Posted on Apr 28, 2021

With Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month coming to a close, Rotarian and Children's Alliance Center for Palo Pinto County Executive Director Linda Porter-Bradford told Rotarians of the local efforts happening every day to protect children from abuse and neglect. Linda is pictured above on the left with club President Tonya Gary.

The CAC, like all centers across Texas and the nation, is dedicated to investigating and prosecuting those committing acts of abuse and neglect against children, while also working to help the victims heal and recover. In Palo Pinto people involved in all aspects of investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators – courts, law enforcement and various agencies – work together on a multidisciplinary team while the CAC provides resources, facilities and trained forensic investigators and therapists.

Linda said the CAC serves to minimize the impacts of abuse on young victims by helping their stories once, rather than multiple times, in a warm, comfortable and friendly setting while team members watch the closed-circuit interview from a room nearby.

The past year's pandemic has been difficult for children on many levels and for some has increased their exposure and risk to neglect and abuse that typically occurs from someone they know or very close to them.

Linda said in 2020 there were 201 victims receiving services at the CACPPC, resulting in 101 forensic interviews, 341 family advocacy services, 697 child therapy sessions involving 428 adult caregivers, 369 multidisciplinary team coordination services and 131 case reviews.

She also spoke to Rotarians to dispel some of the common myths surround child abuse and urged parents talk to their children to make sure they know right from wrong, to understand personal space and to know their bodies, including the proper names of their anatomical parts.

Linda also reminded us that under state law, everyone is responsible for reporting suspected abuse or neglect involving children and to not be afraid to report suspected abuse.

Although April is designated as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, protecting children from abuse takes place every day and we are all part of that effort.