Friday, August 22, 2014
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A cheat sheet on Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman last week was honored last week in New York Cit6y as the 2012 national honoree in the L'Oreal Paris seventh annual Women of Worth awards.

A cheat sheet on Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center

Blue Bell's Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center has $35,000 more in its coffers thanks to one of its founders, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, being named the 2012 national honoree in the L'Oreal Paris seventh annual Women of Worth awards.


Hopefully, a child you know hasn't needed the services of this nonprofit organization that works with youngsters who may be victims of child abuse. But children who are tumbling through that sad and stressful situation are much better served by having one location where investigators gather under a single, child-friendlier roof to talk to children, figure out what has happened, and provide needed services. In case you've never heard of Mission Kids, here's the verbatim explanation on the group's website of what it does:

Mission Kids offers a comprehensive, centrally located, multidisciplinary team response to allegations of child abuse in a dedicated, child-friendly setting to achieve justice for child victims and promote their physical and emotional well-being. Mission Kids provides neutral, fact-finding forensic interviews which are coordinated to avoid duplicative interviewing and supports Montgomery County’s multidisciplinary team approach to child abuse investigation and intervention.

The criminal justice system can be an intimidating and unfriendly place, even as an adult. But imagine what it is like for a child immersed in that frightening world because he or she has been the victim of abuse. Without Mission Kids, the criminal justice process for these child victims may include multiple, lengthy interviews with varied individuals- police, counselors, law enforcement, attorneys- that would force a child to recount and sometimes relive traumatic incidents from their young lives. Unfortunately, too many children are victims; in 2009 there were almost 750 reports of suspected child abuse investigated in Montgomery County, including allegations of serious physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, and serious physical neglect.

There is a sensitive and victim-focused approach to working with these children and achieving justice. Mission Kids was formed specifically to address this critical need. Opened in late 2009, Mission Kids is a child-friendly, centrally located Child Advocacy Center for the investigation of child abuse cases and a place of healing for abused children and their non-offending family members. The ground swell of support for the creation of our Center has been gratifying and continues to inspire our staff, volunteers, community supporters and Board of Directors to continue to grow this vital program.

Mission Kids accommodates child interviews and Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings in a child and family friendly setting, and makes appropriate referrals for medical and mental health treatment.

Partnerships

Partnering agencies are the mainstay of Mission Kids. There is constant communication with the District Attorney, Director of The Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth (OCY), and the former President of the Police Chief’s Association representing the 52 Police Jurisdictions in Montgomery County as the policies that guide Mission Kids continue to be developed; help in developing these policies and procedures was also provided by The Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research of the University of Pennsylvania.  Non-acute medical examinations are performed by physicians from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia at sites in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and at Grand View Hospital in Sellersville, Pennsylvania.   Mission Kids is working with the Montgomery Child Advocacy Program (MCAP) to ensure an appropriate exchange of communications between the agencies for the benefit of the children who are participating in both programs.  Please go to the "Donate" tab above, to see the full list of the sponsors for our latest Annual Event, Mission Possible, who support Mission Kids.


Mission Kids has gotten full accreditation from the National Children’s Alliance.

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Jessica Parks and Carolyn Davis
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