2018-04-15 / Insight

Some secrets shouldn’t be kept

Child Advocacy Center hosts open house to showcase services
BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER — On Tuesday, the Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer County (CAC) opened its doors to the public for an open house, drawing the interest of area elected officials, law enforcement and public to learn exactly what happens when CAC services are called upon.

In 2017, CAC served 316 new clients, including 328 hours of victim advocacy services, 265 hours of counseling services, 96 forensic interviews and 42 SANE/SART medical examinations, with majority of victims suffering from sexual abuse.

Attendees of Tuesday’s open house were able to visit the organization’s child-friendly facility at 15 E. Genesee Rd. in Lapeer (just east of Saginaw Street) and learn how CAC’s multi-disciplinary team works together to investigate disclosures of abuse and help children and their families heal.

A closer look at CAC

CAC’s services are done in close tandem with local law enforcement and incorporates three overarching areas: intervention, treatment and prevention. According to the CAC, a major source of trauma to children who have been allegedly abused or witness to violence is the investigation process. They are questioned several times by a multitude of strangers and relive their traumatic experience every time they have to share their story with a new person. CAC approaches this scenario differently, and exists to bring together the investigative and intervention team so the child only has to share their story one time.

That team approach carries through in all areas of CAC service, and extends not only to the child, but to the child’s family as well.

Immediately after an interview, the parents meet with the interviewer, law enforcement, CPS, and an on-staff counselor. The parents are given an idea of how the interview went and what law enforcement and CPS’ next steps are. A counselor then follows up with the family to provide resources, offer support, and answer any further questions they have. If a child or family member appears to be at risk for suicide or self-harm, a counselor will meet with them to assess the level of risk and take the necessary steps to make sure they are safe when leaving here.


Present at Tuesday’s CAC open house were representatives from multiple police agencies, school districts and more, highlighting that the efforts of the Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer County are made possible by the close relationship the organization has with local law enforcement and community members. 
Photos by Nicholas Pugliese Present at Tuesday’s CAC open house were representatives from multiple police agencies, school districts and more, highlighting that the efforts of the Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer County are made possible by the close relationship the organization has with local law enforcement and community members. Photos by Nicholas Pugliese Following an intervention, the next step taken by the team at CAC is treatment. CAC provides mental health services to the families we serve utilizing a trauma-focused model. These services are available to any child forensically interviewed at our center, along with any non-offending family members to maintain a safe and child-friendly environment. These services are offered at no cost to the families.


Visiting the Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer County’s facility during Tuesday’s open house were former state rep. Kevin Daley, Medstar’s Lapeer Operations Supervisor Jeremy Compeau and Medstar CEO Kolby Miller. Visiting the Child Advocacy Center of Lapeer County’s facility during Tuesday’s open house were former state rep. Kevin Daley, Medstar’s Lapeer Operations Supervisor Jeremy Compeau and Medstar CEO Kolby Miller. Beyond intervention and treatment, the CAC also works to spread awareness of child abuse prevention throughout Lapeer County, visiting with students at Lapeer County schools as well as residents of the area at community events.

In conjunction with this initiative, the CAC facilitates the “Personal Safety and Awareness Program” is presented to all second- and fourth-grader students in Lapeer County.

Personal Safety and Awareness Program

This sensitive, comprehensive program teaches children in a positive, non-threatening way the information they need to protect themselves from sexual assault.

The Program is taught in two one-hour sessions by a combination of Child Advocacy Center staff, volunteers and law enforcement. The program helps children identify people they could talk to if they had a problem, learn how to avoid dangerous situations, and know what to do to keep themselves safe. The program stresses the importance of talking to a trusted adult whenever a child feels confused or does not like a touch from someone.

Cheers for Children

To close out April’s Child Abuse Awareness Month, CAC will also be holding its 10th annual Cheers for Children Benefit Fundraiser. The beer/ wine tasting event formerly known as Corkscrews and Brews will once again be held at the Lapeer Country Club, Friday, April 27 at 6 p.m. CAC executive director Heather Frayer said that while the name has changed, it’s still the same event. “(We changed the name) because it’s about children and it’s in April,” she said. “We still have the beer and wine tasting, but by changing the name it might grab the attention (of the community) and encourage them to find out more about it.” In addition to the beer and wine tasting, the event will include a dinner and a silent auction.

Tickets are $75 per person. Highlights of the upcoming silent auction include a Jim Slater autographed 2018 Winter Olympics men’s hockey jersey as well as a three-night condo stay at Shanty Creek Resort, valued at $1,000.

Frayer said that because CAC is closing in on its 10th anniversary, it’s a great time to look back as well as look forward to the future or the organization. “We’ve come a long way, and we’re growing,” she said. “We’ve gone from just being able to provide forensic interviews to being able to provide services to the entire family.” According to Frayer, CAC has been able to expand their scope, to the benefit of the community. “It’s not just about the forensic interviews now, it’s about the whole family healing,” she said. And while in CAC’s earlier years services would take multiple days to process, the process has now been expedited. “There’s no lapse, we can schedule things for the next day,” said Frayer. “And everyone comes (directly to CAC) so the child wouldn’t have to go all over the place — we’re a one-stop shop.”

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2018-04-15 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.