By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -
One county's showing its commitment to take child abuse seriously. Agencies in Midland County are joining forces with hopes to protect more children.
Thursday night, a collaborative effort was signed with a main mission to better the lives of abused children.
Ten different Midland County agencies put pen to paper to sign on to join the fight against child abuse.
"These are things that we need to help young children so they remain safe," said Karen Adams, the executive director of the Safe and Sound Child Advocacy Center.
Adams said the war on abuse can't be won by just one organization. Midland police, the Midland County sheriff and the Midland County prosecuting attorney, along with child protective services, have committed to help in that fight by signing what they call the Midland County Multi-Disciplinary Protocol for Responding to Child Abuse.
"This is huge, it's all about the children and making sure the children are safe, and making sure the family unit is safe also, it's going to be a big deal, it's all about partnerships and collaborations and getting people, the experts in their fields, to help out in situations," said Midland police Chief Cliff Block.
In the past, a child had to tell their story several times. Now, a child only has to tell it once. This multi-disciplinary team wants to make sure a child doesn't have to relive that same trauma several times.
The child will be interviewed by a forensic interviewer, who will ask open-ended questions to hear exactly what happened. Behind a mirrored window, a panel made up of those who signed the agreement will listen and then investigate. Community Mental Health of Central Michigan believes this is more significant than some may think.
"A lot less traumatizing to a child to only have to tell the story once and not over and over again. Also, when a child is interviewed over and over, often it will mess up the prosecution of the case," said Kathy Dollard with Community Mental Health of Central Michigan.
So far this year, more than 200 investigations of alleged abuse of children at Safe and Sound Child Advocacy Center have been investigated. Those who signed on Thursday night hope this new coordinated effort helps educate and reduce the number of these cases.
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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