Making a Difference: Children's Resource Center

A Child Advocacy Center in Central PA is Making a Difference for abused and neglected children.

For most people, the abuse or neglect of a child, whether it's your child or not, is hard to wrap our head around.

But, for more than a thousand children each year in Central PA, that is the reality.

The Children's Resource Center is making a difference by helping those children and their families through the trauma.

Lynn Carson, CRC Manager says, "If you've seen a story on t.v. or heard about it in the news, it is likely the child has been here at the Children's Resource Center."

The good news is the Children's Resource Center based out of Pinnacle Health in Harrisburg has been around for 21 years for abused and neglected children in nine Central Pa counties, with a focus on Dauphin, Cumberland, Lebanon and Perry Counties.

And that's the bad news, if a child is coming to the facility on Third Street in Harrisburg, they have been through some kind of emotional and physical trauma.

Carson said, "So a child maybe witnessed an abuse of the caregiver, they themselves were abused or maybe they grew up in a home where a parent was incarcerated..."

Carson adds that only 9% of children advocacy centers are medically based, so it's important to note that if they come here to the CRC they're not only getting mental health services but medical services as well.

And that's key to success of the services provided here, the wholistic approach . There are interview rooms set up with the closed circuit cameras so law enforcement can watch the interviews without being intimidating to the child.

The Young Child's Room is made to be as comfortable as possible with therapy tools like markers and Playdoh to try and relax the child and help with telling their story. The nursing staff also has its own "tools" to help during medical examination.

Mary Twomey, CRN and Nurse Practitioner at the CRC says, "We use bubbles, we use distracted play techniques, distractive talking, whatever it takes sometimes we will do an exam on a teddy bear, we'll let them examine the teddy bear, but the exam, 95% of the time we are able to examine the child."

It's those successes that led the Harrisburg Automotive Association to support the CRC, through donations received from the PA Auto Show and Pinnacle Health charity event.

Jack Oyler, President of HATA says, "When we learned of the work they were doing, we decided to get involved. Just in this area, the number of children who have been abused or neglected is staggering."

Support from the auto show and other fundraisers is crucial to the CRC being able to provide these services to families free of charge and they will make a difference in the entire life of a child.

Lynn Carson says an adverse children's experience, or ACES, report shows that young victims who don't receive mental health and medical services can have serious injuries later.

"They are more likely to become drug addicted, to develop HIV, Hepatitis, heart disease, lung disease because they smoke and drink as a coping mechanism when they were teens and young adults," Lynn said.

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