The 18th Annual Child Abuse Awareness Month Kick-off Breakfast to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center for Hampshire County is this Friday morning, April 7, at the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Road in Holyoke. Remarks begin at 7:55 a.m. (See schedule below for more details.)
Donna Lloyd is this year’s keynote speaker. She supported her two nieces, age 12 and 10, through a recent trial in Hampshire County. The girls testified against Stanley Michalski who was charged with sexual assault of the two young girls. He was found guilty and is currently serving a prison sentence.
This year’s award winners are Social Worker Debi Belkin and Assistant District Attorney Linda Pisano, Chief of the NWDA’s Child Abuse Unit.
The Children’s Advocacy Center is a welcoming, child-friendly house where children who may be victims of physical and sexual abuse, and their families, can receive many of the services they need during the criminal investigative process, all under one roof. The trustees of Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School and Cooley Dickinson Hospital partnered with the Northwestern Children's Advocacy Project to provide a house equipped with a medical suite and local artists have painted beautiful murals on the walls.
In 2016, 411 cases were referred to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Child Abuse Unit for investigation, involving 535 victims, which resulted in 97 offenders being charged with offenses against children. A total of 235 child victims were interviewed at the Children Advocacy Center for Hampshire County and the Children’s Advocacy Center for Franklin County and North Quabbin Area, in Greenfield.
At the CAC, children who are suspected of being the victims of physical and sexual abuse are interviewed in a coordinated interview process, outside of a police station, to reduce the number of times a child victim has to speak with investigators. The child may be medically examined at the CAC by trained medical providers outside of a hospital Emergency Room to minimize the trauma he or she experiences. Referrals for follow-up medical and mental health services are also available.
“The mission of the Children’s Advocacy Center is to help victims of abuse heal from the trauma of physical or sexual abuse,” said CAC Director Susan Loehn. “We are able to change children’s lives every day because the community supports our work.”
For more information, contact CAC Director Susan Loehn at Susan.J.Loehn@state.ma.us
2017 Breakfast Program
7:15 Breakfast Buffet
7:55 Welcoming Remarks and Introduction of Board Members
Sally Griggs, President
8:00 Welcome and Introduction of Elected Officials
District Attorney David Sullivan
8:05 Blessing by Rabbi Justin David
Congregation Bnai Israel
8:08 “I believe” Sung by Emma Henderson
8:10 Keynote Speaker: Donna
Introduction by Assistant District Attorney Linda Pisano
8:30 Make a Difference in the life of a child: Mike Messer
8:35 “The Prayer” sung by Emma Henderson
8:40 Presentation of Awards
Ellen Sedlis Award: Debi Belkin
Introduction by Board member Marlene Marrocco
Champion for Children Award: Linda Pisano
Introduction by Director Susan Loehn
8:55 Benediction: Rev. Dr. Andrea Ayvazian
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. Thank you for helping our children.
Safety, Healing, Justice