The center provides a neutral, child-friendly environment for alleged victims of sexual or extreme physical abuse. The non-profit agency serves the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit region of Catoosa, Walker, Dade and Chattooga counties. The center partners with law enforcement and the Department of Family and Children Services by assisting in child abuse investigations, center director Cathy Broome explained.
In the spirit of Comcast Cares Day and April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, volunteers cleaned out the center’s garage, picked up felled tree limbs and planted flowers on center grounds. The center relies on grants and donations to fund its operations, Broome said. Comcast volunteers helped make the center more welcoming for traumatized children and their families by “sprucing up” the grounds, she said. Comcast employees’ volunteer hours count toward a grant award for the center, Broome said.
“Every year Comcast assigns volunteers to help in the community,” area technical operations director Tom Bailey said. Bailey oversees Comcast’s technical operations in east Tennessee and north Georgia.
Bailey said Comcast employees volunteer with Boys and Girls Clubs, area food banks, high schools and other community partner organizations.
“Last year we had more than 1,000 volunteers help the Baptist Children’s Home in Chattanooga,” he said.
The Children’s Advocacy Center staff includes a forensic interviewer, a child trauma counselor, a pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner and a child-family advocate, Broome said. The area center was the 12th such center to open in Georgia, she said. The state has 39 child advocacy centers, according to Broome.
Forensic interviewer Tracy Pittman said having the center conduct one interview rather than having multiple agencies interview an alleged victim, helps lessen a child victim’s trauma during the investigation process.
Pittman said her job is to build a rapport with an alleged child victim and to get accurate information without leading or making suggestions to the child being interviewed. She said a more objective interview is accomplished by discussing gender differentiation, body parts and body safety.
Broome and Pittman said the center would hold two fundraising events on Saturday, May 19. Rally in the Valley, a 100-mile escorted motorcycle ride, will begin with registration at 1 p.m. at the Remco Business Center in Ringgold. Remco is next to Cracker Barrel off exit 348 on Highway I-75.
The ride will end with a casino night party from 7-11 p.m. at Willow Tree Farms on Post Oak Road in Ringgold. The casino night is only for patrons age 21 and older. Admission for the rally ride and/or the casino night is $30 per person.
For more information, call 706-866-8811 or visit willowtreefarms.com.
The Children’s Advocacy Center
· Conducts forensic interviews of alleged child abuse victims
· Provides specialized training for professionals
· Conducts multidisciplinary case review
· Offers community abuse prevention programs
· Tracks cases for national, state and county data
For more information, call 706-866-8811