Every day, staff members of the Department of Children’s Services field calls, visit homes, meet with families – and comfort children who are victims of abuse and neglect in Rutherford County.
But the agency doesn't do it alone, as Robert Rickman Reports...
DCS depends on the professionalism and cooperation of many experts. Members of the law enforcement community conduct criminal investigations. The Child Advocacy Center helps children heal from the trauma, while connecting them to the resources in the community that are available to help them recover. And prosecutors from the District Attorney General’s office handle the criminal cases once they get to court.
All of this work is closely coordinated when these disciplines join together as members of the local Child Protective Investigative Team.
According to Sharon De Boer, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center, “In the last 13 years, the Child Protective Investigative Team has responded as a team to 9,000 child abuse cases and worked together to assist 12,500 individuals in Rutherford and Cannon Counties.” Robert Rickman, WGNS news.
Added DCS Team Leader Deidre Lackey: “In all of the years I have been doing this work, the one thing I always hear is disbelief. People really don’t believe how much child abuse and neglect takes place in our community. It’s a serious, heartbreaking problem. That’s why we’re such big supporters of the ’19 Days of Activism.’ People need to be aware, and they need to know the resources we have in place to help kids.”
In Tennessee, you can report child abuse or neglect with a call to the DCS Hotline: 877-237-0004.