TCCAC partners with pediatric providers
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.
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.