152 Second Street, NE
P.O. Box 982
New Philadelphia, OH 44663
To report child abuse during business hours
Call 330-339-7791 x4
To report child abuse or neglect NOW
Call 330-339-2000 24 hours
Board of Directors
Ryan Styer, Board President Tuscarawas County Prosecutor
David Haverfield, Vice President Director, Tuscarawas County Department of Job and Family Services
Orvis Campbell, Secretary Tuscarawas County Sheriff
Megan Guinee, Treasurer Timken Plant Manager, New Philadelphia
Doug Shoup Noah’s Hope and Community Member
Travis Alberts Chief Operations Officer, New Philadelphia City Schools
Brian Flood Faith Christian Church
Tara Wright-Timberlake Attorney at Law
Vacant Board Position
Advisory Board Members
Kristen Shoup Noah’s Hope and Community Member
Natalie Bollon Executive Director, ADAMHS Board
Vanessa Stergios L.S.W./L.P.C.C
MacKrea Larue, MSW/LSW Program Manager
Child and Family Specialist
Tusc Against Trafficking Coordinator
Robin Bowdish Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinator
Summary of Development
The primary goal of the Child Advocacy Center is to ensure that children disclosing abuse are not further victimized by the intervention systems designed to protect them. CAC’s are child-focused, facility-based programs in which representatives from many disciplines work together to conduct interviews and make team decisions on cases of child abuse. CAC models for child abuse intervention are proven and effective, bringing together trained professionals to investigate and provide medical and mental healthcare as well as support to child victims of abuse, while holding offenders accountable through the court system. CAC locations are child-focused and designed to create a sense of safety and security for child victims.
In April of 2010, officials and leaders of Tuscarawas County, including Juvenile Court Judge Linda Kate, Prosecutor Ryan Styer, Sheriff Walt Wilson and Director Lynn Angelozzi of Job and Family Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the Tuscarawas County Child Advocacy Center. The TCCAC Board of Directors was organized as a nonprofit corporation 501©3. For over a year, retired former JFS Child Abuse Investigator Sandy Wood volunteered as the ad hoc director, preparing for the CAC for opening; writing grants, arranging training and the other countless tasks that needed done before the center could become operational.
The project took a major step forward when community leaders and the Tuscarawas County Commissioners agreed on the ideal space at the Tuscarawas County Child Support Enforcement Agency, with a no-cost lease agreement. The Collaboration continued as additional community partners came together to support the project through capital grants; with the Timken Foundation, the Rosenberry Foundation, Haman Foundation and Moomaw Foundation awarding a total of $45,000 in grants to remodel the first home of the CAC. In-kind donations came from Dutchman Hospitality Group, Williams Furniture, and Gradall Industries to complete the items needed to make the space functional and home-like. The ADAMHS Board created a huge endorsement when they agreed to help support much of the CAC’s operational expenses. Many others have contributed their time, made in-kind donations and contributed financially to support the opening of Tuscarawas County Child Advocacy Center. Operational expenses have been supported by the Alcohol and Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Tuscarawas County, and the Tuscarawas County – Sheriff, Prosecutor, and Department of Job and Family Services.
In April of 2011 the Board of Directors officially hired Sandy Wood, as its part-time director. Her role, among many, was to coordinate the multidisciplinary interviews, facilitate bi-weekly team review meetings, and promote community awareness regarding child abuse. As part of the CAC process, a multidisciplinary team (MDT) of professionals meets the first and third Wednesdays of the month to review cases that have been interviewed and recorded at the CAC. The MDT is made up of highly trained professionals, including representatives from the CAC, investigators from Job and Family Services, child advocacy and service coordination, prosecution, law enforcement, mental health, and medical personnel. The Tuscarawas County Child Advocacy Center opened its doors on June 21, 2011, with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The Tuscarawas County Child Advocacy Center Director, Sandra Wood retired at the beginning of September 2012. After the CAC has celebrated its first full year of operation and began to moving forward. Initially, the Board hired an interim director to assess the organization, outline next steps and to implement strategies to move toward becoming an accredited CAC. Being able to obtain permanent, quality leadership for this organization will be crucial to its ability to meet the upcoming demands. Through the end of 2012 and early 2013 the Board of Directors and the CAC strengthened its organizational capacity and was able to get some financial stability with the help of the community and local foundations. In July of 2013, Vanessa Stergios moved from Interim to Executive Director of the CAC. By the end of 2013 the TCCAC had established itself as an Associate Member of the National Children’s Alliance, developed a strong relationship with Noah’s Hope, a local organization dedicated to child abuse prevention and awareness activities, and grown its Board of Directors.
As 2013 drew to a close and in early 2014 the TCCAC partnership with Akron Children’s Hospital played a role in establishing medical history. Tele-health Medicine brings the Child Abuse Experts of Akron Children’s Hospital right to our community through our local Akron Children’s Branch, where children can receive many of the services of these experts without the hour and a half drive to Akron. This project was started through the hard work and dedication to Dr. Daryl Steiner. Dr. Steiner retired in 2016, but the project has remained a stable for our families to access the medical specialty needs of our patients through state of the art technology with our partners at Akron Children’s Hospital CARE Center and Dr. Emma Raizman and Dr. Paul McPherson.
