The Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center (CAMCAC) offers a safe, child-friendly environment, where a comprehensive and coordinated approach is taken in response to allegations of child abuse for children ages birth to 18 years. CAMCAC is one of 14 advocacy centers in the state of Arkansas and has the unique distinction of being the only hospital-based child advocacy centers in the state. We serve more than 600 clients annually in an 11-county geographic area – more than any other center in Arkansas – with services for suspected physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, neglect, as well as abuse prevention education and outreach services.
Health & Safety
The ministry-wide Mercy mission is: As the Sisters of Mercy before us, we bring to life the healing ministry of Jesus through our compassionate care and exceptional service. The Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center’s (CAMCAC’s) mission is to utilize a multidisciplinary team approach to providing a safe, child friendly and caring place where children are assessed when allegations of child abuse arise.
The Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center (CAMCAC) provides no-cost medical evaluations, victim advocacy, quality forensic evidence collections, mental health interventions, child abuse prevention and awareness training, and referrals for additional social services for children ages birth to 18 years – all using the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) model. The CAC model brings together all parties involved in an abuse and neglect allegation at the front end of the process and delivers them to the child, rather than taking the child from place to place. Throughout the process, CAMCAC promotes the “Child First Doctrine,” which places the needs, comfort, and safety of the child first, while collaborating with investigators, law enforcement, and prosecutors in order to reduce trauma placed on victims.
To maximize our reach to at-risk youth in the community, CAMCAC now seeks to expand its educational and outreach services to better serve our clients while educating youth on personal safety, prevention, and steps to take in the event of suspected abuse and/or neglect.
The CAMCAC serves an 11-county area in Arkansas in and around Hot Springs. In 2014, this service area reported an astonishing 3,616 investigations for child abuse – many more have gone unreported by children who did not understand they were victims or know where to turn for help. The CAMCAC aims to empower young people to understand personal safety concepts, situations, and tools for health and resilience. Our goal is that that we can prevent child abuse and neglect altogether, or at a minimum, educate young people on what to do if they experience a personal safety crisis.
The CAMCAC is one of only 14 advocacy centers in the State of Arkansas and has the unique distinction of being the only one that is hospital-based. We offer services to Arkansas’ youngest victims of abuse, ranging from birth to 18 years of age, after an allegation of child abuse and/or neglect. The CAMCAC was established in 2003 and currently serves over 600 youth annually. We have come to know child abuse and neglect, as well as the questions and fears children face regarding this complex subject. Given our experience in this area, along with the Mercy ministry’s history for service, we consider it our duty to protect our community’s children and provide information that can increase and improve their safety, and potentially prevent child abuse and neglect.
While no method has been proven 100% effective in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, research shows that prevention and education services do impact child abuse and neglect. We aim to capitalize on this opportunity by working with schools, churches, and other youth services organizations in our service area to bring research-based prevention programming to the forefront so children can learn and understand important health and safety information.
The 2015 annual report from the Arkansas Department of Human Services revealed a total of 33,683 child abuse assessments with 9,543 being true determinations in the state of Arkansas. The CAMCAC utilizes data from Arkansas Building Effective Solutions for Trauma (ARBEST) to further analyze need based on service area, demographics (age, ethnicity, etc), type and severity of abuse, and the number and type of mental health services needed. In Fiscal Year 2016, our program served 491 clients from our main center in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and 68 from our satellite center in Mena (Polk County), Arkansas. While the majority of our clients reside in Garland County (257), we receive clients from an 11-county service area, more than any other center in Arkansas.
$40 per hour provides body safety education, including handouts, to one elementary classroom.
United Way funding will be used to expand our child abuse prevention training efforts. In 2016, CAMCAC acquired the research-based prevention program, “Empower Me!” from Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, and there was an overwhelming positive response from the community. We provided prevention training for two elementary schools, which included over 52 classrooms, 1,500 students, and 50 school administrators in the Hot Springs, Arkansas, area—numbers well beyond what we had anticipated. The demand for training vastly outweighs CAMCAC’s available resources, and although we successfully reached two schools, there are currently 28 public schools in Garland County alone which would greatly benefit and have voiced an interest in the program. The program has continued to grow, from September 2017 to January 2018, we served 6,300 students in 401 classrooms in 26 school districts. Support from the United Way will help us reach additional schools and classrooms.
A partnership with the United Way will be instrumental in our efforts to expand the “Empower Me!” program to additional schools within CAMCAC’s 11-county service region. Funds will purchase training materials and continuing education for staff.
Child abuse/neglect prevention and education efforts have the full endorsement and backing of Mercy leadership; the Mercy Health Foundation has prioritized this program, vigorously seeking philanthropic support and beneficial provider partnerships in a proactive manner. We will work collaboratively to ensure that we take advantage of each grant/contract opportunity reasonably available to us to further this programming, while also establishing strong relationships and partnerships with other service providers who may be able to assist in leveraging resources to sustain this initiative long term.
