Julia’s Story: A Journey of Healing

As our journey through 2020 comes to an end, we would like to share a bit more about what happens when a child comes to Children’s Center.

We hope that after reading Julia’s story that you will consider making a special year-end gift before December 31 to help others like her who come to us for healing and hope. Your gift will not only directly help children like Julia who have experienced abuse, but it will also support our shared vision that all children in Clackamas County will feel safe, valued, and heard.

Julia’s Story: A Journey of Healing

Julia came to Children’s Center when it was discovered that she was being abused by a caretaker. Her parents recognized warning signs after taking our free Stewards of Children® prevention workshop, which empowered them to report their suspicions to the state’s Child Abuse Hotline.

When Julia and her mom arrived at Children’s Center, she was met by our Sr. Clinical Support Coordinator Savanah. The family was greeted and were settled into one of two private waiting rooms with toys, books, and comfy furniture to help Julia feel comfortable.

Soon Intake Specialist Abby welcomed them and started the gentle process of getting to know Julia and hearing her story. From there Amanda, one of our highly skilled Forensic Interviewers, took Julia to the interview room where the Children’s Center team and partners from DHS and law enforcement were able to observe the interview through a one-way window.

The goal of the interview process is to provide a safe environment that allows a child the freedom to talk about their trauma. It is crucial that the interviewer ask no leading questions and provide an unbiased environment that allows a child to disclose their experience. This allows for two things: the opportunity for the process of healing to begin, and for a child to be able to share their story in a way, that if necessary, will stand up in a court of law.

When it became clear that Julia would benefit from having a medical exam, one of our Medical Examiners Gabe (who is also a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner) gave Julia an age-appropriate explanation of what was going to happen. She was allowed (and encouraged) to explore the exam room before the exam begin. Though all kids respond differently, Julia asked lots of questions. This process gives Julia decision-making power over her own body, which supports healing and reduces the chances of re-traumatization.

Before Julia and her mom left our office, MaryBeth, a Family Support Specialist and Therapist, joined the team in offering assistance and support. This is an important and ongoing part of our work with families as they navigate this difficult journey. Julia was also encouraged to choose a stuffed animal and a homemade quilt (given and made by generous donors) to take home with her, with hope they will offer her comfort in the weeks and months to come.

Julia is now on the path to healing and recovery. She meets weekly with MaryBeth through our Therapy Program. The approach all our therapists use is Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is an evidenced-based approach to mental health. The tools and skills Julia and her parents learn through this work will give them the opportunity to help Julia, and her parents, heal and thrive.

Julia’s story is just one example of the work that our team does every day at Children’s Center. We offer a hopeful future to children who have experienced abuse or neglect. It is work that is both heartbreaking and exhilarating. It is work that we cannot do without each of you.

Julia and almost 500 other children in our community need all of us to be there for them. That is why we are asking you for your help.

How You Can Help

There are a few ways you can get involved and make an immediate impact on the life of a child like Julia who needs help right now. You can…

  • Make a year end donation before December 31, 2020.  Regardless of the size, your gift will add up to a hopeful future for children like Julia who are on a journey of healing.
  • Attend a free prevention training workshop. Your involvement will support our vision that all children in Clackamas County can feel safe, valued, and heard. The Stewards of Children® workshops are free, 100% virtual, takes only a couple of hours of your time, and offers concrete ways on how you can protect the children in our community.
  • Donate stuffed toys and homemade child size quilts or comforters. Contact Pamela, pamela@childrenscenter.cc for more information.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Children’s Center and our ongoing work to end child abuse and neglect, and to help children like Julia begin their healing journey to a brighter future!

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