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Child abuse still pressing concern
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With over 200 children receiving services at our Children's Advocacy Center last year, flags will once again be placed on The Lot in downtown McMinnville in recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention month.
City officials have approved a request from Children’s Advocacy Center executive director Martha Phillips to allow the grassy area to be used for two weeks in April for its “field of flags” and abuse awareness banner placement.
“She is only asking for two weeks compared to a month, which is what she asked for last year,” said McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord. “It will probably be the first two weeks in April because we have Arts Spring at the end of April.”
Parks and Recreation Committee members Aldermen Ben Newman, chairman, Steve Harvey and Jimmy Bonner approved the request.
Approximately 80 flags will be placed on The Lot by the Children’s Advocacy Center, a nonprofit agency that offers specialized services to aid in the investigation of child abuse and crimes witnessed by children.
The majority of children who come to the center are alleged victims of sexual abuse. CAC31 works with other agencies to ensure these children are heard and helped. Other agencies the CAC works with include law enforcement, the Department of Children’s Services, and the district attorney’s office. CAC also works with medical and mental health professionals. Collectively, all of these professionals serve as the Child Protection Investigative Team. Each child’s case is reviewed by this team on a monthly basis at the center.
Children who are referred to the center may have an interview regarding allegations of abuse. The purpose of this interview is for the child to tell an adult about the allegations. Services provided to the families include crisis counseling, mental health referrals, medical referrals, community resource information and help with the judicial system.
In 2014, there were 204 children referred for services at the Children’s Advocacy Center for the 31st Judicial District. Of these, 155 children received a forensic interview. Altogether, 1,778 services were provided to the families.
The center also helps to educate the community about child abuse prevention.
For more information, contact the Children’s Advocacy Center for the 31st Judicial District at 507-2386.