Those are the two words I take away from this morning’s meeting.
Catherine Hereford, our speaker from the National Children’s Advocacy Center, says that the Center focuses mainly on sexual abuse cases. She sees despondent, sad, hurt children come to the Center - and after treatment, children leave hopeful, strong, and optimistic about their future. How amazing is that?!
The NCAC uses a multidisciplinary approach to work a case from disclosure to prosecution. The Center has a child-friendly area where victims only have to tell their story one time. From there, the medical professionals, therapists, district attorneys, DHR, and police agencies work together to get justice for victims. Children no longer have to bounce from sterile office to sterile office telling their story over and over again, reliving their trauma.
Huntsville’s NCAC is the first of its kind. More than 800 centers in the U.S. and around the world model themselves after this CAC here in our town!
The NCAC also has several prevention programs, such as SCAN (Stop Child Abuse & Neglect), where children in our schools learn about personal safety, Internet safety, and bullying. There is so much information on their website. I personally plan to explore the Parents section: http://www.nationalcac.org/prevention/for-parents2.html.
For all the horrible real-life traumas out there, we have hope. “Children are resilient,” Catherine says. But they need our help. It is everyone’s job to look out for our children. And I thank God that there are people who choose to work in this field every day. With their daily dedication - and donations - we have the power to change the course of the future.
The NCAC relies HEAVILY on the community for volunteers and donations. The NCAC always needs volunteers. It can be something as easy as face painting at the Fun Run or a larger commitment such as 3 hours a week in working with the SCAN program. They always need clerical help - or help planning events.
Some of you have asked what you can do if you could not attend today’s meeting or April 12’s Fun Run. Here is the link to donate: https://27490nationalcac.thankyou4caring.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=298. One hundred dollars pays for a therapy session. Twenty-five dollars pays for all the snacks during a child’s entire treatment. You can feel good about every dollar you donate to the Children’s Advocacy Center.