Child Advocacy Center
The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at Abigail’s Arms directly impacts the crisis needs of children in Cooke County. Named for the children the program serves, the CAC effectively supports the entire family when they become clients. Taylor Smith, a Family Advocate and Forensic Interviewer with the CAC explains exactly what it looks like when a family starts services at the CAC, “They’re assigned a family advocate and that person will provide them with services that they need.” [These services include] “counseling, resources for food, financial stability, daycare, car seats, parenting classes, [and] legal help”.
Oftentimes the route to services and through the criminal justice system is fraught with obstacles making it difficult for survivors to access resources and information on their own. Having that one person a family can go to for all their questions can make a huge difference in the experience after a victimization.
Another important component of the CAC is the leadership and management of the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT). The MDT is made up of the CAC, local law enforcement, the Department of Family Protective Services, and the District Attorney’s office. All these members come together to communicate and prevent ongoing revictimization that can be experienced when dealing with the justice system. MDT Coordinator Sydne Smith was asked what the biggest help coming from the CAC was, “Really having that neutral 3rd party in the investigation [so clients] don’t have to talk to an investigator every time”.
Most importantly, all these services, including parenting classes and counseling are provided at no cost to the families. Without the CAC at Abigail’s Arms, survivors, and their families would undoubtedly be underserved.
Currently, there are 70 Child Advocacy Centers in Texas. In 2022, Abigail’s Arms served 762 children and their families.
Abigail’s Arm’s mission is to provide a safe space for families in crisis, educate and empower individuals, and create awareness in our communities.
“Providing support to child victims and their families is a critical effort for our CAC team. Working together with out MDT Partners we want to assist our community members as they navigate through a system no one chooses to be involved in. With support and encouragement, we hope to empower families to walk through their story with strength and courage”, Ginger Johnson, Executive Director.
Spotlight and Events
This month we would like to spotlight one of our volunteers, Judy Drake. We asked her what interested her in volunteering for Abigail’s Arms. Judy explained she wanted to do something where she could use some of her skills from nursing, as she had just retired when she started volunteering. Judy enjoys coming in to help her community, “It’s very rewarding for me because I think that it’s better to give than to receive. Inside you feel better about giving to somebody.”
“If I could describe Ms. Judy, I would says she is a very strong woman. She is very giving, loving, friendly and has a heart for helping people. I can always depend on Judy and I know she will be very helpful and very caring. She is the greatest!”, says Angel Madrid, Administrative assistant who works very closely with our volunteers.
Here at Abigail’s Arms, we learn so much from our volunteers and we are all grateful for them. Without their help, staff wouldn’t be able to help the community as much as we do.