Rutherford County Child Advocacy Center Hosts Annual Hometown Heroes Walk for Children

Apr 29, 2024 at 04:30 pm by WGNS News

(L-R) Jessica Wauchek, Mayor Joe Carr, Sharon De Boer

Rutherford CountY, TN - Rutherford County Child Advocacy Center and the Child Protective Investigative Team hosted the Ninth Annual Hometown Heroes Walk for Children on Friday.

According to Child Advocacy Executive Director Sharon De Boer, the child abuse statistics are alarming – 1 out of 10 children in the nation will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Only 1 out of 10 victims report abuse to a trusted adult. In school classrooms, daycares, churches, sports teams, choirs, marching bands, cheerleading squads, dance teams, and homes – everywhere children are in the community, there are children silently bearing the burden of child sexual abuse alone.


Since the Hometown Heroes Walk last year, Rutherford County Department of Children’s Services has received 425 child sexual abuse referrals and 948 referrals on children who were exposed to their parent’s drug use.

De Boer explained how her team works the process. The Department of Children’s Services investigates child abuse allegations and protects children. Law enforcement from Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, Murfreesboro Police Department, Smyrna Police Department, and La Vergne Police Department investigate the crime and arrest perpetrators. The Child Advocacy Center conducts legally defensible forensic interviews of child victims, assists their families, provides home visits for drug endangered children, and educates the community how to protect children from child sexual abuse. Our Kids Center provides forensic medical exams. Volunteer Behavioral Health provides therapy to help children heal from the trauma. The District Attorney’s Office chairs the team and aggressively prosecutes offenders. The entire team holds perpetrators accountable for their crimes, helps vulnerable children heal from the trauma, and helps families rebuild their shattered lives.

The Child Advocacy Center was established in 2000, and in the last 24 years the Child Protective Investigative Team has assisted 13% of the population of Rutherford County – over 46,259 people. The Child Protective Investigative Team responds to child abuse, child sexual abuse, and drug exposed children’s cases. Last year, the team helped 2,059 people.

Mayor Joe Carr said,” As a community, we are grateful to the outstanding public servants who work their hearts out every day to assist child abuse victims and their families.” Rutherford County Emergency Medical Service Honor Guard members Brandon “Smitty” Smith and Keith Coggin presented the colors at the event.

Emergency Medical Services Paramedic Chris Ray and EMT Joseph Strong (ABOVE PHOTO) traveled with the Child Advocacy Center’s Hometown Heroes Walk for Children in case the walkers needed medical care.

  • Details about the winners can be found HERE

Scroll down for Photo Below of Emergency Medical Service Honor Guard members Brandon “Smitty” Smith and Keith Coggin.

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