Commentary by Wendy Gamble
Editor’s note: Current Publishing has begun a partnership with the Hamilton County Executive Directors Group to run a guest column each month to showcase the work being done by area nonprofit organizations. Read more at youarecurrent.com.
Cherish, also known as Advocates for Children and Families Inc., is a nationally accredited child advocacy center and a local nonprofit. We have been helping children and families in Hamilton County since it was founded in 2009.
We exist to serve the needs of children who may have suffered sexual or physical abuse or neglect. When a child reports having been abused in some way, we at Cherish bring together our multi-disciplinary team, which includes representatives from the prosecutor’s office, law enforcement, Dept. of Child Services and a Prevail family advocate. The child then comes to Cherish, where we have forensically trained interviewers who elicit the child’s statement using research-supported, neutral, non-leading techniques. Our team strives to work together, in a caring way, to discover truth and seek justice for kids. This is all done at no cost to any family or agency.
Before this concept was used, if a child disclosed having been abused, they might have had to tell their story several times, to several different agencies. This revictimized the child each time they had to repeat their story. Now, it can usually be done once, in a safe and supportive environment. Previously, after reporting abuse, families often felt they were alone, with no assistance in the healing process. Now, after the interview is finished, families are referred to any mental health or other support services that might be needed, including trauma therapy. We have been asked, “Who would provide this if Cherish wasn’t able to pay for these services?” The answer is that the county would be required to fund it, which costs more than $470,000 annually.
We keep the doors open through grant money and donations.Help us provide hope for Hamilton County children.
Nancy Chance is the executive director of Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County.
Wendy Gamble is the executive director of Cherish. She may be contacted at email@example.com. Learn more about Cherish at cherishcac.org.