Montco child ad­vo­cacy pro­ject should be sup­ported

North Penn Life - - OPINION -

The film crew that came to the Mont­gomery County Court­house last week fo­cused on a valu­able pro­gram that helps the county’s most vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents when they be­come caught up in the dif­fi­cult pro­cesses of court.

The film­ing was for a com­mer­cial to por­tray the story of an abused child as he nav­i­gates the court sys­tem with the help of Mont­gomery Child Ad­vo­cacy Pro­ject through a child ad­vo­cate.

“MCAP pro­vides strength and a voice to abused chil­dren in Mont­gomery County by giv­ing them free le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion,” said Abby Sil­ver­man Leeds, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the ad­vo­cacy pro­ject.

Pro­duced by Flim Films LLC, an in­de­pen­dent, full-ser­vice film, video and mul­ti­me­dia pro­duc­tion com­pany with a stu­dio in Lansdowne, the pro­mo­tional spot will ap­pear on MCAP’s web­site and be used by MCAP mem­bers at speak­ing en­gage­ments and sem­i­nars to high­light the agency’s work and will also be used to pro­mote the or­ga­ni­za­tion for fundrais­ing pur­poses.

“We want to pro­mote MCAP and get the word out. When we have mem­bers of our board and when we have other peo­ple who are asked to go speak places it’s nice to be able to take some­thing that peo­ple can watch,” Leeds said.

And it’s good to have an or­ga­ni­za­tion the cal­iber of MCAP to pro­mote.

The Mont­gomery Child Ad­vo­cacy Pro­ject, formed in the late 1990s and of­fi­cially be­com­ing a non­profit in 2005, pro­vides free le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion and so­cial ser­vices to chil­dren who are vic­tims of abuse and ne­glect.

Vol­un­teer lawyers sup­port and pro­tect fright­ened, over­whelmed chil­dren as they nav­i­gate the court sys­tem.

The child ad­vo­cates ad­dress the needs of chil­dren who are vic­tims or wit­nesses in cases of fam­ily vi­o­lence when the in­ter­ests of the child are in con­flict with the rest of the fam­ily. The prin­ci­ple founders of the pro­ject were Dis­trict At­tor­ney Risa Vetri Fer­man, Judge Wendy Dem­chick-Al­loy and lawyer Marc R. Stein­berg.

MCAP of­ten works hand-in-hand with the Mis­sion Kids Child Ad­vo­cacy Cen­ter.

Mis­sion Kids, opened in 2009, was cre­ated by the col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort of the Mont­gomery County Dis­trict At­tor­ney, the Po­lice Chiefs of Mont­gomery County and the Mont­gomery County Of­fice of Chil­dren and Youth to stop the life cy­cle of abuse and im­prove out­comes for abused chil­dren and their fam­i­lies. The non­profit cor­po­ra­tion op­er­ates a child-friendly fa­cil­ity where med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, so­cial work­ers, po­lice of­fi­cers and at­tor­neys come to­gether to con­duct foren­sic in­ter­views, stream­lin­ing the in­ves­tiga­tive process and pro­vid­ing vic­tims with the nec­es­sary sup­port ser­vices to help them heal.

“We hope that peo­ple see what MCAP is, the im­por­tance of MCAP and that they can un­der­stand why MCAP is such an es­sen­tial ser­vice to the chil­dren of Mont­gomery County and that by see­ing that and rec­og­niz­ing how im­por­tant it is they will want to help us,” Leeds said of the com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion.

MCAP and Mis­sion Kids make a dif­fer­ence in Mont­gomery County and fill an ex­em­plary role as ad­vo­cates for chil­dren.

Cur­rently, about 202 lawyers do­nate their time as child ad­vo­cates. Since the pro­ject’s in­cep­tion, lawyer ad­vo­cates have helped 3,152 chil­dren through­out the county, ac­cord­ing to Pat Teaford, pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor.

The pro­gram deserves sup­port and pro­mo­tion as a role model for other coun­ties and as a re­source for chil­dren.

21st Cen­tury Me­dia News Ser­vice

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