The Northeast Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center is taking new leaps to improve services for childhood victims of sexual assault and physical abuse this year.
“We have forensic interviewers on site….that are trained to talk to these kids,” says Amanda Frankenberger, who serves as executive director for the center. “We also have the capability for anybody involved in the investigative process to come watch these interviews.”
Frankenberger says she’s committed to making the process smoother. The center is adding a doctor to conduct mental health evaluations. And bringing on three sexual assault nurses.
“A lot of times when children have to tell stories over and over, a lot of details are lost in the investigative process, and this is a way to get as much information as we can in one setting,” adds Frankenberger.
She is applying for a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar grant to fund upcoming projects. Her initiative to improve child services includes increasing the access to care for families in Mississippi, and other rural counties, where child maltreatment is typically higher. She hopes to open satellite centers in those communities, for families that can’t travel to Jonesboro.
All aspects of the NEA Children’s Advocacy Center, from the staff, to the stuffed animals, provide a safe outlet for children, and their loved ones to heal from trauma. Showing, it takes a village.
“We’re a child friendly place…so when you come in…I mean immediately, kids come in and go play. And they can be a kid for a little bit,” explains Frankenberger, “we’re just kind of very wrap around. Wrap our arms around these families…and just know we are here for help and support.”
The Northeast Arkansas Children’s Advocacy Center will also increase its community involvement. The center will host the pinwheels for prevention of child abuse ceremony on Wednesday, April 10th, 10am at the Craighead county courthouse.