There are few crimes as horrible as child abuse and neglect.
One of the most profound statements on this topic came from Oprah Winfrey: "If I could change just one thing, I would stop people from beating their kids. Not just beating, but verbally abusing kids, neglecting kids. You lose your childhood when you've been abused."
And it's true. Each year, more than 2,000 children received critical services at one of 19 children's advocacy centers in the state. Of the children served, 41 percent were too young to attend kindergarten, almost all were acquainted with their abuser, and 61 percent of alleged abusers were related to the child victim.
Children who have been abused often feel they have no one to turn to. That's where the West Virginia Child Advocacy Network comes into play.
For those living in this area, these services were provided by the Wetzel/Tyler Child Advocacy Center located at 102 W. Main Street, Paden City.
The CAC helps local teams of professionals hold perpetrators accountable and vindicate the innocent of false accusations. The organization is dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, putting the needs of the child victims first. Designed as a warm, not-threatening place for children, the CAC provides an atmosphere where feelings of safety and security prevail - much like the comfort of a familiar quilt.
But services of this importance do not come cheap. Although the local center is partially funded by the Division of Justice and Community Service, fundraisers are vital to its sustainability. On April 29, you have the opportunity to support the program offered by the Wetzel/Tyler Child Advocacy Center by attending a benefit dinner from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Boggs' Pizza and Grill in Middlebourne. The menu will include spaghetti, salad, bread, dessert and a drink. The cost is $8 for adults; $4 for children ages 6-12; and free for children five and younger.
Think about it for a moment: If your child or a child you love made an outcry of abuse, wouldn't you want the investigation prosecution and intervention services to be handled in a manner sensitive to his/her needs?
Show your support of the Wetzel/Tyler Child Advocacy Center. It's an integral part of the puzzle.