Child Advocacy Center of the 9th Judicial District
Kids First Child Advocacy Center of the Ninth Judicial District serves children that have been identified by the Department of Children’s Services as having been severely physically and/or sexually abused.
In 2013-14 Kids First CAC provided services to 339 victims of child abuse. The over-whelming majority of the children were victims of sexual abuse with the average victim an 8 year old female. The belief is that most children are abused by strangers but statistically nothing could be farther from the truth. Most children know their offender. In 2012-2013, 74% of the children we served were victimized by a parent, step-parent other relative or a parent’s live-in paramour, and 90% of all victims knew their offender(for some children there could be multiple offenders).
It is for this reason we deliver a school-based intervention/prevention program, Stop Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) to schools within the Ninth Judicial District. SCAN is a school-based program and is offered to children in kindergarten, first, third, fifth and seventh grades. The young children enjoy a puppet show while older grades enjoy a video/dvd and discussion about safety and boundaries. The program teaches children about safe and unsafe touches and who to tell if ever in a situation that makes the child uncomfortable or if someone asks the child to keep “secrets” about touches, movies, pictures, etc…
This fiscal year allowed us to serve 18 schools, 3,245 students through our SCAN Program. A second piece of our Outreach Program is our Teen Mom Education Program. This fiscal year we served 16 teen moms representing Loudon and Meigs Counties. We have been providing our SCAN Program and Teen Mom Education Program to schools for 6 years. The Teen Mom Education Program is a 14 week curriculum, school-based, designed to educate teen moms on child development, age-appropriate discipline, community resources, stress management and potty training. Based on the pre and post test scores, comprehension of child development is demonstrated by these young moms. The program encourages teen moms to graduate high school and is a support group as many of these moms feel isolated. So far, we have seen most of the teen moms we serve graduate high school, not give birth to a second, unplanned child, and there have been no referrals to the Department of Children’s Services for child abuse related to the Teen Moms having completed our program. Our therapy program offered 908 therapy sessions with most of the children and non-offending caregivers successfully meeting their therapy goals using Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
Through grants obtained by Kids First Child Advocacy Center of the Ninth Judicial District and compliments of the Good Neighbors Shoppe of Lenoir City, we have been able to provide an annual district-wide training to our child abuse investigators, department of children’s services (CPS) caseworkers, the District Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Justice Officers and the staff of Kids First designed to improve communication among team members, heighten awareness of physical abuse, detect discrepancies among perpetrators, and to rejuvenate the team members that investigate, protect and prosecute offenders of children.
Kids First CAC has also recently begun using the nationally recognized prevention program “Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children” throughout the community. Executive Director, Chris Evans-Longmire, is an authorized facilitator of the program which aims to increase awareness of child sexual abuse as well as change and encourage child protective behaviors. The program, delivered in a 2.5 hour session includes videos and commentary by adult survivors and experts in the field as well as a discussion component. Businesses, local organizations, schools, churches and individuals are encouraged to contact Chris at our office to schedule the presentation. More information about the program can be found at the Darkness to Light website at www.d2l.org. Help Kids First be proactive in their efforts to become Stewards of Children and work toward changes that will protect the children in our community from sexual abuse!
Our Mission is TO HEAL THE PAIN OF CHILD ABUSE.