Providing a collaborative response to victims of child abuse in Rockwall County
ROCKWALL, TX (May 20, 2021) The Children’s Advocacy Center for Rockwall County welcomed several special guests for a check presentation and signing ceremony Wednesday morning as the Board of Directors gathered for its first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic.
MOU Signing Ceremony
In a show of support for the CAC’s mission, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Working Protocols were signed by police chiefs from Rockwall County’s seven jurisdictions, along with the Rockwall District Attorney’s Office, Child Protective Services, and a local medical provider. The agreement demonstrates “active involvement in implementation of its coordinated, multidisciplinary response to child abuse investigation, intervention and prosecution.”
Local law enforcement officers in attendance included Rockwall Police Chief Max Geron; Rockwall County Sheriff Terry Garrett; Rowlett Police Chief Michael Godfrey; Royse City Police Chief Kirk Aldridge; Heath DPS Chief Brandon Seery; Royse City Police Lieutenant Ray Fitzwater; Rockwall County EMS Chief Mitch Ownby; Fate DPS Lieutenant Tyler Smith; and Royse City Lieutenant Nick Dial, among others.
Law enforcement departments in Rockwall County work closely with CAC staff, CPS, Rockwall’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), Dallas REACH Clinic and the Rockwall County District Attorney’s Office to provide a collaborative response to victims of child abuse. In doing so, they strive to “meet every family with compassion while providing the best investigation, assessment, intervention and prosecution to lead to hope and healing for the child.”
“We serve child victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence or neglect, as well as those who have been witness to a violent crime. These aren’t just crimes against the child, but against the entire family,” said Patricia Mejia, President and CEO of the CAC of Rockwall County. “It takes all of us working together to ensure safety, justice and healing. We are so thankful for this support and collaboration.”
Following the signing ceremony, staff and board members took law enforcement officers on a guided tour of the CAC. The building, located at 1310 Washington Street in Rockwall, was generously donated by the Rockwall Soroptimists, paving the way for the CAC to open its doors in April 2018 as the 70th child advocacy center in the state. The beautifully renovated facility provides a child safe and friendly environment where families can begin their journey of healing.
‘Go Blue’ Supporters
Several local businesses were in the house to receive recognition for donations presented to the CAC. Their generosity supports the CAC’s ‘Go Blue for Kids’ initiative that occurs every April throughout Rockwall County.
Among the ‘Go Blue’ supporters in attendance were representatives from Camp Gladiator, an outdoor group fitness organization that raised funds through a change drive; The Bagel Lady, who donated proceeds from blueberry bagel sales; Rockwall Gymnastics Academy, whose children donated money from their own piggy banks; and Young Chef’s Academy, whose participants hosted a bake sale fundraiser. Williamson Foundation Repair donated money for every job they performed in April, as well as through ongoing customer donations. Rock On Nutrition generously donated tips received throughout April.
“The money is awesome,” said Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper, who also serves on the CAC board, “but the awareness, to me, is even more important. These businesses have been talking about the CAC’s mission, raising awareness, educating their employees and customers. This is priceless and we thank you very much.”
Many other local businesses and organizations participated with special promotions throughout Child Prevention and Awareness Month, but were unable to attend the presentation. Mejia announced that $228,000 was raised during April’s ‘Go Blue’ efforts, which included the CAC’s Annual Gala at the Hilton.
Bubbles & Bags 2021
Next up is the CAC’s ever-popular Bubbles & Bags event coming Saturday, Sept. 18. Sponsorships for the Designer Purse Bingo fundraiser are available now, which guarantee reserve seating. General admission tickets are expected to sell out quickly when they go on sale at 9 a.m. Friday, June 4. For more information, visit bubblesandbags.com.
By Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News. Photos by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.
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