Family & Child Abuse Prevention Center Celebrates 50 Years

Diana Kleman, a licensed trauma specialist, uses painting, books and other age-appropriate techniques to help children get to the root of their trauma and find ways to heal. MIRROR PHOTO BY KAREN GERHARDINGER

BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — It takes a team of heroes to stop the cycle of family violence.

The Family & Child Abuse Prevention Center’s professionals may not wear capes, but through caring, focused delivery of programs and counseling for both victims and perpetrators, the FCAPC team is making a difference in the community.

On Friday, May 17, the FCAPC is hosting A Night for Heroes, a superhero-themed celebration of the nationally recognized nonprofit’s 50th anniversary. Held at Parkway Place, 2592 Parkway Plaza in Maumee, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the evening will include dinner, a cash bar, live music, an art auction, raffles and presentations by FCAPC staff and clients.

In addition to keynote speaker Amy Stoner – a recent Lucas County Juvenile Court magistrate – the evening will include a performance by Abbigale Rose & the Highlights, who have earned local accolades as best singer and original band.

Abbigale Rose, a recipient of services through the Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center, will perform her latest single, “Run Girl, Run” during the Friday, May 17 50th-anniversary celebration. PHOTO COURTESY OF CALLAN PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Abbigale will perform her latest single, “Run Girl, Run,” about a domestic violence journey. Abbigale has been on a journey of recovery from trauma, developing self-care skills that she describes as “life-changing.” Referred to the FCAPC after taking a non-offending parenting class, Abbigale continues to receive therapy through the center’s Long-Term Services program.

Guests will also hear from a domestic violence survivor and how the FCAPC helped her move forward.

Founded in 1974 by local pediatrician Dr. Bernard Cullen and a group of concerned citizens who saw the devastating effects of child abuse, the FCAPC has evolved with dedicated professionals who serve more than 50,000 people a year.

Taking a whole-household approach – treating both victims and perpetrators – the FCAPC offers educational, intervention and therapeutic services, regardless of the client’s ability to pay.

More than 4,000 cases of child abuse and neglect are reported each year. In 2023, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office recorded 6,034 reports of domestic violence in Lucas County communities, issuing 2,005 charges related to these incidents. 

And this is just the data that is reported.

“Abuse can happen in homes anywhere – in any neighborhood or ZIP code. It’s not defined by income or race,” said FCAPC CEO Dr. Christie Jenkins.

The center works closely with law enforcement, courts, health care and other agencies to fill in any gaps in the reporting process and justice system and to offer immediate and long-term support to individuals and families. This is done through several programs.

The Children’s Advocacy Center, established in 1997, provides investigation and intervention services for more than 400 child victims of sexual abuse each year. To reduce the trauma of the interview process, FCAPC brings together professionals and agencies as a team in a safe, child-friendly space inside the center to reduce revictimization. The center also has a comfortable space where a child can receive an exam from a nurse practitioner trained to look for signs of abuse.

“We found that children were being interviewed eight or nine times for one sexual abuse allegation,” Jenkins said, noting that it’s difficult enough for a child to tell a teacher, principal or social worker once, let alone multiple times. “At the CAC, we’re all there together, so the child only has to make one disclosure.”

This is just part of the “whole-house” approach, Jenkins said.

The Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program helps clients who want to take the first step to leave an abusive situation – and even for those who are afraid to make that move. 

“There are hundreds of reasons why victims do not leave an abusive relationship. They may not have an education, money, a job, housing or custody of children,” Jenkins said. “A victim is also far more likely to be killed leaving than staying in an abusive relationship. When someone leaves, they take the power and control away from the abuser, which completely amps up the abuse.”

For adults who have been abused, the FCAPC provides advocacy through the court process, assistance with safety planning and connection to community resources.

Abusers sometimes will state that alcohol or drugs are the reason for the abuse. Although using substances can make it easier to be abusive, they don’t cause someone who is not abusive to become that way.

“Often, these are excuses to ensure that the victim stays and does not leave after an incident,” Jenkins said.

For the abusers, the FCAPC has a 26-week Batterers Intervention and Prevention Program that looks at the dynamics of battering and offers tools to perpetrators to choose nonviolent behaviors. The results of this program have been astounding, with over 90 percent choosing not to re-offend – even after 10 years.

The Child Abuse Pre-vention Program offers resources for preschool and elementary schoolchildren to keep themselves safe and to recognize abuse in a positive, empowering and age-appropriate way. The Early Intervention/Help Me Grow program is designed to prevent child abuse and neglect of children with developmental delays and coordinate health and developmental services so that children can thrive. 

Even if they are not the targets of abuse, children are negatively affected by domestic violence at home.

“Children see and hear what is going on and tend to get in the middle of the fighting as they attempt to stop the violence. Children in these homes can suffer from anxiety, depression, poor school performance, psychosomatic complaints and aggression,” Jenkins said.

To help with these long-term needs, the FCAPC offers counseling, psychiatric services and other supportive treatments through licensed trauma specialists and licensed social workers.

“By treating the entire family, we are ending the cycle of abuse,” Jenkins said.

Tickets for the 50th-anniversary gala are available through Friday, May 3. Tickets are $100 for general admission. Other support levels are also available. Visit www.fcapc.org for details.

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