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

“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.

Hi, everyone! My name is Zahra, and I’m a senior at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. I’ll be working with CARE House as a part of my long-term research project through my school’s Academic Research Project (ARP) program. ARP is a year-and-a-half long course that teaches and puts into practice skills such as finding and reading credible sources, conducting research, creating annotations, writing professional pieces, and things along those lines. Students being the ARP process by choosing a topic, then create a prospectus for their research plan, later spending the majority of senior year conducting research and answering developed questions in order to showcase the progress made in a final product.

The issue of human trafficking, or the sale of humans for slave labor and/or sexual exploitation, has come into prominence over the last several years. The numbers are staggering – nearly 21 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking, the majority of them women and children. Runaway children are especially at risk – the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that, of the 18,500 children reported as missing in 2016, one sixth of them were likely victims of sex trafficking.

Our friends at the Macomb County Care House  shared a story yesterday on their Facebook account that offers a unique perspective on the work we do. As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the group of people who developed the CAC model did so in part because they were having trouble securing convictions for cases of child sexual abuse. One problem they ran into was in presenting these child victims as credible witnesses.

Natalie Shure’s piece, “Why Young Sexual Assault Victims Tell Incoherent Stories,” helps explain how troubling the investigative experience can be for young people.

Names and details in this story have been changed to protect the anonymity of our clients.

Nina is 9 years old. She has a cat named Phillip and her favorite class in school is art. She lives in here in Oakland County with her mom and dad, and she loves them both very much.

Every Monday, her parents have a date night, and Nina stays at home with her babysitter, Paul. Paul is 15 and he’s been a close family friend for years.

Hi there! This is Blythe Spitsbergen, CARE House’s Executive Director. On the occasion of our 40th anniversary, I’ve been taking the time to revisit our history and consider how our organization has changed and grown. Maybe the biggest difference between then and now is that, when we opened in 1977, we didn’t provide forensic interviews or therapy services for suspected victims of child abuse. In fact, the child advocacy model that we follow today hadn’t even been invented yet.

The 21st Annual Circle of Friends Luncheon took place last Thursday, January 2, at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. The luncheon focused on children in foster care, the struggles they face, and what we can do to help them. It featured remarks from the event honoree, retiring Oakland County Family Court Judge Joan E. Young; event chair and foster parent Tamara Rambus; and memoirist and foster care parent and advocate, Ashley Rhodes-Courter.

pp2(l-r: Ashley Rhodes-Courter and the Honorable Joan E.

As people who work with a specific subset of the population – that is, victims of child abuse and neglect – we have a vested interest in researching relevant statistics and sharing them with the community. All the data in the world, though (for instance: at any one time, there are 13,000 children in foster care in the State of Michigan; in 2015 alone, over 10,000 children were removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, 53% of whom were five years old and younger) doesn’t convey what it really feels like to experience the foster care system.