A report from the front lines: treating child abuse in Arkansas

Child abuseCurrently, abused children and their families make many stops all over campus to get the treatment they need. The new Children's House will streamline this process and make recovery easier. 

An interview with Dr. Jan Church, Family Treatment Program

When the new Children’s House opens on the ACH campus in 2015, it will house all of the current medical, mental health and legal services and programs offered to abuse victims and their families.

Janice K. Church, Ph.D., is the assistant director of the Family Treatment Program, which is the mental health piece of the Center for Children at Risk at ACH. We spoke with her about her work with children and families.   

What gives you the greatest joy in your work?
Seeing kids put their trauma and victimization behind them and lead happy, productive and safe lives. 

What makes you sad in your work?
Kids who lack family or community support to help them manage their trauma experiences. 

What does success look like in your field?
Having a child or family who is initially difficult to work with ultimately thank me for helping them. Also, recognition of our program at the local, state, national and international levels.

Do you also have failures?
Unfortunately, yes. Some children are so traumatized they engage in self-destructive or harmful behaviors as a result. It also feels like a failure when parents don’t prioritize their kids' needs and well-being.

What will the new Children’s House mean for child abuse treatment efforts in Arkansas?
Having all of these programs and services located under one roof will ensure a seamless and expedient delivery of services, from the initial forensic interview to medical evaluation to treatment. 

In other words, after a child is evaluated medically, the child/family can be walked down the hall and immediately get hooked up with therapeutic treatment follow-up services. There would be no delays in getting kids set up for therapy and the children/adolescents and their families would be seen at a place they hopefully already view as safe. 

The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation is helping Arkansas Children’s Hospital fight the child abuse epidemic with a $500,000 challenge grant. If met, the grant will support construction of Children’s House.

You can help victims of abuse and neglect – and your donation will go farther thanks to the Mabee Foundation. 

You can help children heal from abuse and neglect. Click here for our online donation form and be sure to enter “Children’s House” in the comment box.

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