TCCAC part­ners with pe­di­atric providers

Sunday Star - - LOCAL -

EAS­TON — Tal­bot County Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cacy Cen­ter, a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort of sev­eral Tal­bot County agen­cies to pro­vide ser­vices to Tal­bot County chil­dren and fam­i­lies vic­tim­ized by sex­ual abuse, re­cently was re-ac­cred­ited by the Na­tional Chil­dren’s Al­liance.

The cen­ter was fully ac­cred­ited ini­tially in 2007, with re-ac­cred­i­ta­tion again in 2012. Its most re­cent reac­cred­i­ta­tion this spring is sig­nif­i­cant as the cen­ter seeks to trans­form and grow its med­i­cal pro­gram.

“While we re­ceived no rec­om­men­da­tions for im­prove­ment at our re­cent ac­cred­i­ta­tion, which was a great ac­com­plish­ment, we con­tin­u­ously strive to in­cor­po­rate new ideas and ex­pand cur­rent pro­grams to bet­ter serve our com­mu­nity,” said Diane Shaf­fer, LCSW-C, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of child wel­fare and work­force sup­port at the Tal­bot County De­part­ment of So­cial Ser vices.

“In re­gard to our med­i­cal pro­gram, we want to build upon our tal­ented pool of sex­ual as­sault nurse ex­am­iner nurses, who have spe­cial train­ing to con­duct sex­ual as­sault foren­sic ex­ams, as well as to build sta­bil­ity with our med­i­cal di­rec­tor,” she said.

Tal­bot County De­part­ment of So­cial Ser­vices part­nered with the Univer­sity of Mary­land Shore Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Eas­ton to de­velop the Regional Med­i­cal Pro­gram for child sex­ual abuse vic­tims.

Med­i­cal ser­vices nec­es­sary for child sex­ual abuse vic­tims were not avail­able in the Mid-Shore re­gion in 2002 (Caro­line, Dorch­ester, Kent, Queen Anne and Tal­bot coun­ties). Fam­i­lies and chil­dren of­ten had to travel to Bal­ti­more or Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

To­day, the Univer­sity of Mary­land Shore Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Eas­ton pro­vides the phys­i­cal space for the Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cacy Cen­ter, in­fra­struc­ture sup­port to the Mid-Shore Med­i­cal Pro­gram, in­clud­ing se­cu­rity, part­ner­ship through the nurse man­ager of the birthing cen­ter, ser­vices of the sex­ual as­sault nurse ex­am­iner co­or­di­na­tor and sup­port from pe­di­atrics.

Regional ser­vice de­liv­ery is chore­ographed to the needs of the vic­tim and within the best prac­tice stan­dards for the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. From 2002 to 2016, 516 chil­dren who have been sex­u­ally abused have re­ceived foren­sic med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions through the Mid-Shore Med­i­cal Pro­gram.

The cen­ter is look­ing to part­ner with pe­di­atric providers to ex­pand its med­i­cal pro­gram ser­vices to even bet­ter sup­port child vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault and their fam­i­lies. In turn, the TCCAC can serve as a re­source to the re­gion’s pe­di­a­tri­cians on child vic­tim is­sues, help­ing physi­cians to meet the med­i­cal, emo­tional and so­cial needs around this issue.

In ad­di­tion to the Tal­bot County De­part­ment of So­cial Ser­vices and the Univer­sity of Mary­land Shore Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Eas­ton, pe­di­a­tri­cians and nurses, a num­ber of other agen­cies are rep­re­sented on the multi-dis­ci­plinary team, which as­sists the cen­ter in pro­vid­ing ser­vices to the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies on the Mid Shore. These part­ners in­clude the Tal­bot County State’s At­tor­ney’s Of­fice, a men­tal health ther­a­pist, the Tal­bot County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, the Mary­land State Po­lice, the Eas­ton Po­lice De­part­ment and the St. Michael’s Po­lice De­part­ment.

Tal­bot Com­mu­nity Con­nec­tions, a 14-mem­ber vol­un­teer non­profit board, was formed to raise funds to en­hance the Tal­bot County De­part­ment of So­cial Ser­vices’ ca­pac­ity to re­spond di­rectly to prob­lems of safety and well-be­ing of county cit­i­zens. The funds raised by TCC help abused chil­dren through TCCAC, fam­i­lies in cri­sis, the un­em­ployed and work­ing poor, and dis­abled and frail el­derly. In 2017, TCC pro­vided $5,900 to the TCCAC.

In ad­di­tion to grant funds, the cen­ter op­er­ates on do­nated funds from the com­mu­nity. The gen­er­ous con­tri­bu­tion of space and fa­cil­ity in­fra­struc­ture from Shore Health Sys­tem is es­sen­tial to keep­ing the cen­ter’s doors open. To do­nate to Tal­bot Com­mu­nity Con­nec­tions for the Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cacy Cen­ter, visit tal­bot­com­mu­ni­ty­con­nec­tions.org. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the TCCAC’s med­i­cal pro­gram, con­tact Diane Shaf­fer at 410819-4532.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Lauren Krasko, new co­or­di­na­tor at the Tal­bot County Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cacy Cen­ter, poses in front of a mu­ral in the cen­ter that was painted by lo­cal artist Mag­gie Sar­faty.

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