Columbus and Bladen County children who have suffered a traumatizing adverse childhood experience now have a place to get immediate help from a number of sources.
Boys and Girls Homes President Gary Faircloth noted that its new Child Advocacy Center may be the most significant initiative since the Lake Waccamaw facility began housing children in 1954. That’s saying a lot.
The Child Advocacy Center is one of only 45 in the state.
It’s part of a remarkable collaboration among Boys and Girls Homes and several agencies that will provide a safe place for counseling and forensic interviews for children who have had something terrible done to them.
The Lee Street home, where children can be taken to be interviewed and counseled, is a warm but secluded spot where children and counselors can meet to begin what can be a difficult journey to help children maneuver through stressful adverse situations.
Hats off to Boys and Girls Homes for being the driving force for the center. Its Lake Waccamaw campus has long been a place to foster children under the guidance of caring adults. The decades’ long list of Boys and Girls Homes children who have lived on the campus and gone on to live normal lives or do great things speaks for itself, but thank goodness Boys and Girls Homes has expanded services to include helping children overcome trauma.
The center provides a place to interview children and compile evidence to convict people who have hurt them – cases that involve everything from assault, abuse, rape and incest.
The center not only consoles the child, it helps the district attorney and law enforcement remove from society the monsters who hurt children so perpetrators don’t come in contact with the child or other children.
A recent Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust study showed that one in three Columbus County children have an adverse childhood experience that will have long-lasting effects.
Not only do these experiences often ruin the child’s life, traumas often lead to a generational domino effect that’s hard to break.
While we all wish every youngster has a happy childhood, society can’t just sit back and shrug its shoulders when a child is traumatized.
The new center, which will open in January, is a big step to end generational violence and abuse.