JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s the area organization whose employees wish it wasn’t needed. One that’s also celebrating a milestone this year.
“I do this job to help be a small piece of the puzzle to help that child to be able to tell their story in a child friendly setting and help them start the healing process,” said Carrie Jones, Child Advocate, Forensic Interviewer.
April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Prevention month.
The Joplin based Children’s Center is devoted to getting justice for those victims, as well as helping them through that terrible ordeal.
Carrie Jones plays two critical roles here. One — she helps the victim’s family… And the other — she helps victims to explain what happened to them.
“As an advocate, you’re here to be here for the families as they come into the Center, let them know the process of the day and you get in touch with them after they’re here at the Center, help them just navigate the next steps with the court process, as an interviewer you are taking the child back to the room and conducting the forensic interview,” said Jones.
“And we provide forensic interviews for our law enforcement children’s division partners involving children who’ve made disclosures of abuse. We also do some forensic medical exams and provide trauma focussed therapy,” said Matt Stewart, Executive Director, Children’s Center.
The Children’s Center is based in Joplin, but also has locations in Butler, Nevada and Monett. The organization will celebrate its 25th anniversary next month, helping more than 20,000 area victims in the last two and half decades.
“I think to do work like this it’s important to be able to walk out the door and leave it here, it’s sometimes a challenge especially when you are dealing with children the same age as yours, but we do our best to separate,” said Jones.