The Navajo County Family Advocacy Center is celebrating its first anniversary. Navajo County Attorney Brad Carlyon presided over the celebration in Show Low.
The Advocacy Center convenes under one roof a multi-disciplinary team of medical, legal, law enforcement, social service experts, and crisis counselors for children who are suspected of having been sexually or physically abused. The Navajo County Family Resource Center serves as the non-profit partner of the Advocacy Center.
“While successful prosecutions are an important goal, the top priority is serving the child victim. The number one goal is to minimize trauma and help the child recover,” said Navajo County Sheriff K. C. Clark. “The Navajo County Sheriff’s office is proud to be a partner with the Advocacy Center.”
“When we created the Advocacy Center we expected we would serve maybe 30 children a year. Instead, we’ve seen 66,” Carlyon said. In recognition of each child the Advocacy Center helped, sponsors and volunteers at the anniversary celebration released 66 balloons – blue balloons for the male children served and pink for the female.
“Child abuse is a crime against the innocent and defenseless that leaves its young victims emotionally and physically scarred, and it is a crime that we in government have an especially strong obligation to prevent and punish,” said County Attorney Carlyon. “The Advocacy Center has built stronger investigations, but most importantly, it has made it easier for our young victims to get the care and support they need.”
There are two Navajo County Family Advocacy Centers — one in Show Low and one in Holbrook due to the geographic size of the County. The Advocacy Centers provide a child-friendly environment and allows experts to work together was children in one place, instead of conducting a series of potentially traumatizing repeat interviews at police stations, hospitals, county attorneys offices, and child protective services.