The Heart Part
Interview with Mary (whose name was changed for privacy)
Child Abuse Victim Advocate with the Childhelp Children’s Advocacy Center of Arizona Dedicated to Linda Pope.
Purposeful. Impassioned. Determined. Heartfelt.
Only a few words to describe the employees here at Childhelp who come together – day in and day out – and under a single aspiration: to do everything within their power to help each child heal and develop self-esteem to reach their God-given potential. The mission is powerful. It grabs you, you rise with it; it becomes part of your DNA. This month, we pause to appreciate the loyalty, humility and compassion that our team shares; because we know that the hard part would never get done if it weren’t for the “heart part.”
Childhelp employee Mary has been part of the advocacy center for 3 1/2 years. We recently visited with her to learn more about her work at the advocacy center and how she helps families work through the traumas of child abuse.
- What does your day here at Childhelp look like?
As a victim advocate, I meet with non-offending family members/caregivers to provide resources, information, and support throughout the investigative process (and legal process, if necessary) as well as assistance in navigating legal and social service systems, facilitate access to community organizations and provide appropriate referrals. Also, I educate and help them understand what they could expect from a child who has undergone trauma from abuse or neglect and provide a safe space for them to discuss any concerns.
Abuse and neglect doesn’t just impact the child, it impacts entire families. The goal of Childhelp Advocacy Centers is to provide medical treatment, mental health therapy, efficient investigational resources, and victim support services to address the immediate safety and complete well-being of children referred to the center.
- Why do you do what you do?
I do what I do because I believe that being proactive in assisting families with information about services will help in their long-term healing.
Intervention services provided at the center support the safe placement of abused children and court preparation assistance for victims. As an outpatient clinic with licensed counselors and licensed clinical director, abused children and non-offending family members receive individual and family counseling/therapy.
- What has been your favorite experience at Childhelp?
It is an amazing feeling to be able to help families find their new” normal” and help getthem on a path towards healing. For example, I was able to assess eligibility for the u-visa program, assist in obtaining a key component of the application, and refer the family to an agency for further assistance. With the information and assistance I provided, the entire family is now able to apply for a u-visa, which (if granted) will greatly impact their quality of life.
Advocacy centers empower local communities to effectively and efficiently respond to those impacted by child abuse. As models of community collaboration, the Childhelp AdvocacyCenters provide a child-friendly facility where members of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) interview victims, conduct medical exams, provide specialized mental health treatment, and provide family members with referrals to other community resources while law enforcement agencies and county attorneys pursue the prosecution of offenders. To learn more about our Advocacy Centers click here.