For 18 years, the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center (TCCAC) has provided child victims of physical and sexual abuse and their families the services and supports they need. These include forensic interviews, medical examinations, family advocacy, therapeutic survivors’ groups, and other specialized activities designed to promote healing for children and their families. Throughout this time, the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center (UMSMC) at Easton has been an important partner of the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center. UMSMC at Easton has generously provided the Children’s Advocacy Center with both the physical space, previously located on the hospital’s third floor, and support for its regional medical program.
As a result of UMSMC’s changing healthcare delivery needs, it was determined that the TCCAC space within the hospital would no longer be available for use beginning in October 2020. Despite this change, the UMSMC at Easton continued to value this partnership and identified ways to continue to work together to best deliver this very important community health mission.
“TCCAC is so very fortunate to be continuing this 18-year partnership with UM Shore Regional Health. They have been generous with their time, their help and their expertise and their generosity continues through the provision of new space and significant in-kind contributions in our new secure Easton location,” comments Lauren Krasko, Coordinator of the Talbot County CAC.
With the support of an expanded TCCAC Advisory Board, the Talbot County Department of Social Services CAC team brainstormed solutions, identified funding and other resources, and thought through adjustments required and opportunities made possible by this move while managing ongoing operations during a pandemic. Ken Kozel, President and CEO of University of Maryland Shore Regional Health and his leadership team supported TCCAC throughout this transition process. In particular, sexual abuse exams continue to be conducted by the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health Sex Abuse Nurse Examiners.
“TCCAC continues to be a valued and appreciated community partner for UM SRH and our region. Their specialized support services are integral for the children and families they serve. We are very pleased to continue our strong partnership and thank Talbot DSS Director Linda Webb and the entire team for their dedicated, compassionate and meaningful work,” says Kozel.
Additional support came from Talbot County Councilman and Social Services Board member Corey Pack, former Talbot County Manager Andy Hollis, Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble, and Talbot Community Connections Board members, some of whom have been involved since the inception of TCCAC. The TCCAC Advisory Committee, Steering Committee, Talbot County Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) and the regional MDT’s (Caroline, Dorchester, Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties) and local Department of Social Services Directors all worked consistently to make this transition as seamless as possible.
Over the last six months, the TCCAC staff and members of the multidisciplinary team are now in the new space and have been conducting forensic interviews and medical examinations. One of the benefits of the new expanded physical space is that the TCCAC Family Advocate has been able to offer a new life skills group to meet the needs of the teenage population served by the TCCAC. In addition, five girls participated in a therapeutic art group facilitated by Sue Stockman. The group focused on building connections between the mind and body and involved spiritual components on healing and the power we hold within following sexual abuse.
“All girls participating in the group expressed complete satisfaction with the process and requested additional sessions,” Krasko shares.
“The TCCAC has gone through a tremendous amount of change in the past year, including pandemic impact, relocation, staffing and leadership changes and new initiatives. We have proven to be just as resilient as the families we serve. Transitions can be challenging, but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we can get through challenges, come together and be even stronger. The TCCAC is a true testament to just that!”
For further information or to donate to the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center, contact Lauren Krasko at 410-820-7141 or visit talbotcac.org.