By Theresa Hart, Development Director for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County

In March, we created three stories of children who have received services in our Medical Department for our Caring for Kids Campaign. These stories were based on real life experiences of children who had received services in our Medical Department. The details of their experiences were altered to protect their identities.

“Jayden’s” story touched me very deeply.

“Jayden” suffered sexual abuse by her mother’s boyfriend. She and her mother were brought to the Children’s Advocacy Center after her mother found her 13-year-old daughter inconsolable upon her return home.

After disclosing the abuse at the Center, Jayden was brought to our Medical Department where she received a head to toe evaluation. Additionally, our in-house pediatrician administered a test for sexually transmitted infections and a pregnancy test. When she left the Center that day, Jayden carried with her a quilt and the assurance that she was healthy and that her body would be okay. Jayden is receiving therapy at the Center and her mother is in treatment for substance abuse.

Jayden was fortunate to have come to the Children’s Advocacy Center where she could receive our specialized medical services, tell the story of her abuse and receive therapy in one child-focused center.

There are many children who have experienced abuse and neglect in the Rogue Valley. The CAC is the only place of its kind In Jackson County. Last year, Jayden was the recipient of one of the more than 200 medical services performed by our Medical Department.

Jayden suffered the kind of abuse we don’t like to talk about.

But here’s the thing, child abuse is a community problem, and it requires a community response. CAC’s partners were involved throughout her story, from law enforcement, DHS, community members, businesses, and other local organizations. The quilt Jayden took home was made by a local church group.

Community members and businesses can partner with us during the Caring for Kids Campaign to support our Medical Department services. These donations go to pay medical staff salaries, equipment, and supplies.

We are recruiting a nurse practitioner to perform additional medical evaluations and services to extend our Medical Department hours to 40 per week. Now more than ever we need community partnerships and support to help us continue our work with abused children.

There’s still time to partner with us during the Caring for Kids campaign. The deadline to make a donation is June 30. To make a difference in a life of other child victims, send your donation to 816 W. 10th Street, Medford, OR 97501.

Thank you.

Theresa Hart