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Address

152 Second Street, NE P.O. Box 982. New Philadelphia, OH 44663

Contact

Phone: 330.364.2777
Fax: 330.364.2777
tusccac@yahoo.com

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

About Us

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

Executive Director

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

Our Founders

In 2009 a Multi-disciplinary team of community partners began to explore the advantages to utilizing the Child Advocacy Center model, here in Tuscarawas County. After attending training these community partners began to take the steps needed to open a local center here in Tuscarawas County. In April, 2010, Sheriff Walt Wilson, Judge Linda Kate, Prosecutor Ryan Styer, and Job & Family Services Director Lynn Angelozzi formally agreed to work together to form the Tuscarawas County Child Advocacy Center, which, in June, 2010, organized as a non-profit corporation. David Shaffer of the ADAMHS Board and Sandy Woods retired JFS worker, were also instrumental in the opening of the Child Advocacy Center.

The Tuscarawas County Child Advocacy Center formally opened its doors on June 21, 2011, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The TCCAC is organized as a 501© (3) nonprofit charitable organization. To date the CAC has served nearly 550 children.  The CAC approach focuses on providing “best practice” care for these child victims , minimizing the trauma they experience and allowing investigations to move forward. Children and Families are connected to services to promote recovery and healing right from the disclosure and linked to specialize care providers, experienced in working with victims of abuse. Interviews are video recorded for use by medical professionals, and Investigators and these DVDs can be very compelling evidence to advance the court proceedings, thus also protecting the community from offenders.

Summary of Development

Several years of planning, hard labor, commitment and dedication to children have gone into the Tuscarawas County Child Advocacy Center since its inception of 2009.  The ideas were planted when child serving professionals from the County Prosecutor’s Office, Officers from Local Law Enforcement Agencies, and Child Protective Workers from Job and Family Services joined forces and attended a five day workshop on forensic child interviewing.   The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) approach has been at the forefront of providing best practice to children of sexual and serious physical abuse. Traditionally, each system involved in the process has a different role in the investigation and intervention process.  Sometimes, their efforts to fulfill these roles result in re-traumatizing the victim they are seeking to assist.  The CAC creates a mechanism for coordinating these services.   Now, instead of the child victim navigating the difficult and confusing systems of multiple, repetitive interviews – the system is brought to the child.  This unique, collaborative, wrap-around approach to child abuse was started in Huntsville, Ala. where the first CAC was developed a nearly 30 years ago.  

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.

Some of our most exciting news of 2017 was the addition of ALEXA, our facility dog to our Multi-disciplinary Team.  Alexa joined us on Sept. 29, 2017 and has supported over 100 children during forensic interviews or other difficult situations including appearing in court.  Alexa is a Labrador Retriever.  She weighs 55 pounds and was born on October 25, 2015.   Alexa provides love and support to children who have faced a traumatic or stressful experience.  Alex’s calming presence allows youth to more easily describe the difficult things that have happened to them and help them overcome their fears and anxiety during interviews, appointments or court appearances.  Alexa is a gentle, loving dog who takes her job seriously; but when she isn’t working at the Child Advocacy Center, appearing in court or at a school, she loves to play with her tennis balls or curl up for a long nap.  Alexa was trained by Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) for two years and provided to us free of charge to join our Team as a Facility Dog.  For more information on CCI visit: http://www.cci.org/

Why a Child Advocacy Center

The TCCAC is a member of the Ohio Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, and is and Accredited Member of the National Children’s Alliance. The NCA is the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers around the country, dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient– and put the needs of child victims first.

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

Contact Us

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152 Second Street, NE P.O. Box 982 New Philadelphia, OH 44663

 

330.364.2777

 

tusccac@yahoo.com