By NANCY NEW
A young lady who has suffered unspeakable and unimaginable sexual abuse for years by a trusted family friend, a confused little boy who will forever bare the scar on his face from a burn inflicted on his young body by an angry boyfriend of his mother, parents who are struggling with the overwhelming feelings of anger, guilt, and confusion after learning that their child was abused by a relative; it is the lives of these children and families and so many others like them that we provide services for daily at the Madison/Rankin Children’s Advocacy Center.
The Madison/Rankin Children’s Advocacy Center is a nationally accredited Children’s Advocacy Center that serves children and families from several counties in the Central Mississippi area. Although many people do not know what a Children’s Advocacy Center does or what the purpose is, the work of our children’s advocacy center, often referred to as “CAC”, is vital to the community.
The CAC provides multiple services to child and adolescent victims of various types of abuse. We provide these services free of charge and rely largely on our support from the businesses and individuals from the community to be able to continue to provide these services. One of the most important services that we provide is forensic interviewing, which allows for a victim of abuse to come to our child friendly center and be interviewed by a trained professional about their abuse, while multiple investigative agencies such as law enforcement and the Department of Human Services observe that interview live through closed circuit television. This process allows the victim to only have to be interviewed once, greatly reducing the amount of trauma for the victim, all while aiding the investigative agencies process these difficult cases quickly and efficiently.
The CAC works with the children and their families from the beginning of the investigation process all the way to the end providing support and services to aid the victim and their family with healing and moving forward in their lives. The CAC also works in the community providing information about the prevention of child abuse and how the community and individuals can ensure that our children are safe and healthy.
The Madison/Rankin Children’s Advocacy Center opened in Madison, MS, in 2011 and has already served over 300 children and families from more than five area counties. If you would like more information about the Madison/Rankin Children’s Advocacy Center, please feel free to contact us at 601-714-1040 or visit us at our website www.mscec.org.
Dr. Nancy New is Executive Director New Summit School Services, New Learning Resources, Inc., and the Mississippi Community Education Center.