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FSA Service Spotlight: Children’s Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties

Since 1895, Family Service Association of NEPA has helped local children, individuals, families and communities achieve their full potential. In honor of their 125th anniversary, this nonprofit organization will share the stories behind their services. Join us every month to learn more about their diverse programs and how you can support their vision of building resilient families and thriving communities—one person at a time.

A Safe, Comfortable Space Where Healing Begins

The Children’s Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties is a program of Family Service Association of NEPA (FSA). It is a Child Advocacy Center (CAC) that serves children who have alleged some type of physical or sexual abuse, experienced neglect or witnessed violence.

Community leaders in Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties realized they needed a CAC in their own rural communities. Families often had to drive a long distance to Scranton or Wilkes-Barre just to get the services they needed. To make this unique service more available, local leaders established the CAC in Montrose in 2015.

The CAC uses a multidisciplinary team approach that includes a forensic interviewer, medical examiner, trauma therapist, law enforcement, child protective services and district attorneys. The team works together to gather all the evidence and information to investigate the alleged crime and begin the healing process. The process ideally decreases additional trauma through a one interview, one exam approach. The CAC also provides specialized trauma therapy so both parents and children can work through their experiences in a safe and neutral environment.

The CAC team has many moving stories to share from their life-changing work. One client, J*, was five years old when they started being sexually abused. J told their mother at the time, and mom did the right thing—she took them to see a counselor. Unfortunately, J’s story was misunderstood, and the abuse continued. But in 2019—over 10 years later—things changed.  J once again shared their story, but this time they were referred for an appointment with the CAC. J shared details of the events that had happened years earlier, and the team was able to use this to question and ultimately arrest the abuser. They were convicted and will serve many years in prison. J now lives with peace of mind and continued healing.

Since 1983, April has been identified as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. You might notice pinwheels and blue ribbons representing this distinctive month. The pinwheel is a symbol of all that childhood should be: joyful and innocent. The blue ribbon symbolizes child abuse and is a reminder that it does exist in every corner of the world.

In recognition of this month, please consider making a gift to FSA in the name of the Children’s Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties. While CAC does receive some government grant funding, it is not a fully-funded program. FSA and the CAC continually seek additional funding sources to support this incredibly vital service. Any donation, no matter how big or small, will make a tremendous impact on the children that CAC helps every single day.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.

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