On March 31, supporters of the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) carried on its annual tradition of tying blue ribbons to the tree in front of The Memorial Hospital at Easton to commemorate April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each ribbon represents a child who, in the last year, received services through the CAC located at Memorial Hospital. The CAC, which provides services to victims of child sexual abuse, is a partnership between the Talbot County Department of Social Services (TCDSS) and Shore Health System.
In 2008, the Talbot County CAC provided services to 112 children. Many more cases of child abuse and neglect are investigated annually by TCDSS and law enforcement officials. Children from Caroline, Dorchester, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties come to the center for forensic medical examinations, as necessary, for their care and for the collection of evidence needed for legal prosecution. The CAC provides additional services for Talbot County children, including forensic interviews, forensic medical examinations, advocacy services and mental health services.
An accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance, the CAC uses a multi-disciplinary approach to the investigation and prosecution of child abuse. The CAC team includes pediatrician and medical director Fayette Engstrom, MD, Shore Health System nurses trained in sexual assault investigations and representatives from TCDSS, law enforcement and the Talbot County State’s Attorney’s office. Under the direction of TCDSS, advocacy services are provided for the non-offending family members who may require services and support.