DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – April, is child abuse prevention month.
Wednesday’s Warriors this week focuses on an organization that works to limit the pain of sharing the very personal story of abuse, for children.
The Children’s Advocacy Center For Denton County has put together a formula for helping traumatized children and their families, that starts, the minute a victim walks in the door. The non-profit has helped more than 18,000 clients.
“We want that child or that possible victim, to only have to tell that traumatic incident one time, and one time only,” said Little Elm Police Chief Rodney Harrison.
But in order to make that happen, the organization pulls together everyone involved in a child abuse case. This includes prosecutors, Child Protective Services and investigators. Every player is present, the one, and only time, the child will have to re-live their story.
“We don’t want to traumatize the child any more than what may have already happened,” explained Chief Harrison.
The interview is recorded, everyone except a single forensic interviewer watches from behind one-way glass. The moment it’s over, the child is taken to the teddy bear wall, to pick out a new friend and trace their hand. It’s then they see other little hands like theirs, hopefully realizing they aren’t alone.
“The purpose of this is that so the child understands that they’re not the only person who has come, the only child this has happened to,” said Development Director Mimi Bishop.
As the wheels of justice begin to turn, workers meet with family.
“We provide weekly therapy sessions for that child and for their family members, until that child is healed,” explained Bishop.
Therapy lasts an average of 30 weeks and it’s free. Children are asked only one thing, to visit the organization’s “Tree Of Healing” upon their last visit.
“They dip their hands in green paint, put it on the wall and become part of our tree of healing,” said Bishop.
Please share your story of someone making a difference in North Texas by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.