The Alcohol and Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Tuscarawas County has identified the TCCAC as a valuable partner in providing best practice services to this vulnerable segment of our population by committing ongoing funding to this project. The Tuscarawas County agencies – Prosecutor, Sheriff and Department of Job and Family Services too, have continued to support the CAC despite their continued budget cuts both locally and at the State level. The County Commissioners support the CAC by providing rent-free space in the Child Support Enforcement Agency building. United Way of Tuscarawas County became a supporting organization in 2015, and supported activities of the CAC before that. Local Foundations and private donations, along with these sources of funding have allowed the CAC to open the doors and serve children. Over the years, additional partnerships have develop and local organizations like Noah’s Hope and the Dover Exchange Club have supported the TCCAC and the children we serve by hosting events, Noah’s Hope Family Fun Day and Chicken BBQ, respectively. The proceeds of these events have been donated to the TCCAC and provide critical financial stability to the organization; allowing us to provide “best practice” care to the child victims of abuse in this community. These relationships have become more than just fundraising but create the foundational support to the organization and those we serve. It truly does take a community to care for children who have been victims of abuse and every dollar and every person who is part of the CAC makes a difference.
In 2015, the TCCAC developed a stronger partnership with the Family and Children’s First Council by partnering and sharing the position of Victim Advocate Service Coordinator to better support the needs of youth and families while at and after leaving the forensic interview. Often families are learning of abuse for the first time when they come to the Child Advocacy Center and this link provides support immediately and following a disclosure of abuse and can assist the families in removing barriers to seeking treatment and connecting to services. Further, in 2016, the TCCAC developed a partnership with the Latino Cultural Connections to provide specialized liaison services to Latino families interacting with the Multi-Disciplinary Team. Latino Cultural Connections was able to provide education and support to organizations that are interacting with our growing Latino population and provide insight to their cultural background, how and why many members of our community have journeyed from Guatemala to our community and how we may better assist them when interacting with our agencies. Latino Cultural Connections is currently experiencing some transitions and we are optimistic that they will continue to bridge the gap to support our growing Latino community. During 2016 and 2017 the TCCAC partnered closely with COMPASS and Toward the Goal Ministries to lead efforts that became the Tuscarawas County Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force. This growing group has become the Tusc Against Trafficking Coalition and recently rolled out a new logo and is increasing partnerships, providing increased awareness, education and working on developing a community response. The TCCAC will also soon house the Human Trafficking Regional Coordinator(s) in a partnership with the Department of Public Safety, Office of Criminal Justice Services.
Why a Child Advocacy Center
The main objectives of a CAC are:
- to provide a child-friendly supportive atmosphere for children and families, when talking about difficult things that may have happened to them;
- to insure that children and their identified needs are placed at the center of the process and that they are linked to appropriate services;
- to determine if abuse occurred and if so, establish the possible cause of abuse;
- to reduce the number of multiple interviews for victims of child sexual abuse by doing a recorded forensic interview
- to increase child health and wellness by connecting youth to specialty medical examinations and to connect them to trauma informed and specialty trained mental health providers.
- to support the victims and non-offending family members by offering better coordinated services and ongoing support;
- to assure that interviewers of children are specially trained and reviewed by their peers in assuring best technique;
- to provide a case review that maximizes communication between multiple agencies to assure that each child victim is receiving the most appropriate and highest quality services; and
- to increase the overall effectiveness of services to child abuse victims;
- To prevent further child abuse through community education and outreach.
Children’s advocacy centers emphasize the coordination of investigation and intervention services by bringing together professionals and agencies as a multidisciplinary team to create a child-focused approach to child abuse cases. As a general matter, services provided by children’s advocacy centers include the following: Multidisciplinary Team Response, Child and Family Friendly Facilities, Forensic Interviewing Services, Victim Advocacy and Support, Specialized Medical Evaluation and Treatment, Specialized Mental Health Services, Training, Education and Support for Child Abuse Professionals, Community Education and Outreach. By using the CAC approach, repeated interviews are avoided, the risk of re-traumatizing the child is reduced and care is taken to gain the most information possible by highly trained forensic interviewers. In addition, the team can act quickly and efficiently to protect the child and as well as determine from a legal standpoint if any immediate action is needed. The interviews are done using proven techniques, based on best practice evidence so an advantage is established if it goes through prosecution in regard to admissible evidence. Additionally, the interviews are video recorded for a cohesive team approach and this can be used by investigators and other professionals as needed. These DVDs can be used as evidence in court proceedings, as well as for peer review – sharpening the skills of the interviewer. These factors ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are prosecuted with evidence that is garnered with best practices and current methodology. Most importantly, the CAC advocates for the best interest of the child and the CAC assures that the team is providing every opportunity to maximize the supports available for their health and well-being, as well as address the health and well-being of the community