Montco child ad­vo­cacy should be sup­ported

The Globe - - OPINION -

7KH fiOP FrHw WKDW FDPH WR WKH 0RnWJRPHry CRXnWy CRXrW­house last week fo­cused on a valu­able pro­gram that helps the county’s most vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents when they be­come caught XS Ln WKH GLI­fiFXOW SrRFHVVHV RI FRXrW.

7KH fiOPLnJ wDV IRr D FRPPHrFLDO WR SRrWrDy WKH VWRry RI Dn abused child as he nav­i­gates the court sys­tem with the help of 0RnWJRPHry CKLOG $GYRFDFy 3rRjHFW WKrRXJK D FKLOG DGYR­cate.

“0C$3 SrRYLGHV VWrHnJWK DnG D YRLFH WR DEXVHG FKLOGrHn Ln 0RnWJRPHry CRXnWy Ey JLYLnJ WKHP IrHH OHJDO rHSrHVHn­ta­tion,” said Abby Sil­ver­man Leeds, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the ad­vo­cacy pro­ject.

Pro­duced by Flim Films LLC, an in­de­pen­dent, full-serYLFH fiOP, YLGHR DnG PXOWLPHGLD SrRGXFWLRn FRPSDny wLWK a stu­dio in Lansdowne, the pro­mo­tional spot will ap­pear on 0C$3’V wHEVLWH DnG EH XVHG Ey 0C$3 PHPEHrV DW VSHDNing en­gage­ments and sem­i­nars to high­light the agency’s work and will also be used to pro­mote the or­ga­ni­za­tion for fundrais­ing pur­poses.

“:H wDnW WR SrRPRWH 0C$3 DnG JHW WKH wRrG RXW. :KHn we have mem­bers of our board and when we have other peo­ple who are asked to go speak at 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 0C$3 WR SrRPRWH.

7KH 0RnWJRPHry CKLOG $GYRFDFy 3rRjHFW, IRrPHG Ln WKH ODWH 1990V DnG RI­fiFLDOOy EHFRPLnJ D nRnSrR­fiW Ln 2005, SrR­vides 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 WKH LnWHrHVWV RI WKH FKLOG DrH Ln FRn­flLFW wLWK WKH rHVW RI WKH fam­ily. The prin­ci­ple founders of the pro­ject were Dis­trict At­tor­ney Risa Vetri Fer­man, Judge Wendy Dem­chick-Al­loy DnG ODwyHr 0DrF 5. 6WHLnEHrJ.

0C$3 RIWHn wRrNV KDnG-Ln-KDnG wLWK WKH 0LVVLRn .LGV Child Ad­vo­cacy Cen­ter.

0LVVLRn .LGV, RSHnHG Ln 2009, wDV FrHDWHG Ey WKH FROODERrDWLYH HIIRrW RI WKH 0RnWJRPHry CRXnWy DLVWrLFW $WWRrnHy, WKH 3ROLFH CKLHIV RI 0RnWJRPHry CRXnWy DnG WKH 0RnWJRPHry CRXnWy 2IfiFH RI CKLOGrHn DnG YRXWK WR VWRS the life cy­cle of abuse and im­prove out­comes for abused FKLOGrHn DnG WKHLr IDPLOLHV. 7KH nRnSrR­fiW FRrSRrDWLRn RSHrates a child-friendly fa­cil­ity where med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, VRFLDO wRrNHrV, SROLFH RI­fiFHrV DnG DWWRrnHyV FRPH WRJHWKHr to con­duct foren­sic in­ter­views, stream­lin­ing the in­ves­tiga­tive process and pro­vid­ing vic­tims with the nec­es­sary sup­port ser­vices to help them heal.

“:H KRSH WKDW SHRSOH VHH wKDW 0C$3 LV, WKH LPSRrWDnFH RI 0C$3 DnG WKDW WKHy FDn XnGHrVWDnG wKy 0C$3 LV VXFK Dn HVVHnWLDO VHrYLFH WR WKH FKLOGrHn RI 0RnWJRPHry CRXnWy and that by see­ing that and rec­og­niz­ing how im­por­tant it is they will want to help us,” Leeds said of the com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion.

0C$3 DnG 0LVVLRn .LGV PDNH D GLIIHrHnFH Ln 0RnWJRPHry CRXnWy DnG fiOO Dn HxHPSODry rROH DV DGYRFDWHV IRr FKLOGrHn.

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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