When a report of child abuse is made, the child and his or her family are usually in a state of crisis. In many cases, the perpetrator is someone the child knows and loves. Sometimes this may be a parent or guardian.
Children are referred to New Hope through the Department of Children’s Services or Law Enforcement to have a forensic interview, medical exam, and / or therapy. We have two Child & Family Advocates on staff here at New Hope; one to provide support during forensic interviews, medicals, and throughout the investigation, and one to provide coordination of services in our therapy department.
I’m very lucky to see these children and their families find their resilience and grow and heal and give themselves a new hope for a better future.Macie Rogers, Child & Family Advocate
Our Child & Family Advocates provide services for families during the investigative process and during therapy, as they begin their journey toward healing. These support services may include:
- Explaining the forensic interview and investigative process to the family. During this time, our Advocate also provides information about child trauma and what services are available for the victim and his or her family.
- Completing a needs assessment with the non-offending caregiver to screen for any outside needs the family may have and referring out to community resources if needed. Our Advocates also maintain a clothing closet to provide children with clothes, hygiene items, shoes, and other essential items.
- Coordinating of forensic medical exams – either emergency (within 72 hours) or nonemergency.
- Participating in the Child Protective Investigative Team (CPIT), giving the family a voice during multi-disciplinary team meetings.
- Working with our therapists and non-offending caregiver(s) to provide continuity of services.
- Accompanying children to court to help the child feel safe and supported.
- Assisting with Victims Compensation: The Victims Compensation Program assists victims of crimes with monetary needs such as mental health care, medical care, moving expenses, pain and suffering, and funeral costs. Both of our Advocates are trained to assist families in applying for Victims Compensation. To learn more about this program, visit https://treasury.tn.gov/Services/Claims-and-Risk-Management/Criminal-Injuries-Compensation.
- Providing a safe space for children awaiting placement in foster care. When a child is removed from his or her home and placed in foster care, it can take several hours to find a placement. In many counties, these children must wait at the Department of Children’s Services Office. However, in Blount County, these children can wait at our CAC where they will be given a meal, a place to shower, toiletries, clean clothes, and items to take with them and call their own. When requested, we also have trained staff available to assist the children to deal with the emotions related to the removal.