Posted on Apr 20, 2023

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to focus on stopping the exploitation, neglect and abuse of society's most vulnerable. One way to do that is by ensuring those who abuse children are identified, arrested, prosecuted and punished in hopes they will not be able to harm another child.

That is where Children's Alliance Center of Palo Pinto County comes in. Its staff works with agencies to prosecute child abusers, and provides counseling and programs designed for early intervention and prevention.

Members of Rotary Club of Mineral Wells on Wednesday heard from Rotarian and CACPPC Executive Director Linda Porter-Bradford (pictured second from right), who has announced her retirement after eight years at the agency's helm. She brought her staff – Multi-disciplinary Team and Community Outreach Coordinator Sheree Patterson (right), Forensic Interviewer Kaitlyn Cothrum (second from left) and Family Advocate Kelli Montelongo – who each described their roles within the agency.

Porter-Bradford said CACPPC works with schools, law enforcement, courts and prosecutors to arrest and punish child abuse perpetrators. This often means difficult interviews with young victims, made more difficult because child abuse cases typically involve family members who have access to groom and gain the trust of their victims. Sometimes the abuse takes place continuously over months and years.


Patterson shared with club members a tragic story of a girl groomed and sexually abused by an extended family member beginning when she was just 12 years and that continued for several years. While she told her family of the abuse, her outcries were ignored and her family took the side of the abuser. Patterson said even at trial, the victim's family did not sit on her side of the courtroom but rather on the defendant's side. Only Patterson and Porter-Bradford sat with the victim.

Patterson said fortunately the jury believed her and sentenced the abuser to a lengthy prison term. Today, thanks largely to CACPPC counseling and support, the victim is a young lady who is continuing her education and has a positive outlook on her future.

Porter-Bradford said the agency is funded through grants and local fundraisers, including its recent Bags, Badges and Bingo. She said almost all funds raised locally go toward providing direct victim services.

She urged people to learn the signs of abuse and grooming and report suspected abuse. CACPPC offers programs for schools, churches and organizations to help identify the early signs of child exploitation and abuse. She said the programs have proven helpful in school settings to help teachers recognize the warning signs of child abuse.

Like any non-profit agency, CACPPC welcomes donations and volunteers to support its efforts. Learn more about CACPPC at and like them on Facebook.

Rotary Club of Mineral Wells meets every Wednesday at noon at Southside Church of Christ. Lunches are catered by Sadie's Eats. For more information about the club and Rotary International visit