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NYSCA News   Issue 4   Fall 2015
Expansion of Child Advocacy Center Services in the North Country

In early 2015, Clinton County signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the neighboring communities of Essex and Franklin Counties and the Saint Regis-Mohawk Tribe. The Community Team Responding and Advocating for Kids ( CTRAK ) Child Advocacy Center in Clinton County is now sharing resources and developing multidisciplinary teams in each of these previously unserved communities.   With the support of the Office of Children and Family Services ( OCFS ), satellite interview rooms for forensic interviews are in the process of being established and a house was secured with the Saint Regis-Mohawk Tribe in which to locate a new Child Advocacy Center.  

In collaboration with OCFS and the Northeast Regional Children's Advocacy Center ( NRCAC) , training was provided to the North Country which included:  Forensic Interviewing Best Practices, Advanced Forensic Interviewing, Multidisciplinary Team Training, Best Practices in Child Abuse Investigations, Advice from Child Molesters ( with Cory Jewell Jensen) and the  Bivona Summit on Child Abuse .   Each multidisciplinary team is now holding case review meetings.  Contract guidelines will be signed by every team by the end of 2015.  

CTRAK's expansion will continue into St. Lawrence and Hamilton Counties, (ultimately covering all of New York State Police Troop B area), by providing training in the multidisciplinary team model, First Responder, and the Less is More curriculum. 
Western Region CACs Enter into MOU with The Seneca Nation
Karen Hill, Jana McDermott and Judith Olin watch as Seneca Nation Health System CEO Tim Waterman signs MOU
Karen Hill, Jana McDermott and Judith Olin 
watch as  Seneca Nation Health System CEO 
Tim Waterman signs MOU

The Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County, The Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center (Erie County) and The Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center (Allegany and Cattaraugus counties) signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding with the Seneca Nation on September 29, 2015. While the CAC in Buffalo has long had an MOU with the Seneca Nation, the MOU was renewed and expanded to include the additional counties.  A signing ceremony was held and a delicious lunch was served.   Judith Olin (Lee Gross Anthone Child Advocacy Center), Karen Hill, Donna Kahm (Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center) and Jana McDermott (Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County) were all in attendance. Judith spoke on behalf of the CACs and discussed the history of collaboration between the CAC in Buffalo and the Seneca Nation.

The MOU creates a "seamless" entry into CAC services for children under the age of 18 and families that reside on the Cattaraugus and Allegany Indian territories. These Seneca territories are geographically located within multiple counties including Erie, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua. All CAC services will be made available to children and families who reside on the reservation. Specific provisions of the MOU address investigative and treatment services and referrals. Representatives from the reservation already attend case review and other MDT meetings at these Western Region centers. Other features of the MOU call for collaborative training, regular meetings and exchange of information with appropriate releases.
NYSCA Seeks New Board Members        

In order to continue our efforts to maintain a productive and progressive Board, we are now accepting recommendations for interested, committed individuals to join the New York State Children's Alliance, Inc.'s Board of Directors for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2016.

NYSCA Members and partners, past and present, are strongly encouraged to analyze and review your associates, colleagues, and acquaintances and to submit names for possible consideration. We are currently seeking community board members with the following expertise/experience: Fund Development;  Public Relations/Marketing; and/or Corporate Management.

We are recruiting board members with local, regional or statewide board experience who recognize how essential the New York State Children's Alliance, Inc. is in its support of Children's Advocacy Centers throughout New York State. We seek to expand the Board to accurately reflect the ethnic, geographic and generational diversity of New York State.  For more information, or to make a recommendation, please visit us online: http://nyschildrensalliance.org/board-member-recommendations/
What's New in NY's CACs?
The  Oneida County Child Advocacy Center  has a new director on board.  Chief Deputy Joseph Lisi began leading the CAC in August with a clear goal in mind. "At the end of the day, we have to make sure that the victim is taken care of and the offender is punished to the full extent of the law."   Chief Deputy Lisi comes to the CAC with 25 years experience in law enforcement.  He led the Criminal Investigations Unit before retiring from the Sheriff's Office as lieutenant in 2004.   Welcome, Joe!

The  Putnam County Child Advocacy Center is pleased to announce that Assistant District Attorney Danielle Pascale, has been awarded the Putnam County Service Network's 2015 Norman Vincent Peale Outstanding Service Award. The award was presented in recognition of Danielle's "leadership, work ethic and passion to help and heal victims of sexual assault and prevent others from being victimized.   


Danielle was nominated for her unwavering efforts to see child victims of abuse get justice. As a member of the CAC's MDT, Danielle works tirelessly and is sought out as a leader in serving victims of sexual abuse. She empowers victims, gives them hope and helps them heal. As one victim shared, "I can say anything to her, she never judged me; she included me in decisions, asked my advice and what I wanted. She listened and for the first time in my life, someone heard me!"

