April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect. Through this collaboration, prevention services and supports help protect children and produce thriving families.
Two local organizations provide intervention and prevention services to help protect Spartanburg’s children and families.
Hope Center for Children
The mission of Hope Center for Children (HCFC) is to build stable, healthy families and to provide children a safe place from abuse and neglect.
HCFC is the result of a 2013 merger between two organizations with histories of providing residential care for children in foster care, The Ellen Hines Smith Girls’ Home and the Children’s Shelter of the Upstate. These two strong organizations merged to form Hope Center for Children, resulting in a pooling of resources to provide a wider continuum of services for children and families in Spartanburg and the surrounding areas.
This name captures the heart of each program: providing hope to children and families. Since the merger, HCFC has continued to expand services, and today six cohesive programs fulfill the mission. All six programs use evidence-based and/or evidence-informed models, yielding outstanding annual outcomes.
Hope Center for Children is committed to meeting a range of child and family needs. They believe that the best way to make sure children in our community thrive, is to equip parents or caregivers with the tools and support they need to overcome barriers and to teach strong values and life skills to their children. Some of the programs offer this support, working with the whole family. However, for a small number of children, when home is not safe for them, they provide around-the-clock care and teaching to make sure they are successful.
HCFC Programs include:
- Positive Parenting Program (Triple P)
- Offers support for the entire family either in their homes or in a group setting by providing parents/caregivers the tools and resources they need to be effective and confident in their roles. This program also offers support as children leave foster care and transition back to their families or into new family situations.
- Clinical Support Services
- Offers mental health counseling to anyone in the community, with the main focus on working to heal child abuse and trauma.
- Empowering Families
- Provides caseworkers for families referred by DSS to offer support and resources with a goal to prevent children and their families from experiencing the trauma of abuse or neglect.
- Faucette House
- Provides a shelter for youth in foster care who need a higher level of care than a foster family can provide. Caring for boys and girls from birth to 19 years old, professional staff ensures the basic needs of the children are provided including on-site therapy, along with love and support to stabilize children during their time of trauma.
- Anchor House
- Provides around-the-clock care in a safe, home-like environment where children and teens may heal from abuse or neglect and gain skills that help them succeed. Serving teen girls and sibling groups of any gender from all across the state, professional staff oversee organized activities that build skills necessary for meaningful and productive lives in the future.
- Transitional Living Program
- Offers safe shelter for young men and women ages 16 to 21 and case management and support through 22 years old as they gain skills needed to live independently. This program serves youth who are aging out of the foster care system or have no safe place to live as they move toward adulthood.
Children’s Advocacy Center
Another local organization providing services to combat child abuse and neglect is Children’s Advocacy Center of Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union.
Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) are trauma-sensitive, child-friendly organizations that provide services for children and families who have been affected by sexual or physical abuse. Rather than multiple professionals interviewing children in detail regarding abuse allegations, the CAC model brings a multidisciplinary team of professionals together to work collaboratively in a child-centered approach.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union’s mission is to heal and give voice to abused children through assessment, treatment, education, and community partnerships.
They achieve this mission through:
- Forensic Assessments
- A child-friendly and non-leading interview essential in obtaining age-appropriate information when a child may have experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, or witnessed a violent crime
- Medical Examinations
- Physical examinations that identify immediate and ongoing needs of each child, whether incurred by the alleged abuse or otherwise
- Trauma-Focused Therapy
- Counseling to heal the child’s specific trauma and overcome wounds that have the potential to be lasting and destructive if left untreated
- Family Counseling and Support
- Support offered throughout the case to help non-offending caregivers navigate the child welfare systems and understand and effectively respond to their child’s feelings and behaviors
- Multidisciplinary Team Meetings
- A multidisciplinary response, including law enforcement, prosecutors, medical professionals, therapists, DSS personnel, Guardian ad Litem, etc., to determine the best interests and needs of each child
- Prevention and Outreach Programs
- Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children
- This two-hour child sexual abuse prevention training equips adults with knowledge and skills to recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.
- Parent and Caregiver Support Group
- This support and education group is offered to non-offending caregivers of CAC clients. Some of the topics covered include stress management, facts and myths about child sexual abuse, effects of child sexual abuse, sex offender characteristics, criminal domestic violence, internet safety, parenting skills, and how to navigate the child welfare and legal systems.
- CAC can also provide speakers on other topics:
- An overview of CAC programs, services, and ways to be involved
- Mandated reporting
- Internet safety
- Recognizing and responding to abuse and neglect
- Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children
We Can Work to End Child Abuse and Neglect
Thriving families depend on strong support systems. Support can come from family, friends, neighbors, and others in the community. By supporting these organizations we can make it easier for families to access services and learn how to identify and build on family strengths.