My how quickly things change in life. Just a little over three weeks ago, we hosted 320 of our CAC and MDT partners at our 11th Annual Champions for Children Conference. At that time, we were only hearing the beginnings of Coronavirus. I felt very lucky that our conference was able to be such a great success, but now it leaves me realizing how small this is in the big scheme of things.  

We have community members fighting for their lives, essential workers struggling to keep up, and many of us who are confined to home. As a state, country, and world, we are facing a crisis for sure and it's very difficult not knowing what's to come. One of the most difficult unknown's for many of us in the child abuse field is, " What about all these children who are at home, with no outside eyes on them?"  We now know, from DCFS published data, that reports to the hotline are down 50%. While we'd like to think that abuse has gone down, our experience tells us that this is very unlikely.  

Everyone must do their part to protect the kids of our state. CAC staff and MDT partners are Essential Workers. CACs remain open and available for services such as Forensic Interviews, Advocacy, Mental Health, and MDT Case Review. Each CAC is operating under an Emergency Protocol and should be consulted for any child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse investigations that are reported.  

Also, community members, we ask that you keep your eyes and ears open. Check on families with children. If you suspect abuse, report it (1-800-25-ABUSE).  You don't have to investigate it, if you see something, say something. A child's life and well being may be at stake.  

Even in the most trying times, we see positives. We have seen the very best in people in these past weeks. As a local and global society, I see that we are pulling together and working collaboratively for the benefit of each other. My hope is that will continue in the times to come.  

Our Facebook page and website have resources available for keeping kids safe and healthy. Also, please feel free to reach out to CACI or your local CAC for any information.  

Take care and best wishes for health and safety,