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Advocacy center relocates

By Staff | Dec 7, 2011

Pictured are members of the Paden City Development Authority with Shawna Griffin, program director for the Wetzel-Tyler Child Advocacy Center, Inc., at the organization’s new location on West Main Street in Paden City. Back row from left: Larry Potts, Tom Martin, and Mayor Bill Fox. Front row from left: Kim Frum, Patti Casteel, and Griffin.

The Paden City Development Authority recently welcomed the Wetzel-Tyler Child Advocacy Center, Inc. to their new location at 102 West Main Street, Paden City, in the office space adjoining the WesBanco Bank.

To help ring in the holidays and celebrate the new location, the center invites the public to a Christmas Open House on Dec. 9 from 5-7 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The center will be collecting wrapped gifts to be placed under the tree for foster care children in Wetzel and Tyler Counties. Using something that can be removed, please specify on each gift what the gift is and gender/age preference.

Formerly located in Sistersville, the CAC is a child-focused, facility-based program in which representatives from many disciplines-law enforcement, child protection, prosecution, mental health, medical, and victim advocacy-work together conducting joint forensic interviews and making team decisions about the investigation, treatment, management, and prosecution of child abuse cases. CAC’s are community-based programs designed to meet the unique needs of a community, so no two CAC’s look exactly alike.

They share a core philosophy that child abuse is a multifaceted community problem and no single agency, individual, or discipline has the necessary knowledge, skills, or resources to serve the needs of all children and their families. They also share a belief that the combined wisdom and professional knowledge of professionals of different disciplines will result in a more complete understanding of case issues and the most effective, child and family-focused system response. The primary goal of all CAC’s is to ensure that children are not further victimized by the intervention systems that are designed to protect them.

Their vision is a community where children are safe, families are strong, and child victims become children again. Their mission statement is: To meet the needs of children and families in our community by providing a community-based, child-focused center that facilitates a compassionate, multidisciplinary approach to the prevention, identification, investigation, prosecution, and treatment of child abuse.

The objectives of the Child Advocacy Center are to: establish a continuum of services in one location; provide consistent, quality services in a culturally sensitive manner; create a child and family friendly environment; provide team forensic interviews, medical examinations, advocacy services; focus on restoring children to health; promote a coordinated, multidisciplinary response to child abuse and neglect by facilitating the collaboration of professionals and agencies who address investigation, prosecution, and/or treatment; and minimize the trauma to children and families.

For victims and their families, the benefits of a CAC include consistent and prompt follow-up to abuse reports, consistent and compassionate support for the children and family, referrals to professionals with expertise in specialized fields, dramatically fewer victim interviews, and increased successful prosecutions.

CAC supporters include: Tyler County Prosecuting Attorney, Wetzel County Prosecuting Attorney, Wetzel/Tyler County DHHR, Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department, Tyler County Sheriff’s Department, West Virginia State Police, New Martinsville Police Department, Paden City Police Department, Sistersville Police Department, Wetzel COunty Board of Education, Tyler County Board of Education, Wetzel County Family Resource Network, Tyler County Family Resources Network, Sistersville General Hospital, Wetzel County Hospital, Wetzel County Center for Children and Families, YWCA Domestic Violence Program, Wetzel/Tyler Victim Services, Tyler County Commission, Wetzel County Commission. Furthermore, the Wetzel-Tyler Child Advocacy Center is partly funded by the West Virginia Division of Criminal Justice Services (DJCS) Child Advocacy Centers Grant.

The Board of Directors for the organization include: President Jim Holler, Vice President Rachel Marrin, Secretary/Treasurer Tara Templeton, Director Shawna Griffin, and members Nancy Holler, Patricia Keller, Pam Porfeli, Melody Glasscock, Sisty Walsh, and Judy Yeager.

For more information or to volunteer at the center, contact Program Director Shawna Griffin by phone at 304-337-2120 or by e-mail at wetzel_tylercac@yahoo.com. The center, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., is always looking for volunteers.