Sep 19, 2009 Walt Shepperd Uncategorized
September 21 to 24 is the third annual McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Site “Do 1 Thing Campaign” to prevent child abuse. Opened in 2002, the Advocacy Site was created as a safe neutral space for investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse. Affiliated with the National Children’s Alliance, and a member of the Child Abuse Response Team of Onondaga County, the Site was created by members of the Ryan and McMahon families as a place where children who have been abused and their non-offending families can come for services.
Hoping to restore trust once lost, a priority of the Site’s advocacy process is to change the traditional protocols of the child abuse system. The desired changes are represented in the story of Robin, age 5, noted as a typical case on an illustrated flyer from the Children’s Advocacy Center in Chicago. “Robin tells her teacher she is being hurt at home,” the story begins. Arrows trace a lengthy process in which Robin has to talk to her teacher, principal and school nurse. The school then calls the police hotline and Robin has to talk to an officer, another nurse, a social worker and a doctor.
A detective assigned to Robin’s case takes her through another round of nurses, social workers and doctors, then on to a child protection investigator, a lawyer and finally a counselor. Distressed, Robin wonders aloud why she has to talk to so many people at so many different locations. The flip side of the flyer retells the story at a single centralized location. When Robin tells her teacher she is being hurt by her mom’s new boyfriend at home, she and her mom are directed to the Center, where she is referred to a counselor and her mom talks to an advocate to help her understand the system.
In the retold tale, Robin tells her story with a detective, CPS worker and state’s attorney listening unseen, as a team in another room. Robin can see a doctor on the spot. To help local Robins, the McMahon/Ryan site has created a child-centered space where representatives of several area organizations and agencies can work in coordination. The site is a non-profit charitable organization that depends on government and foundation grants and individual private support. Anyone interested in donating or volunteering for the Site can call 701-2985 for more information.
Events for the “Do 1 Thing Campaign” include a community breakfast on Wednesday, September 23 at 7:30 a.m. at the Palace Theater. Tickets are $25. The following day a Neighborhood Festival will provide free hot dogs to the first 200 people beginning at 4 p.m., with ice cream, face painting, games, and entertainment provided by the Media Unit, the Media Mayhem Band and Hot 107.9. The Fire Department and DARE will provide information booths at the Festival, located in the Site’s backyard at 509 West Onondaga Street.