ESCANABA, Mich (WJMN) – April is Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness month but Kelly Chandler the Program Director at the Delta Regional Child Advocacy Center (DRCAC) says that the conversation about that shouldn’t be limited to April but should be held year-round.
“So, throughout the pandemic, we noticed a decline,” Chandler said. “And now we’re starting to see an increase, and that’s why it’s so important to have Child Abuse Awareness Month so that we can continue to have these important conversations in our community with our community members and our leaders to understand that having that prevention and that awareness is what is going to keep our children safe in our communities. The abuse is happening and it’s usually happening by somebody the child knows or somebody the family knows and so the more that we can have these conversations, the more we’re going to be able to help children thrive.”
Due to the extra downtime in the pandemic, the DRCAC staff was able to give the building a facelift. Adding things like a child interview room equipped with abilities for the DRCAC team to watch and respond with questions in real-time to avoid having to interview a child multiple times, a comforting room for the child and child’s family and non-offending caregiver(s) can enjoy complete with a chalkboard wall, books, blankets, and much more. The DRCAC team also used the remodel as a time to make the facility COVID safe.
“We were able to remodel our facility and remove all of the carpets and replace them with hardwood flooring,” Chandler said. “We put in touch less hand sanitizer, soaps, paper towels dispensers, we changed our sinks to touch less. We were able to also get additional furniture and so what that allowed for us to do is to ensure children and families had a safe space to heal and to disclose, really important things that were happening in their life these traumatic events without also having to worry about getting COVID.”
Chandler says similar to raising a child, running the DRCAC takes a village. Long and short-term volunteers are needed. Below are some ways they are looking for volunteer help.
- Grant writing volunteers
- Helping out with community awareness events
- Marketing volunteers
- Facility upkeep volunteers
- Volunteers to help return and sort cans from the “Cans for Kids” fundraiser
- Volunteers to help facilitate the peer to peer study groups
For more information about the Delta Regional Child Advocacy Center click here