NETA Cares was proud to attend the 18th Annual Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Breakfast on Friday, April 6th. More than 250 people attended, including those from law enforcement, social services and education, and municipal leaders such as Easthampton Mayor Karen Cadieux, Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz and Belchertown Selectwoman Brenda Aldrich.

The breakfast also honored social worker Debi Belkin with the Ellen Sedlis Award for her 30 years of advocacy and dedication to children, and Pisano with the Champion for Children Award.

The Northampton center opened in 2006, and has become a place where children can get forensic medical examinations and mental health evaluations in a home-like setting, and referrals for services to help them heal. The breakfast serves as a major fundraiser for the Northampton Center.

Kelly, NETA Northampton Floor Captain, says, “Attending the Children’s Advocacy Centers Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Breakfast was an incredible experience. Being in a room with so many amazing people from the Valley was truly inspiring. There were police, attorneys, judges, social workers, and parents speaking about the tools available from the CAC to the children who are going through this terrible situation. They shared their heart wrenching stories about just how demanding and difficult their work is. We are lucky to have these people supporting our youth.”

Angie, NETA Northampton Team Lead, follows Kelly’s comment with, “The CAC Breakfast was such an inspiring event. What a blessing it is to have these amazing services available to those who need it. So proud that NETA supports this organization.”

You can read more about this inspiring event in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Check out a gallery of our NETA Cares attendees click here!

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According to the Children’s Advocacy Center for Hampshire County’s website:

Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) are child-friendly centers where a multidisciplinary team consisting of Department of Children and Families workers, police, medical and mental health professionals, prosecutors, and victim advocates meets to coordinate a response to allegations of child sexual and severe physical abuse.

CACs are designed to reduce the stress experienced by child victims of abuse and their non-offending family members throughout the investigation and intervention process. By focusing first on the needs of children and their families, CACs ensure that many important services are provided, by improving the quality of investigations. CACs reduce the need for children to “tell their story” repeatedly by coordinating a single forensic interview to gather interview to gather the information needed by each member of the multidisciplinary team to successfully investigate allegations of abuse.

Through the CAC, children and families are linked to medical, mental health, victim advocacy, and other services as determined on a case by case basis. Medical professionals with the specialized skills to conduct therapeutically and forensically sound medical evaluations are available to meet with children in a fully-equipped medical examination room at the CAC.

Provided by the Massachusetts Children’s Alliance.