Reflections of the Executive Director
By Tom Soma
The first thing that became obvious upon my arrival in July is that people don't like talking about child abuse. My next realization: we have to talk about it. We can't afford not to.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in six children will experience abuse before their 18th birthday. That’s shocking. It’s also expensive.
Following a landmark study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1998, co-investigator Dr. Robert Anda called child abuse “the gravest and most costly public health issue in the United States.” Asserting that its overall costs “exceeded those of cancer or heart disease,” he concluded that “eradicating child abuse in America would reduce the overall rate of depression by more than half, alcoholism by two-thirds, and suicide, IV drug use, and domestic violence by three-quarters.” (The Body Keeps the Score, p 178).
A 2010 study by Portland’s Providence Research Center supports Dr. Anda’s contention. Of the 47 participating “High Medicaid Utilizers” (all of whom had experienced “adverse childhood events” such as physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or witness to violence before the age of 19), not a single one was able to work at the age of 30.
Clearly, child abuse isn’t just a serious social problem. It’s a serious business problem. We can invest in cost-effective solutions now—or we’ll pay a steeper price later.
Children’s Center is a refuge for children and families scarred by abuse and neglect—whose healing journeys begin here. But our work is likewise an antidote to more debilitating and costly challenges down the road, which makes Children’s Center one of the community’s best investments—from a human standpoint, a medical standpoint, a government standpoint, an insurance standpoint, and a philanthropic standpoint.
ANNUAL REPORT 2015-2016
THE MISSION OF CHILDREN'S CENTER
To support and medically assess children who are suspected victims of abuse or neglect.
Working to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect
1 in 6 children will experience abuse before their 18th birthday.
stories from the year
An ambitious Law Enforcement Officer is faced with the challenges surrounding the procedures for investigating family and juvenile related crimes. A determined community partner shifts their focus to ensure caregivers, families, and our children always have a voice. A loving mother in the search of the road to hope and healing finds support for her daughter.
Revisit the HIGHLIGHTS OF thE Year at Children’s Center
Child Abuse Assessment Services
Certified medical providers complete comprehensive head-to-toe exams to identify and diagnose signs of abuse or neglect. These examinations may include specialized screening for children who are suspected of having been endangered by exposure to drugs.
Digitally recorded forensic interviews, observed by investigators, are conducted so children can share their stories in a safe and neutral setting, guided by specialists who are trained to talk to children of all ages and developmental levels.
Each year, Children’s Center conducts medical assessments and interviews for more than 400 Clackamas County children who are suspected victims of abuse and neglect—while providing resources, referrals, or other support to more than 300 additional families.
Children’s Center is a trusted source for information and referrals related to child abuse intervention and prevention. The Center’s clinical staff regularly fields inquiries from community members, parents, medical and education professionals, and referring partners or agencies seeking advice or access to resources for a variety of child safety concerns.
Children’s Center is the designated medical provider for Clackamas County children when injuries are suspected to be the result of physical abuse. Under Karly’s Law, these children must be seen within 48-hours of when the injury was documented.
Family Support Services
Support, consultation, referrals and education are offered to all families in Clackamas County, whether or not their children are seen at Children’s Center.
Response to Inappropriately Sexualized Kids (RISK) Outreach
RISK was established to provide support, education, resources and intervention to children eleven years and younger who demonstrate sexually inappropriate behavior. Children’s Center contacts families in these cases with a goal of addressing the behaviors before they escalate to a level that necessitates juvenile justice involvement.
Prevention and Education
Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children®
Children’s Center provides the Stewards of Children® curriculum to educational institutions, businesses and organizations, faith centers, other caregivers, and all individuals who care for or are concerned about children in our community. The program includes practical steps to reduce opportunities for abuse to occur, while equipping adults with tools to support children when concerns of abuse arise.
Our teams of physicians, nurse practitioners, forensic interviewers, mental health providers, educators, and qualified volunteers provide presentations, training, and consultations for local groups who are interested in learning more about services and programs of Children’s Center.
Children’s Center supports school districts, law enforcement agencies, child protection workers, health care providers, caregivers and families, and other professionals who work with youth to prevent and respond skillfully to concerns of abuse.
recognizing our champions
Thank you to our generous donors and champions who supported Children’s Center in the 2015-2016 fiscal year!
We imagine an Oregon where no child has to bear the burden of abuse. Our Monthly Champions step up for kids by generously giving each month.
OUR LOYAL SUPPORTERS
Thank you to our loyal supporters for making it possible for Children's Center to serve hundreds of children and families in Clackamas County this year!
Honoring loved ones, please visit our complete list of memorial and honorary gifts made in 2015-16. Gift amounts in this section will always remain confidential.
Last year, more than 100 volunteers dedicated over 1,400 hours of service to support the mission of Children's Center. By providing their generous time and energy, this talented group donated services valued at $33,530.
Uniquely Portland! Johanna McCormick, Procurement Chair, poses with Kelsey McDaniel, Director of Marketing for Alpha Media and KINK Radio. In 2015, McCormick directed procurement efforts for our annual Healing Garden Gala and drummed up a signed electric guitar for our auction.
BETTY FOLMSBEE and GREETER DOG, LENA
Children's Center introduced a new level of care for visiting children and their supportive families. Longtime supporter, Betty Folmsbee, joined the Center's volunteer team with her trained Greeter Dog, Lena, to help provide a calm influence for families during appointments.
Carolyne & GARY FILSINGER
Carolyne & Gary Filsinger are part of the collaborative event support team at Children's Center, helping at nearly all of our signature events throughout the year. Providing a pinch of wisdom and humor, the Filsingers also deliver homemade baked goods (along with homespun wisdom and encouragment) to the staff on the second Thursday of each month.
Over the past two years, Jeri Evans has helped Children’s Center train more than 100 parents, teachers and community members about how to prevent child sexual abuse, and continues to lead the way on the Stewards of Children® statewide initiative.