By Tammi Pitzen, Executive Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County

As another year comes to an end, I am reflecting on things I could have done better, missed opportunities and what changes I will be committed to in the New Year.  I am also looking back over all the good work that the CAC staff, Board, Volunteers, Advisory Council and friends of the CAC have done in the last 12 months.

When you look at just the numbers it tells a story.   We together were able to make an impact on 1159 people who have suffered trauma as result of child abuse.  The year isn’t even over.  We will see children right up until the last hours of the year.  Our team provided over 5000 life changing services.

What the numbers do not tell you is a whole other story. 

They do not tell you of a young lady who sought and received confidential advocacy through our co-located Community Works advocate.  They do not tell you of the mom that received comfort and support when her world began to crumble around her as her child disclosed sexual abuse by his dad.  They do not tell you of the young children who witnessed horrific violent abuse of one parent by another who found safety as a result of their visit to our Intake Department.  They do not tell you about the youth who found relief as her CAC Medical Provider told her that her body was fine and assured her she did not have a sexually transmitted infection.  No, the numbers only tell part of the story.

Nationally there is a debate as to whether child abuse numbers are decreasing. 

We are not seeing that at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County.  I cannot explain why that is.  I have theories but that is all they are; not based in science or fact.  I do know that we continue to have much work to do.  I do know there are many children in our community that continue to seek safety.

I read the news.  I watch the news every day.  It gets to be pretty depressing.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not read some tragic story of a child who have been chronically neglected.  I read a story yesterday of two children whose mother left them home locked in a room while she traveled.  She had an adult friend check in on them and feed them once a day.  Toddlers.

It is heart breaking.  I reflect on that as my stress mounts in providing my son the best Christmas ever.  I reflect how many of our community partners are striving to provide the best holidays for the children we serve by providing giving trees and gifts for those young abuse victims we see every day at the CAC.  This time of year always pulls at my heart strings.  Children should go to bed with images of sugar plums parading through their dreams, not with images of someone they love doing something unimaginable.

What can you do as one person in the universe? 

You only need to choose how you will do it.