When children are victims of sexual abuse, telling adults their story can be a frightening and traumatic experience. Cheryl Vanderlick aims to help them through this process with her donation to Rapides Children's Advocacy of Alexandria, Louisiana (CASA).
Cheryl visits CASA to find out how they help the children they serve. David Sikes, director of the center, shows Cheryl a film demonstrating how children who say they have been abused are greeted and interviewed in a child-friendly setting. One person interviews the child while law enforcement officials monitor the conversation from another room to be sure the interviewer gets all the information needed to evaluate the case. Rather than having to tell their story multiple times to multiple agencies, the information gathered during the sessions at CASA is shared by agencies protecting the children and those prosecuting the abusers.
Cheryl talks with some of the volunteers who serve as advocates for children going through the investigation of their case. CASA is able to assign each volunteer only a few cases. Unlike social workers who may be managing many cases, CASA volunteers have fewer assignments, which allow them to guide children at length through the investigation and prosecution of their case.
Cheryl is pleased that her gift will help CASA continue its important work. "The children are dealt cards that they don't have any control over. Thanks to the people of this organization, they have a voice—a chance!"