ONE FEATHER STAFF REPORT
The Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Center hosted an open house to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month at their new location inside the Ginger Lynn Welch Complex on Thursday, April 21. Lt. Lloyd Wolfe, Detective Sgt. Larry Jenkins, and Detective Sgt. Dewitt Chekelelee were on hand to provide tours of the new facility and introduce the community to the Heart to Heart staff. The new facility houses administrative offices, children interview rooms, counseling rooms, and medical treatment facilities.
“Children and families come to Heart to Heart during one of the most, if not the most, traumatic periods of their lives,” said Lt. Wolfe, program manager and former investigator with the Child Victim Unit. “Victims and their families are usually scared, embarrassed, and uncertain what to expect; our staff is sensitive to these issues and work to provide a safe and welcoming environment for our clients.”
The Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Center works with a team of professionals who coordinate the investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse using a multi-disciplinary approach. The team works together throughout the investigation and prosecution, meeting on a regular basis to review the progress of each case to ensure the children’s needs are met sensitively and effectively. The center provides licensed therapists specializing in child related trauma, court accompaniment, court school, community prevention presentations, forensic interviews (on-site), trauma therapy for child victims (on-site), and family therapy for non-offending caregivers (on-site).
“Victims of sexual abuse who receive services at the Child Advocacy Center are twice as likely to receive specialized medical examinations and mental health treatment,” Lt. Wolfe explained. “Sexual abuse victims are very likely to experience emotional trauma and our children deserve to receive appropriate mental health assistance.”