A mother of a victim of child sexual abuse recently called Mission Kids after her child had an interview at Mission Kids by one of our specially trained forensic interviewers regarding the abuse she suffered. The Mother told our Family Advocate that we provided a “comfort zone” for not only her child, but herself, as well. She said that since telling her story in our child friendly center that her daughter’s demeanor has changed so much that even one her neighbors made a comment about the child ‘being happy’. That observation is consistent with symptoms of child abuse, which can include increased anxiety, depressed or irritable mood, social withdrawal, and even suicidality in extreme cases. This story is also consistent with the observations of Mission Kids staff that children often appear that a weight has been taken off their shoulders, they stand taller, and often smile after leaving our facility. With appropriate mental health referrals from Mission Kids, the chance of suffering possible long-term consequences, including delinquency, promiscuity, school failure, substance abuse, difficulty forming and maintaining intimate relationships and the risk of perpetuating the cycle of abuse are dramatically decreased.
Mission Kids is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization providing multi-disciplinary care to alleged victims of sexual and physical abuse. Mission Kids joins a nationwide network of child-focused care facilities designed in accordance with standards established by the National Children’s Alliance and the U.S. Department of Justice. The Center provides a broad range of support services to child victims and their caregivers in an environment that encourages healing and facilitates better prosecution of alleged offenders. Mission Kids provides:
•A safe, child-sensitive place for young victims of child sexual abuse or serious physical abuse;
•Collaborative team investigation that reduces the number of interviews a child victim is subjected to during the initial investigative process;
•Coordination of prosecutors, law enforcement officials, social service and medical professionals specifically trained to support and protect children throughout the entire legal process and beyond.
•Appropriate referrals for child specific medical services designed to reduce the trauma associated with physical examination required in abuse cases;
•Appropriate referrals for therapeutic services for child victims and their families.
Although Mission Kids is officially, ‘gender neutral’, in 2012, Mission Kids served almost 400 children, 73% of whom were female, demonstrating a significant program with a quantifiable impact on girls and ultimately the women they become. Moreover, as a fully Accredited Member of the National Children’s Alliance (the national accreditation body for child advocacy centers), Mission Kids demonstrates an exemplary reputation in the field.