In a normal year, more than 250 alleged cases of child abuse come into the Child Advocacy Center of Tuscola County.
Executive Director Kathleen Sweeney interviews every single child.
But this year she’s only seen 90 kids, far less than usual. There’s worry that lower number does not mean less abuse.
“There was virtual school. There were no eyes on these children. And we were very, very much concerned about what was happening. And there was no one to disclose to or report any abuse, said Sweeney.
To make matters worse, the center is in financial trouble. Due to COVID, they weren’t able to have their six-month fundraising campaign starting in April.
“People have little to no comprehension oftentimes, of the work that’s done in a center like this to help provide a safe environment for children,” explained Tuscola County Prosecutor Mark Reene.
On top of all that, the center has seen an increase in reports of abuse since school started. Not raising enough money could have serious consequences.
“Children will have to tell their story up to fifteen different people. Re-traumatization is a major concern for children when they have to retell. And they may fall through the cracks. They won’t get the services they desperately need,” Sweeney said.
Next week the center will have its first and only event of the year. A golf tournament and silent auction.
Sweeney knows in fundraising and in their service, a little goes a long way.
To sign up for the golf tournament and auction, or to donate, call 1-810-610-8071.