|SCNCAC Executive Director Tom Knapp speaks at the Children’s Advocacy Center
Day press conference at the State House. He is standing between
Attorney General Alan Wilson (left) and Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg (right)
The seventh annual Children’s Advocacy Center say in South Carolina was recognized at the State House on April 10 with a press conference attended by the South Carolina Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, the Attorney General’s office, Children’s Trust of South Carolina, and Silent Tears.
SCNCAC Executive Director Thomas Knapp spoke at the press conference and reminded everyone that the purpose of the press conference was “to bring awareness to child abuse and to highlight the many efforts in our state to fight against it every day”. Knapp pointed out that many in attendance were holding blue pinwheels and stated “these pinwheels are the national symbol for the great childhoods all children deserve.” “The pinwheels help to serve as a reminder of the happy and carefree childhoods we want for all children in SC. Unfortunately, we know happy and carefree childhoods are not a reality for many children throughout our State”, Knapp said.
Knapp informed those in attendance that “last year alone, Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) in South Carolina served 8,551 children by providing forensic interviews, case coordination, and treatment for many forms of child abuse.”
Knapp indicated that he is “sometimes asked why the CAC model is so important to our statewide response to child abuse” and stated that “the answer is that the core of the CAC model is about teamwork, bringing the agency professionals involved in a case together on the front end, and about putting the needs of the child victim first.”
These agency professionals make up the multidisciplinary team (MDT) at CACs and consist of medical providers, law enforcement, mental health, prosecution, child protective services, victim advocacy, and others. “These professionals work tirelessly every day to help child victims and their non-offending caregivers to recover from very traumatic events and to rebuild their resiliency”, Knapp said.
Knapp also reminded everyone that “we owe these MDT professionals a great deal of gratitude for the work they do on behalf of children.” Knapp said “our statewide response to child abuse is stronger” because of the daily work of these professionals on MDTs in communities across SC to care for children in need. Knapp thanked Children’s Advocacy Centers and partner agencies for providing thorough investigations and evidence based treatment, Children’s Trust for their work on prevention initiatives, Silent Tears for promoting awareness of child sexual abuse, and elected officials for supporting legislation and providing necessary oversight to further protect children.
The Governor’s proclamation declaring April 10, 2018 was read by Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg. Attorney General Alan Wilson then spoke about the importance of Children’s Advocacy Centers in the state response to child abuse. The press conference and Children’s Advocacy Center Day was a great success and we would like to thank Children’s Trust for providing the pinwheels for the event. We will have update both here and on our facebook page as April child abuse month activities continue.