The dictionary defines bold as “a person, action, or idea; showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.” This definition describes the child abuse and neglect councils of the Great Lakes Bay Region and Huron County, who courageously took risks to protect children suffering abuse.
In a five year period, reported cases of child abuse in Huron County grew by nearly 64%. Although the county was being served by the Huron County Child Abuse/Neglect Council, a children’s advocacy center didn’t exist. This meant that after experiencing abuse or violence, children faced multiple interviews with law enforcement, prosecutors, and child protective services—having to relive the trauma over and over again. If able, the children could travel to a children’s advocacy center in a neighboring county for a single interview to be conducted that could be observed by all parties.
The Huron County Child Abuse/Neglect Council and the CAN Council of the Great Lakes Bay Region took a bold step. They set aside their normal way of doing business and looked beyond limits imposed by geography to enter into a partnership to better serve our vulnerable little ones. It was a risk, but through this partnership, the CAN Council expanded their services and opened a new children’s advocacy center in Huron County. Both organizations set aside fears of what this change might mean for their organizations in order to achieve greater community good.
The new center in Huron County models the CAN Council’s current centers in Saginaw, Bay, and Arenac counties. It provides a safe and calming environment in which the child only has to tell his or her story once to a specially trained forensic interviewer. Meanwhile, non-offending caregivers are supported throughout the process and receive referrals for counseling during the investigation and beyond.
Emily Yeager, president/CEO of CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region is proud of the partnership. “Huron County Child Abuse/Neglect Council Board members care deeply for their community and have entrusted our CAN Council with enhancing their efforts,” she said. “Just as we do for the children of Arenac, Bay and Saginaw counties, we’ll work tirelessly to secure an end to child abuse and neglect for the children of Huron County.”
These two organizations have set an example we all can follow. Well done!
2020 is the year to be bold. To offer inspiration on acts of boldness, we are sharing stories all year of those in the Bay Area who have taken action . . . of those who have dared to make a difference . . . and of those who took a risk. Know someone like this? Use our quick form to let us know so we can share their story.