Scotty’s House, Brazos Valley’s Child Advocacy Center, recognized April as Childhood Abuse Prevention Month on the Square on Wednesday and signed an updated agreement with county officials to ensure the effectiveness of their continued relationship.
“We like to think that our communities are immune to this kind of thing but they are not,” said Cary Baker, Executive Director of Scotty’s House. “Child abuse does not discriminate. It impacts every socioeconomic status, gender and racial background.”
In 2018, there were 20 cases of child abuse confirmed by Scotty’s House in Madison County.
Every three years, the group re-signs protocols that outline how they work with local law enforcement and prosecutorial partners to make sure they are still serving the most severe cases. Madison County District Attorney Brian Risinger signed the updated agreement and a number of other community and government leaders were also in attendance for the ceremony.
“It is also a way for us to rededicate ourselves to this cause and work together in a willingness to cooperate,” said Baker. “It lets us know that we are supported by the community but will also hopefully show victims who are going through this abuse that they have people they can trust.”
Scotty’s House has traveled to all of the counties they cover during the month of April to hold similar events celebrating the cases investigated and to maintain a presence moving forward. The events have included a large, cardboard ribbon for all attendees to sign which will be displayed at their Brazos Valley offices throughout the month.
Scotty’s House has worked with local officials in the Brazos Valley to investigate possible cases of child abuse and work with prosecutors on the cases for the victims. Members of the staff will often testify in the event of a criminal trial.
The organization covers Madison, Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Robertson and Washington Counties. They have staffed over 1,500 cases and can assist in a variety of areas including forensic interviews, forensic medical exams, family advocacy, counseling, education and outreach.
“When there is a joint investigation between CPS and law enforcement and the child advocacy center is utilized, the outcomes are better for the child and the investigation,” said Baker. “It takes a community to band together to report suspected abuse so that we can step in and make sure their cases are investigated and those children are safe.”
The organization works to provide a child-friendly environment to help children who are referred by local officials. Their average client is a female under the age of 12 that has been sexually abused by someone she knows. Their work, however, is not limited to a specific gender.
To report abuse, make a donation or find out more, visit www.scottyshouse.org.