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In the mid-1990s, Montgomery County’s child protection system was under review by a task force of community leaders trying to determine why children were dying at the hands of their parents and caregivers. The task force, led by Brother Raymond Fitz, made recommendations on how better to serve the county’s children, and, as a result, Montgomery County made available $3 million for child protection initiatives.
At the time, Libby Nicholson was employed as a social worker on the front lines at Dayton Children’s. She observed how recounting painful stories of abuse to multiple agencies impacted the children and wanted to do something to make the process easier on them.
“I witnessed firsthand the disjointed response. I knew we could do better,” said Libby, director of CARE House since 1999. “Children were falling through the cracks because of a fragmented response by those investigating cases. I learned about the children’s advocacy center model, in which children came to a child-focused facility where cases were coordinated.”
Libby decided to approach Dayton Children’s leadership about a child-advocacy center. With their support and a $55,000 grant from Montgomery County, CARE House was established in 1998.
“Each child who comes through our doors is forensically interviewed, and if indicated, is assessed for trauma symptoms and is referred for mental health services and a medical evaluation,” Libby said. “Our multidisciplinary team is onsite and meets weekly to review cases to ensure that information is exchanged and gaps in the service delivery system are addressed. A comprehensive approach to this child-centered care has proven to strengthen cases by better protecting children and, when possible, holding offenders accountable.”
A comprehensive approach to this child-centered care has proven to strengthen cases by better protecting children and when possible, holding offenders accountable.
– Libby Nicholson, director of CARE House
Patricia and Richard Glennon, Jr., are avid supporters of CARE House and recently supported the nonprofit organization with a $10,000 grant from a Donor-Advised Fund they established through The Dayton Foundation in 2013. Although CARE House falls under the fiscal nonprofit umbrella of Dayton Children’s, the advocacy center relies heavily on private dollars to support its programming.
“We are so thankful for the Glennon family, who have embraced the mission of CARE House and understand the importance of addressing the trauma of childhood abuse through strong and effective mental health service delivery,” Libby said. “We have used their generous support over the years to sustain and enhance our services to this vulnerable population of children. It really does take a village to raise a child, and the Glennon family’s support is an example of that.”
Grants like the one from the Glennons’ fund are more important than ever, as the number of children served annually has nearly doubled to almost 1,000 in recent years and public support through the Victims of Crime Act is dwindling. The Glennons encourage others to support this safe haven that has served more than 10,000 children and families to date and helped them to feel safe, supported and believed.
“Everyone has been patient, supportive, pleasant and available to answer questions,” said one CARE House client. “It’s made a difficult process easier to go through for my daughter and for me as well. Thank you.”