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December 14, 2017 • Headline News
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Children’s Advocacy Center specializes in children

CAC gears up for Mardi Gras Ball

Wanda English Burnett

More than 3300 children and their families have received the much-needed assistance to navigate the often-confusing legal system since the Children’s Advocacy Center’s inception in 2009. However, there is a hitch. This is a non-profit organization where numbers are an important component. From the demographics of the agency, number of clients, area it serves, to the funds needed to keep the agency afloat – numbers play a big part.

Tyler and Whitney BondSUBMITTED PHOTO
Pictured left are Tyler and Whitney Bond. The couple will represent Ripley County at the Mardi Gras Ball set for February 10.

The center does have committed support from the communities they serve, but the increased case load and continued need for the program means the expenses grow faster than what is brought into the agency. The question has been asked, “If you could help child abuse victims, save taxpayer dollars and put criminals in jail with one donation, would you help?

A Mardi Gras Ball has been held in the past to raise money. This year is no different. The goal is to raise $100,000 that will be used solely for the functioning purpose of the Children’s Advocacy Center. Each year a King and Queen candidate is chosen from each county. The couple that raises the most money is named King and Queen of that year’s event.

The Mardi Gras Ball is set for February 10, 2018. Ripley County will be represented by Whitney and Tyler Bond, who have a total of five children between them. They understand the importance of the CAC. They own a roofing business and Whitney is also a labor and delivery nurse at DCH. “They didn’t hesitate when asked to represent Ripley County,” noted Cindi Wagner, who is the coordinator for the Mardi Gras Ball. The Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) located in Dillsboro is just one of several located throughout the United States. The area is fortunate to have this child-focused, facility-based program that collaborate with a team of professionals to investigate, prosecute and treat child abuse, both sexual and physical.

“The CAC in Southeast Indiana provides quality forensic interviewing for law enforcement and Division of Child Services caseworkers in our area,” noted Prosecutor Ric Hertel. He added, “These trained interviewers speak with children who may have potentially been abused/molested or even possibly a witness to a crime. The CAC depends on the generosity of our communities to fund it.”

The Dillsboro facility is the only one in the region and they serve Ripley County along with many surrounding counties such as Dearborn, Decatur, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Switzerland and Jackson. Local investigators and prosecutorial teams have come to rely on the Dillsboro facility due to their precision and professionalism in forensic interviews of children who are in crisis. According to information from the center, before it was created, child victims had to recount their horrific experiences many times to law enforcement, court personnel and social workers, reliving the pain of the initial trauma many times.

The Children’s Advocacy Center tapes the interview with the child and a forensic specialist. These specialists are trained in gentle and ‘non-leading’ approaches. The taped evidence is used in the prosecutorial system to minimize further stress on young victims. Families are also supported with information about the investigative process and referrals to other pertinent service agencies according to information from the center.

To start donating to the Mardi Gras Ball fundraiser now, you can go to the CAC website at and click on the “donate” button to vote for the Bonds. Votes are $1 each. A wonderful way to celebrate the holidays would be to celebrate a child by voting. Funding for the center, will assure it stays in place and children can continue to receive the gentle care they need following a tragedy they didn’t ask for or deserve.

Make sure you lock your car, house

As the holiday season grows near, law enforcement reminds people to make sure they lock their vehicles and homes. While nothing will prevent someone from stealing if they really want to, Sheriff Jeff Cumberworth says a locked door is often a deterrent. Keep packages out of sight, perhaps locking them in the trunk if possible when shopping. Be aware of your surroundings and shop in pairs if possible. Often crooks are looking for an easy target, perhaps someone distracted by a cell phone, etc. Report anyone to authorities who is acting suspicious.

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