We feel that other potential funders for this project include the State of Arkansas and school districts within the state – especially if the schools indeed begin requiring child abuse/neglect prevention and education to students and staff. Additional funders may also include federal sources dedicated to child advocacy. We know that prevention costs less than treatment (on multiple levels) and we intend to share this message with potential funders and community stakeholders to keep this program viable.
Youth and personal safety is a challenging topic, which can easily be ignored. Complicating matters even more, child abusers often know their victims are scared and easily pressured into keeping quiet about abuse/neglect matters. Working with thousands of children over the years the CAMCAC knows that victims more often than not feel like abuse is their fault or they are somehow responsible. But, we know this is simply not true and it is our responsibility to make our children aware of the facts regarding abuse and neglect. At the CAMCAC, we aim to increase the conversation among our youth, so that children know about personal safety and what to do if the feel their personal safety has been compromised.
While any child can face some risk for abuse and neglect, the CAMCAC’s historic service data shows that the actual youth served in the past year were on average, nine years old, 28% males, 72% female, and 20% minorities. Furthermore, approximately 90% of the youth served last year came to the CAMCAC as victims of sexual abuse, which the program directly addresses using evidence-based training.
In 2017, the CAMCAC received a $300,000 grant from the United States Department of Justice which partially funded a new education and outreach prevention trainer position. With the increased capacity provided by the trainer, we are now seeking support for additional costs associated with the training and will continue to take advantage of each major gift, grant and other opportunity reasonably available to us in order to further this programming.
Since the CAMCAC serves children in 11 counties, the agency also collaborates with child advocacy agencies in 11 counties including representatives from the Arkansas State Police (Crimes Against Children Division), county/municipal law enforcement, State Prosecuting Attorney’s offices, Division of Children and Family Services, mental health professionals, medical personnel, and other local and/or state agencies. In regards to the education and outreach training, the CAMCAC partners with several local elementary schools, churches and other non-profits in the area focused on childhood safety.
The coordinated method in which we deliver services is designed to minimize trauma on young victims and their families. In addition to caring for young victims, the CAC model creates an orderly system for the collection of evidence in these cases, maximizes efficiency, and reduces duplication of efforts among the parties involved by facilitating inter-agency cooperation.
Collaboration is the crux of the CAC Model and the effective operation of the CAMCAC. By design, the CAC model brings all parties together, who are involved in an abuse and neglect investigation. These agencies convene immediately upon notice of an allegation and bring the various systems to the child instead of taking the child from place to place. The result is a child-centered model where the child’s needs are first, and better outcomes that are evident from this well-planned approach.
The parties collaborate extensively and share appropriate work products, while each department also maintains its own role in an investigation of suspected abuse – this is critical for judicial purposes to ensure tasks are performed by individuals with proper credentials and to ensure evidence maintains complete integrity as required in court. Despite these requirements, the process is seamless for the youth victims and helps improve community safety and community health by holding abusers/predators accountable and getting victims the medical/behavioral health they need.
The following resources are required for the “Empower Me!” training program:
Executive Director The center’s director, Ms. Karen Wright, has been at the CAMCAC for seven years and is a licensed professional counselor through the state of Arkansas. Ms. Wright has developed positive working relationships with community partners critical to this initiative. She provides leadership as well as hands-on involvement with investigations, advocacy and education.
Prevention and Education Specialist (2) The CAMCAC employs two Prevention and Education Specialists. These individuals are responsible for the development and presentation of educational programs for all age levels within the service area. Training duties include administering the “Empower Me!” training program to children at local elementary schools, youth organizations, and churches. The prevention trainers are responsible for record keeping and reporting to the director.
2.) Community Partners:
The CAMCAC partners with area schools, local non-profits, and community agencies such as law enforcement, prosecutors, and faith-based organizations to promote prevention awareness. CAMCAC has established positive working relationships with the Hot Springs School District (58% minority population) and the Malvern School District (41% minority population) to access the target population of at risk youth for this prevention initiative. The minority presence in these schools is significant to this initiative as research has shown that reports for abuse and neglect are higher for ethnic minorities.
3.) Training (Time and Materials):
To facilitate the prevention presentations, CAMCAC will follow the “Empower Me!” lesson plan consisting of a PowerPoint; Education DVD; Parent Letter; Presenter Script; Presenter Notes; FAQs; and Teachable Safety Skills webinar. Additionally, the publisher, offers other informative materials if the target population requires additional information for maximum message effectiveness. CAMCAC must purchase curriculum and both Prevention and Education Specialists receive the “Empower Me!” training.
Travel Expense: The CAMCAC serves an 11-county service area, so additional revenue to cover travel is a necessity. Aside from offering a multitude of services to children and their families in various counties, the Prevention and Education Specialist drives to each partner organization, as well as to different counties for monthly multi-disciplinary team meetings.
Our goal is to prevent child abuse and neglect altogether, or at a minimum, educate young people on what to do if they experience a personal safety crisis.
The objectives of our efforts include: 1. Increase knowledge of personal safety concepts, situations, and tools for health and resilience amongst at risk youth in CAMCAC’s 11-county service region over the next 12 months.
