40 years of helping children.
40 years of helping children.

I was 17 when I first heard of CARE House. I was in high school and pregnant for the first time, and one day their Early Head Start program visited to make a presentation, and I signed up. Each week, my case worker Bridget met with me to get ready for my daughter, Olivia. After she was born, Bridget helped me make sure Olivia would develop correctly. The support was great and, 18 months later, when I became pregnant with my son Josh, she helped coach me through the pregnancy.

We’d like you to meet Ben, a CARE House Front Desk Volunteer!

Everything at CARE House, from the architecture of our building to our client intake procedure, was designed with a sensitivity to the needs of children.

It’s important that the kids who come to us, whether it’s for weekly therapy or a forensic interview, feels safe and comfortable as soon as they walk through our door.

The Front Desk Volunteer is an essential part of accomplishing that goal.

Brittany, one of our forensic interviewers, pointed out an article that she thought elucidated some of the mystery behind what it is, precisely, that forensic interviewers do. Written by Elizabeth King, a forensic interviewer at Randolph-Tucker CAC in West Virginia, the article explains how the interviewer has to be an expert improvisor, ensuring a constant balance between the needs of the MDT and the needs of the child, all while maintaining their essential integrity and neutrality.

As an organization with a vested interest in the health and well-being of our community, we’re always on the lookout for opportunities to spread our message to new people. We’re so excited that one such opportunity has developed not far from our facility at Fork n’ Pint in Waterford, where they’ve introduced a charity pint benefiting CARE House! For every pint they sell of Norm’s Raggedy A** IPA by Griffin Claw Brewing Company, Fork n’ Pint will donate $1 to CARE House.

As mentioned previously, each survivor’s reaction to abuse will vary, which causes the kinds of treatments available to be very diverse in their uses. After experiencing CSA, the process through which an individual may begin to cope with that trauma will vary from person to person. However, it is possible to identify common themes in the initial coping mechanisms of survivors of CSA. It is also possible to recognize common repercussions of the same or similar types of abuse (e.g.

Children learn by what they are taught in the world. They learn by their experiences, for example, if a crying infant’s caregiver responds to their cries by picking them up and soothing them, they learn that they will be taken care of when they cry. If a child is grounded for not cleaning their room, they will learn that  there will be consequences for their actions. Children also learn by intentional design, like a caregiver teaching a child how to brush their teeth or a teacher providing instruction on higher math.

On March 30th, our Board of Commissioners officially recognized April as Child Abuse Prevention month in Oakland County (see photo above). In addition to being a welcome sign of support, it underlines how important the role of the community-at-large is to tackling the problem of abuse.

When CARE House was founded in 1977, its primary mission was to focus on developing successful methods of child abuse prevention. Though our programs have expanded in the ensuing years, we have continued to pursue our original goal, and it forms a central component of our vision to impact the safety of every child in Oakland County.

“Won’t this be more harmful?” 

“But they seem fine!”

“Can’t we just go back to normal?”

We often hear these and other kinds of concerns expressed from parents about therapy for their children following a disclosure of child sexual abuse.  While we know that CARE House is a symbol of hope, we know that for the families we work with that it can also be a reminder of sadness. An all too real reminder that child sexual abuse exists no matter where you reside, and that 90% of the time, an abuser is someone a child and their family knows, loves, and trusts.

For everyone, childhood is a time when many critical developmental changes occur, and we form connections that influence how we will perceive the world around us later in life. However, because many of those people experience childhood sexual abuse (CSA), those connections and associations to the world around them can be changed and mutated from those held by people who did not experience abuse. These repercussions often carry on through adult life, but with the right kind of assistance, the effect they have on the individual’s life can be mitigated significantly.