The Synergy Spotlight
Shining a light on the people and programs powered by your support.
CACs Revolutionize Care for Child Abuse Victims
Open and honest discussions with children can help them identify abusive behavior and feel safe to disclose it.
Sixteen-year-old Ava* endured years of sexual abuse from her stepdad before she worked up the courage to tell her mom. Once she did, thankfully, her mom believed her and immediately took action to protect Ava, despite the fact mom was still married to the offender. 
Her first stop was Synergy's Child Advocacy Center (CAC).

What are CACs and how do they help kids?
To understand what a CAC is, you must understand what children face without one. Without a CAC, the child may end up having to tell the worst story of his or her life over and over again, to doctors, police, lawyers, therapists, investigators, judges, and others. They may not get the help they need to heal once the investigation is over, either.

Synergy's CAC and others around the country bring together a multidisciplinary team, including law enforcement and child protective services, who work together to investigate, prosecute and treat child abuse cases. Having the center under Synergy's umbrella makes access to healing resources seamless as the child and family receive therapy and support services all in one spot, maximizing efficiency, leveraging expertise and ensuring the right services are available at the right time.  

In Ava's case, once at the CAC she completed a forensic interview. This one interview gathered all of the information needed by the investigative team without having Ava repeat her traumatic story. Ava's family also received specialized advocacy services to help them navigate the sometimes confusing child welfare system.  In addition to having her legal needs met, Ava and her family received immediate and ongoing traumatic stress intervention therapy to help them communicate and manage their trauma.  She is  now safe, and she and her family are on the path to recovery.

In Synergy's quest to provide the highest quality care to achieve the best possible outcomes for children and their families, the collaborative CAC model just makes sense.  Your support makes these programs--and all their positive results--a reality for the more than 300 children and their families that will be served at the CAC this year. We can't do it without you!
 
*Name changed to protect victim's privacy.
News & Events
Kathleen Madigan is Standing up for Synergy!
We are excited that Kathleen Madigan will headline our 11th annual Stand up for Synergy fundraising event on Saturday, November 4 at Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa! She is one of the most renowned comedians of her generation, and is sure to give our guests an evening to remember. Sponsorships are now available and going fast!  Don't miss the stand-out event of the year--save your seat at Stand Up today!

Volleyball Team Gives Gift of Snuggles to Hurting Kids
 
Thank you to the Liberty North
High School volleyball players and coach Katie Dowden for donating more than 200 stuffed animals to our CAC! This generous gift gives hurting children a friend to hold tight as they begin their healing journey.
New & Noteworthy at the CAC
Senator 
Blunt's staff visited last month. The senator has been a big advocate for children 
and the multidisciplinary effort to address child abuse victims.  

Synergy's CAC has conducted 15% more interviews this year than in the same time period last year.

This month Synergy's CAC Director, Gwen O'Brien, begins chairing a statewide group to revise policy on child abuse investigations to ensure the safety and security of our most vulnerable children.
 
Synergy's CAC is coordinating the Child Protection Protocol training for Clay and Platte county professionals that work with child abuse victims. CAC staff will partner with schools, law enforcement, Children's Division, CMH and the prosecutors office to train local professionals about the policies and procedures of working a child abuse case from the point of disclosure through prosecution. 

CAC staff has grown by two people, a second victim/family advocate to support families through the child abuse/neglect system, and a dedicated therapist to provide immediate trauma intervention for victims and families who utilize the CAC.
Robin's Wrap-up
Dear Friends,

The impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) on an individual's future health and well-being has been clearly documented. Childhood trauma can lead to adult heart disease, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes, and a myriad of physical and social problems. And sadly child abuse continues to be the leading cause of childhood trauma. Year after year children are beaten, assaulted, and subjected to severe physical abuse - often in the name of parenting. Our prisons are full of adults who were abused as children - and even with the growing knowledge of the serious consequences of this behavior, adults continue to physically abuse children in record numbers.
Synergy Services is, therefore, grateful to have a Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) that conducts forensic interviews of children who disclose physical or sexual abuse. The CAC has trained interviewers who obtain a child's story as clearly as possible, eliminating the need for that child to tell the story over and over. The CAC's multidisciplinary team work together to avoid further traumatizing the young person, as well as providing the child and family the opportunity to obtain support, counseling, case management, and crisis response. Our program is part of a national network of Children's Advocacy Centers designed to offer specialized forensic interviews across the state of Missouri and in every state in the United States. Synergy is grateful for Missouri Senator Roy Blunt's leadership in encouraging federal and state financial support for CACs.
As kids return to school for a new year, we hope that all of us as caring adults will strive to stop the harmful abuse of kids. We thank you for your support of Synergy Services that allows us to provide the CAC and our many programs that help children find safety and the resiliency necessary to overcome trauma and succeed in life. 
Fondly,
RobinSignature
Robin Shanberg Winner
Executive Director
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400 E 6th St, Parkville MO 64152
816-587-4100