2. Beginning 75 days after an award, the Prevention and Education Specialist will connect with area schools, youth services organizations, and churches in the 11 county service area to conduct a minimum of 35 prevention and education presentations following the “Empower Me!” curriculum and associated training tools. An additional component of this outreach will be engaging participants and sharing information about the CAMCAC, other youth advocacy organizations, and agencies designed to respond to allegations of abuse and neglect.
CAMCAC’s Prevention Education Specialist is trained in the “Empower Me!” curriculum and related educational materials (“Empower Me!” PowerPoint; Education DVD; Parent Letter; Presenter Script; Presenter Notes; FAQs; and Teachable Safety Skills webinar) and will perform outreach to area schools, youth services organizations, and churches, scheduling presentations to share personal safety concepts, tools for health and resilience, and guidance on what to do in an instance of suspected abuse and/or neglect – making special effort to connect with minority youth. He/she will cultivate existing community relationships, while also establishing new ones on behalf of the CAMCAC to better serve our youth. Furthermore, the Prevention and Education Specialist will keep detailed records of contacts, presentation, and attendees for compliance purposes; and, he/she will work with the Project Director to develop an evaluation component to gauge attendee satisfaction. This information will enable the Prevention and Education Specialist to adjust program activities as needed to best connect with the target audience.
1. Provide 9,500 children with research-based abuse prevention education between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019. Trainers will connect with area schools, youth organizations, and churches to conduct a minimum of 300 prevention education presentations following the “Empower Me!” curriculum.
2. Of the total number of presentations, at least 20% (or seven presentations), will be focused on outreach to at risk, minority youth populations due to the increased risk of abuse and neglect for minorities.
Project success will be measured by the achievement of the goals and objectives provision of services to 9,500 children and performance of the Prevention and Education Specialist of the proposed community education and outreach activities outlined above.
The Prevention and Education Specialist will maintain records of activities including meetings, contacts, presentations, etc., as well as evaluation documents to verify programming. The Project Director will meet regularly with the Education Specialist to assess program activities and goal achievement. The Program Director will also meet with school administrators to obtain feedback and make adjustments as necessary.
Recently, a five year old girl disclosed sexual contact by a family member immediately following the prevention program “Empower Me.” The teacher was apprehensive about making the hotline report to the Child Abuse Hotline. Our education/prevention representative educated the teacher in making the hotline report to meet mandated reporting expectations. The report was accepted and Department of Children and Family Services Division (within Department of Human Services) went to the school to follow through with their investigation and ensure the child was safe.
United Way funding will be applied to prevention program educational materials ($16,700) and continuing education for prevention education staff ($4,000). Please find a more detailed program budget inserted at the end of the Program Budget Worksheet for your reference.
5.1 Authority and Duties of the Board. 5.1.1 General Authority. Subject to the powers and responsibilities reserved to Corporate Member pursuant to these Bylaws, the business and affairs of the Corporation shall be managed by the Board. The Board shall make appropriate delegations of authority to the officers of the Corporation. 5.1.2 Specific Authority and Duties of the Board. Within the general author¬ity of the Board described in Section 5.1.1 of these Bylaws, the Board shall have the following authority and duties: 220.127.116.11 Foster the effective implementation of the values and beliefs of the Sisters of Mercy in the accomplishment of the Corporation’s mission; 18.104.22.168 Develop policies regarding relationships with external groups, agencies and organizations; 22.214.171.124 Establish an effective organizational structure for the Board; 126.96.36.199 Delegate appropriate responsibility and authori¬ty for the operation of the Corpora¬tion and its assets to the President; 188.8.131.52 Provide an annual accounting of the Board’s stewardship of the Corporation and its assets to Corporate Member; 184.108.40.206 Supervise the Board Committees and take action on the recommendations thereof; 220.127.116.11 Foster the long term financial stability of the Corporation and the corporations controlled by the Corporation by undertaking the following actions: 18.104.22.168.1 Review and recommend to Corporate Member approval of the Corporation’s annual operating and capital budgets, including its business plans; 22.214.171.124.2 Adopt appropriate fundraising programs, grant requests and research programs; 126.96.36.199.3 Receive gifts, grants and devises; and 188.8.131.52.4 Oversee the appropriate maintenance of the books, records, and accounts of the Corporation’s business and research affairs and the annual preparation of an accurate statement of the operation and the assets and liabilities of the Corporation for the pre¬ceding fiscal year, which shall be delivered to Corporate Member. 184.108.40.206 Review and recommend to Corporate Member approval of the Corpora¬tion's strate¬gic direction and annual strategic plan. 220.127.116.11 Review the effectiveness of programs supported by the Corporation in responding to and advocating for the unmet needs of people who are poor, sick and uneducated, especially women and children, in the communities served by the Corporation.
6 times annually
Were you able to pay all regular operational expenses within 60 days of the due date?
Have you been able to maintain your 501 (c) 3 Tax Exempt Status?
Child Abuse Prevention Rally and Luncheon April 19, 2018 11:30 am Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center 216 McAuley Court Hot Springs, AR 71913 Donna K. Smith, Development Coordinator Fundraising luncheon and program
During the Christmas season, we select families served by our center who need help providing gifts and food for their families f