The Child and Youth Advocacy Center (CYAC) hosted local and state officials at their Come and See Your CAC Open House event on Thursday, Jan. 26, in Lewisburg.
Executive Director Katherine “Kat” Thompson welcomed all visitors to tour the facilities on Courtney Drive, where child protection staff, law enforcement professionals, family advocates, medical experts and mental health clinicians are under one roof. The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) services are aimed at reducing trauma so that children and families may begin the healing process. CAC services are free of charge to every client.
One in every 10 children in West Virginia will be a victim of sexual abuse by their 18th birthday, according to CAC statistics. In the neutral setting of the CAC, team members can collaborate on strategies that will aid investigators and prosecutors without causing further harm to the victim. This innovative, multidisciplinary approach significantly increases the likelihood of a successful outcome in court and long-term healing for the child.
The CAC believes that children and families need a safe, child-friendly place to turn to when they have a concern about abuse. Their model works not only by facilitating hope, justice, and healing for families, bur also by saving money. For every case that comes through the center, they save taxpayers $1,000, not by cutting corners, but by promoting care that works and gives victims and those reporting it a safe, effective, and trusted system.
CYAC is a nationally accredited child advocacy center with a multi-disiplinary investigative team that monitor meetings, keep track of cases, provides support as needed, interviews clients and provide therapeutic counseling, with advocates who follow each case through all the processes. The non-profit organization has been in Greenbrier County for 15 years, and in the present location for 12 years.
From fun fundraising events to prevention training, the CYAC empowers the community, supporters, and staff to get involved in the fight to end the cycle of abuse and provide quality care to victims in Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocahontas counties.
Thompson said the 14th annual Greenbrier Valley Polar Bear Plunge, a charity event for CYAC of Lewisburg, is set for Saturday, March 11, beginning at 1 p.m. and will be held at a new venue this year, the Ronceverte Island Park.
Due to extensive damage to Blue Bend caused by last June’s floods, Polar Bear officials made the decision to plunge into the Greenbrier River at Ronceverte. Future plunges will continue once Blue Bend has been restored by the National Forest Service.
For more information, CYAC can be reached at 304-645-4668 or online at childandyouthadvocacy.org.