April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time set aside to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect, and to encourage individuals and communities to support children and families. On April 5, supporters of the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) participated in its annual tradition of tying blue ribbons to the tree in front of Memorial Hospital at Easton to commemorate April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each ribbon represents a child who, in the last year, received services through the CAC located at MHE. The CAC, which provides services to children who have been victims of sexual abuse, is a partnership between the Talbot County Department of Social Services (TCDSS) and Shore Health System.
Children from Caroline, Dorchester, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties come to the center for forensic medical examinations, as necessary, for their care and to collect evidence needed for legal prosecution. The CAC provides additional services for Talbot County children, including forensic interviews, forensic medical examinations, advocacy services and mental health services.
An accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance, the CAC uses a multi-disciplinary approach to the investigation and prosecution of child abuse. The CAC team includes pediatrician and medical director Fayette Engstrom, MD, Shore Health System nurses trained in sexual assault forensic examinations, and representatives from TCDSS, law enforcement and the Talbot County State’s Attorney’s office. Under the direction of TCDSS, advocacy services are provided for the non-offending family members who may require services and support. For more information about the CAC, visit www.talbotcac.org.
In photo: Representatives from the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center tied 112 blue ribbons on the tree at MHE to commemorate April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Pictured are (left to right), Left to Right: Karen Jackson RN, FNE A/P, Coordinator of the Shore Health Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner program; Susan Coppage; Assistant Director, Queen Anne’s County Department of Social Services; Rebecca Huthison, Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigator/Forensic Interviewer; Chief David Spencer, Easton Police Department (EPD); Ellen Grunden, Talbot County, Deputy State’s Attorney; Katie Russ, CPS; Detective Yvonne Freeman (EPD), Jenifer DuBosq, Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center Coordinator; Scott Patterson, Talbot County, State’s Attorney; Karen Greene, Coordinator of Victim’s Services, Talbot County State’s Attorney’s Office; Pat Melcer, Coordinator Queen Anne’s County CARE Center; Kim Billingslea, BSN, RN, NE-BC, Director of Patient Safety and Advocacy, Shore Health System; Deputy Clint Blazejak, Talbot County Sherrif’s Department; Diane Shaffer; Program Administrator, Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center; Ruth Sullivan, President, Talbot Community Connections.