Community Update Ponca City News October 2014
HEARING, HELPING, HEALING GOAL OF DEARING HOUSE
Dearing House Child Advocacy Center has focused on hearing, helping and healing victims of child abuse in Kay County for 11 years. To accomplish this, police officers, child welfare workers, prosecutors, victim advocates, medical and mental health professionals work together at Dearing House to provide high-quality, specialized services for abused children and their families. “My child acted as if a tremendous weight was lifted off his shoulders,” a mother recently shared about her family’s experience at Dearing House. Maggi Hutchason, executive director, explains that many people are not aware of Dearing House until there is a crisis. “One of our biggest challenges of is to be able to increase community awareness of what we do, while respecting the privacy of the families served,” says Hutchason.
To address this problem, Dearing House produced a video this year that received an award from the National Children’s Alliance in Washington, D.C. Titled “Face It” the video is designed to put a face on the silent and hidden victims of child sexual abuse without revealing their identity. Hutchason describes the short video as a very positive image of children who have faced and overcome abuse. “The kids painted their portraits to protect their identity, but their message is very hopeful,” she says. The video is being distributed nationally to bring awareness to the vital role of children’s advocacy centers in the process of helping traumatized children. The video is on the Dearing House Facebook page, vimeo.com and coming soon to our new website.
“Eleven years ago our primary purpose was responding to child sexual abuse,” reports Hutchason. “More recently our services have been needed for children who have witnessed family violence or are traumatized by exposure to pornography and sexual exploitation. I’m proud that our team of professionals is trained to handle a wide range of circumstances and put the needs of the children first.”
Established in 2003 at 311 South 13th, and accredited by the National Children’s Alliance, Dearing House is a safe and comforting place for children involved in child abuse investigations to come for interviews and assistance by specially-trained professionals. Funded by grants as well as private contributions, all services at Dearing House are provided free of charge. Dearing House is one of 21 Child Advocacy Centers in Oklahoma and over 700 across the country. Additional information is available by calling 762-5266 or on Facebook or www.dearinghouse.com.