The 8th annual Children’s Advocacy Day took place yesterday at the South Carolina State House. SCNCAC partnered with the Attorney General, Representative Neal Collins, Children’s Trust and Silent Tears to begin the advocacy day with a press conference.
The press conference highlighted Child Abuse Prevention Month and the effective resources from our 17 CACs in South Carolina.
Tom Knapp, SCNCAC Executive Director, explained the efficiency of the CAC model approach.
“The CAC model promotes the multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach when handling these cases, in order to reduce trauma for Children and allow families access to all services they need in one place. All of these services come at no cost to the children and families served,” said Knapp.
He then told a moving account of a 10-year-old boy he interviewed during his time as an MDT member. Usually at the end of forensic interviews children ask what’s going to happen next, but the young boy wanted to know, how can I make friends? A few years later his mom wrote Knapp a letter thanking him for how the CAC model helped her family and included a picture of his new friends.
“The 17 CACs in South Carolina served 9,558 children by providing forensic interviews, case coordination, and treatment for many forms of child abuse including sexual abuse, physical abuse, drug endangerment, witness to violence and human trafficking, among other forms of maltreatment. This was a 12% increase over 2017,” said Knapp.
Attorney General Alan Wilson spoke of the re-victimization some abused children face in the criminal justice system and how the CAC models centralizes and limits children from re-telling their stories repeatedly.
Wilson referred to advocates as a, “network of heroes.”
Shuana Wilson, Executive Director of Julie Valentine Center, showed her appreciation for the Castellani Families donation from their organization, Silent Tears.
The concurrent resolution, presented by Representative Neal Collins, and the Governors Proclamation states that April 2nd is Children's Advocacy Center Day. Sen. Katrina Shealy, Rep. Rita Allison, Rep. Bruce Bannister and Rep. Raye Felder were also in attendance.
Around the room individuals held blue pinwheels provided by Children’s Trust. These pinwheel’s represent Child Abuse Prevention Month and the healing children of the effects of abuse.
After the press conference ended CAC staff were introduced in the House Balcony by Representative Neal Collins. The staff then moved into the lobby where they met their local representatives and senators.
We thank everyone who joined us for our annual CAC Day and to the countless staff, community members and legislatures who work towards preventing child abuse in South Carolina.