Coping with COVID-19: Children’s Advocacy Center works through pandemic
Written by Leo Staudacher on May 6, 2020
The McLean County Children’s Advocacy Center focuses on helping children in need, but are facing challenges through the pandemic.
The CAC aids children that have been sexually abused, physically abused, and those who may have witnessed a violent crime. Among the services that are offered are forensic interviews, therapy, medical examinations, and advocacy services for children and families for the life of the case.
While the pandemic has complicated some of their procedures, CAC Executive Director Moly Evans, says the organization has found ways to adapt.
“Over the last month we have continued to conduct interviews because as we know abuse and neglect doesn’t stop when something like this happens,” said Evans. “So we have conducted interviews where there has been an immediate need to get a child in for an interview taking as many precautions as we can such as only allowing one parent or caregiver to bring the child in as opposed to an entire family coming or only the child coming in”
One obstacle that has arisen due to the outbreak is the stay at home order preventing children from being in school. Every child that comes to the Advocacy Center is referred from either a criminal investigation or from a mandated reporter to the DCFS hotline. As a result, reports to the hotline have declined since the stay at home order was put in place.
Despite the circumstances, Evans and her team said they have been working diligently to make sure that children in need of their services are getting help.
“We’ve had some really great community support from Country Financials marketing department,” said Evans. “They created what we call quarantine boxes. They purchased games, snacks, and gift cards to local restaurants and put those in a basket and we were able to deliver those to local families.”
Evans said despite schools not being in session, there are ways to help the potential at-risk children in the community.
“Because we don’t have kids in school and kids don’t have access to those mandated reporters there’s an importance in people reaching out to their neighbors and reaching out to those in the community and seeing if they need help with anything,” said Evans.
CAC plans to continue to serve the community through the pandemic.