CAC looks ahead

Published 10:30 pm Monday, August 20, 2012

Every 13 seconds a child in the United States is abused and 80 percent of the perpetrators are parents.

Those numbers from national child abuse statistics illuminate the need for child advocacy centers in today’s society.

But there is another statistic that brings the picture of child abuse and neglect into even sharper focus.

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Five children will die from abuse or neglect today … and every day.

Camille Downing, director of the Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center in Troy, said those are the reasons that it is imperative that the CAC remains open.

“Right now, we have conducted 85 forensic interviews at the Pike Regional CAC and, there are more than four months remaining in the year,” Downing said. “We’d like to think that child abuse and neglect doesn’t happen here but it does. And, the CAC is here to help.

“The Pike Regional CAC serves four counties – Pike, Coffee, Bullock and Barbour. We do all that we can to bring the issue of child abuse and our services to the forefront. Child abuse and neglect happen and our services are needed.”

Those services include, but are not limited to, forensic interviews, parenting classes and the Good Touch Bad Touch program that is offered to all second, fifth and seventh graders.

To continue to provide the services offered through the CAC, funds must be raised.

“With so many cutbacks our funds are short,” Downing said. “We are continuing to write grants in hopes of getting state and federal dollars but we also have to do our own fund raising.”

Downing said that, in looking for a new and creative way to raise money, the CAC hosted a “Kids and Characters Summer Festival” at the Troy Parks and Recreation as a kind of back-to-school bash.

“The Summer Festival was a way to raise funds and also a way to raise awareness of the CAC and its services if they are ever needed,” she said. “We invited children up to age 12 in all four counties to come and enjoy Mickey and Minnie and several of their friends, to play on inflatables and just enjoy being together.”

Admission to the festival was $5 and, once inside, all the fun was free.

“The event was a huge success,” Downing said. “There was a crowd of more than 300. We don’t have a final tally yet but we stand to clear a good profit, with admissions and event sponsors. We want to thank all of our sponsors because they are helping to make a difference in the lives of children.”

Downing said other fund-raisers will probably be necessary to bring in the money necessary to keep the CAC operational.

“Right now, we’re afloat,” she said. “We won’t really know where we stand until we get the decisions back on our grant applications. We’ll depend, too, on our big fund-raisers, the golf tournament and motorcycle run, and donations to keep us up and running.”

The CAC is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.

For more information or to lend support, contact Downing at (334) 670-0487 or visit the office at 118 West Orange St.t, Troy, AL 36081.