Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) for the 31st Judicial District was organized in 2000 for residents from Warren and Van Buren counties. The mission is to deliver exceptional services to victims of severe child abuse, by reducing trauma from that abuse.
To show support for the center, hundreds gathered for the 10th annual Angels Autumn Fest at Deer Path Farms. The purpose of the event is twofold, to show appreciation to the many volunteers who work so hard to make the center a success, and to raise funds to support the cause.
CAC president Rick Perez, who is a retired police chief from Florida, knows how important it is to have a facility dedicated to helping victims of abuse.
“I have a soft spot in my heart for children and senior citizens,” said Perez. “We have to support the children, because they are our future.”
According to CAC director Martha Phillips, their child protective investigative team partners investigated 759 reports of child maltreatment last year alone. A slate of board members join Phillips and M’Lee Hudgins, forensic interviewer; Robin Cutrell, victim-family advocate; and Nakiesha McBride, prevention advocate in the quest to help victims and families heal.
Guests enjoyed mingling with each other in the rustic setting of Deer Path Farms, featuring a historic barn converted into a unique venue. Musical entertainment was provided by Hickory Wind, while folks enjoyed appetizers and drinks. Dinner was provided by Saint Thomas River Park, and served by Warren County High School culinary students.
“We are absolutely delighted by the outpouring of support, since this evening is vital to the successful operation of our center,” said Phillips. “Each year this event grows and we are deeply grateful to Saint Thomas River Park Hospital for their continued partnership. We couldn’t make this event the great success without all the fabulous people who contribute their time, money and resources to better protect the children in Warren and Van Buren County.”
Numerous silent auctions were available for patrons to place bids, but the fun began with a rousing auction featuring autographed sports memorabilia and other items.
CAC is located at 1350 Sparta Street, and its phone number is 931-507-2386. If anyone suspects child abuse, call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-877-237-0004, available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.