, the medical team who assure them their body is okay, the therapist who helps them normalize their feelings, to the prosecutors who will seek justice on their behalf. However, even more than that though, it is a testament to the astonishing bravery of the children who found the courage to disclose, to speak their truth, and their caregivers who believe them and support them through the process! They are the true superheroes of our story.
Here at the CAC, we are not ones to rest on our laurels and this past quarter has been no exception. Among the daily services we provided to children and families, we began our teen support group HOPE (Healing Opportunities Promote Empowerment) and participants have been actively engaging in activities, the Reading with Heiress Program traveled to Frederick County libraries and educated more than 60 children and their caregivers on body safety and healthy boundaries, staff and partners delivered and participated in many hours of professional development training, the Friends of the CAC provided Thanksgiving meals and holiday gifts to benefit more than 80 children, and last but certainly not least, we welcomed our newest staff member, Chantell Brooks, Services Supervisor, who will among other things be monitoring, evaluating, and innovating our service programs. And to begin this new quarter, Kristen, Heiress and I are so excited to be traveling to the San Diego International Conference on Child & Family Maltreatment and to Huntsville for the National Children’s Advocacy Center International Symposium on Child Abuse to deliver our workshop presentation, “Facility Dogs – Thinking Outside of the Box” – we’ll share that experience and pictures next time around!
As I’ve said before, none of this significant work would be possible without our dedicated staff, our amazing multidisciplinary team partners, and our greatest cheerleaders and supporters, the Friends of the CAC. On behalf of the children and families we serve, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Stay safe and take good care,