In accepting the award, Danielle thanked the MDT for helping her build strong cases that stand up at trial and result in harsh sentences for those that victimize Putnam's most vulnerable residents.  Danielle received a standing ovation as she shared the reasons why she does this work. "Every day the news bombards us with horrific stories of children being abused, and so many of us feel helpless to do anything about it, but as a prosecutor - I can do something!  I am in a position where I can make a difference to protect these children and keep offenders off the street.  There is no greater joy than when I can look into the eyes of a child and tell them they are safe and are not going to get hurt anymore!"
Over 100 competitors participated in the  Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County's 2 nd Annual Step Up for Kids 5K Run/Walk held at The Red House on September 27, 2015.   County Executive Vince Horrigan was on hand to start the race as well as volunteers from the Village of Cassadaga, Cassadaga and Fredonia High School, Cassadaga Job Corps and SUNY Fredonia.   Cassadaga Youth Recreation Director, Tammy Wichlacz, led the Kid's Hero Run, where children sporting "CAP capes" completed a 50-yard dash, with each child earning a memento  for their participation. 
Step Up for Kids Proceeds benefit CAP's Fr edonia office, to ensure all children have access to child a dvocacy services, giving children the best chance to heal from an allegation of abuse.   "The event was very successful in terms of engaging community members" notes Jana McDermott, CAP's Executive Director. "We want to thank each sponsor, volunteer and participant; we all have a role to play in creating communities that are safe for children". 
On September 10th,  Bivona Child Advocacy Center hosted a Grand Opening Celebration of the agency's newly renovated and historically preserved landmark, The Skalny Building at One Mount Hope Avenue- formally known as the Old Stone Warehouse, Rochester's oldest commercial building. Local dignitaries and community leaders joined together to commemorate the agency putting a permanent footprint in Monroe County with a Press Conference and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
 
Thanks to a $500,000 lead gift by The Joseph and Irene Skalny Charitable Trust, plus 444 private and corporate contributions from the community, Bivona raised more than $5.3 million dollars in just three years to renovate and relocate to The Skalny Building. Since doors opened in 2004, Bivona has tripled the number of children evaluated, tripled its partnerships, tripled its operating budget and underwent three facility upgrades at its former Lake Avenue location.
 
The Skalny Building will allow the agency to meet the growing needs for child abuse investigation, evaluation, treatment, prevention, while expanding services to the community.  Bivona will grow from 31 co-located professionals to almost 50; from one medical exam room to two; from three child friendly forensic interviewing rooms to four; from one play therapy room to two; and the waiting room will double in size.  Bivona will also have a state-of-the-art training facility along with a much needed Wellness Center for team members who are exposed to heartbreaking trauma each day.  Bivona will be able to expand its mental health and victim advocate services along with the expansion and co-location of RESTORE Sexual Assault Services and law enforcement.
 
"Bivona Child Advocacy Center is the only agency in our community to bring a collaboration of professionals specializing in child abuse cases together all under one roof to protect, treat, prevent and counsel child victims and their families and investigate and prosecute the abusers," stated Bivona Child Advocacy Center's Founding Executive Director, Mary Whittier. "Before Child Advocacy Centers, children had to describe their stories of abuse to a number of people forcing them to relive the trauma and be re-victimized by the very system that was supposed to help them. Offering the best care possible to the children and families we serve remains at the core of our mission. A larger facility means more space to expand programs and services while allowing Bivona to continue developing its partnerships to work towards a community where all children and safe and free from abuse."
Office of Children and Family Services Update
We here at OCFS would like to truly thank all of you and your teams for the ongoing commitment to this work.  We continue to be amazed by the strides that are made in order to better serve children and families across New York State. 
 
There are a few highlights we would like to mention starting with the Bivona Summit. OCFS is very happy to help support this top-notch state-wide conference, so many thanks to Mary Whittier and her staff for another hugely successful event.  OCFS was proud to collaborate with NYSCA on the "Less is More" training which reached many of our stakeholders who were eager for this information.  Additionally OCFS was thankful to assist with bringing Dr. Bigfoot to New York to train clinicians to enhance the Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy model for Native American families.  Thank you to all of those who participated in these initiatives and we look forward to more opportunities for collaboration!
 
In other news, we are pleased that full NCATrak utilization is going well, and we've appreciated everyone's patience during the transition.  Online, in person and refresher trainings were presented by Jonathan Picklesimer from NCA over the course of this year.  These offerings were well attended and Jonathan Picklesimer continues to provide technical support for all CACs in New York.   With his help we are confident that all 40 child advocacy centers in New York State will be using NCATrak by the beginning of 2016.  OCFS aims to continue to support better data collection which reflects the hard work of the CACs and MDT members. 
 
We would also like to recognize Clinton County CTRAK and Richelle Gregory for spearheading the new regional program which brings the CAC model to Franklin County, Essex County and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Nation.  Two satellite sites are being developed in each county, while the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Nation has a free standing, child friendly location wrapping up renovation now.  Bringing these services to this underserved region is a true reflection of excellent collaboration.  We appreciate Richelle Gregory and all of the MDT members for all your efforts!
 
While we acknowledge the claiming and contract process can be onerous at times, it is necessary to ensure the day to day operations of CACs are supported and that MDTs have the capacity to do their work.  Through your efforts on this front we are able to clearly demonstrate the grants are being used to ensure the best practice and support for families and children throughout the state. 
 
Truly we could go on and on sharing all of the wonderful efforts that are shared with us through your reporting and visits to the CACs.  Our best to everyone and we look forward to another year of working together!  

Melaney Szklenka, Child and Family Service Specialist
Jeri Guidry, Program Manager & Children's Justice Taskforce Coordinator
Upcoming Events
Helpful Hints
Amazon Smile

The ever popular online shopping site, Amazon.com, may be able to bring a little extra funding to your CAC.  Non-profit organizations can receive donations through the Amazon Smile program.  If your center is a non-profit, you can register here as a charitable organization.  When shopping through  Amazon Smile, customers choose a charitable organization to support.  Amazon will then donate .5% of all eligible purchases to the designated organization. Amazon will even provide you with marketing tools to help get the word out to your supporters.   Not a non-profit?  Consider designating the New York State Children's Alliance, Inc. as your charitable organization.  For more information, visit  https://org.amazon.com/.
Planning on doing a little shopping on Amazon.com?  
Help support NYSCA while you shop 
(at no additional cost to you!) by using Amazon Smile!
 New York State Children's Alliance, Inc
 phone (516) 406-0225 | fax (516) 710-7832 
nysca.coordinator@gmail.com | www.nyschildrensalliance.org