The people of Forsyth County and across the Triad are now confronted with a test of how we will treat our children who are the victims of child abuse. April – which happened to be Child Abuse Prevention month – turned out to be the cruelest month. That’s when half a dozen agencies in the Triad learned that their federal and state funding for a range of child-abuse prevention, treatment and advocacy services had been cut by over $400,000. Among the programs feeling the blow was Family Services Child Advocacy Center (CAC), as well as children’s advocacy centers in Guilford, Rockingham and Alamance counties.
Before Family Services’ CAC was established in 2000, a child who had suffered physical or sexual abuse would have to undergo a series of examinations and interviews in emergency rooms, police stations and the courtroom –settings that can be intimidating for anyone, let alone for a child who has suffered abuse. Family Services’ CAC, which gained national accreditation in 2012, was established through the joint efforts of legal, public-safety and human-service professionals.
Abused children can’t afford funding cuts. The federal sequester and other austerity-induced legislation have ripped many holes in the social safety net. But these have to be the unkindest cuts of all. They threaten a return to an era that was truly a dark age for our children.