By Sarrah Peters
At a recent Gadsden City Council meeting, officials honored two local organizations for helping children who are abused for Child Abuse Awareness Month. Deverick Williams presented the James M. Barrie Center and the Family Success Center with proclamations.
Williams, on behalf of Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton, proclaimed the week of April 11 through 15 as James M. Barrie week.
During this week, on April 12, the James M. Barrie Center will host its annual pinwheel ceremony at the Etowah County Sheriff’s office. The ceremony will honor the children that have been interviewed by the Barrie Center in 2015. In total, 232 children used the Barrie M. Center last year.
The Barrie Center works collaboratively with law enforcement to investigate instances of child abuse. The staff provides forensic interviews, evaluations and therapy for children who have disclosed sexual or physical abuse. The center also provides support and advocacy to families during the investigation. The center often spreads information about preventing child abuse and mandatory reporting.
“The James M. Barrie Center for Children plays a critical role in the lives of children who are victims of physical or sexual abuse or who witness a violent crime,” said Williams in the proclamation.
The Family Success Center was also honored at the council meeting.
The Family Success Center provides education to children about what constitutes as child abuse. Often, with education, children come forward about abuse they have suffered.
Williams, on behalf of Guyton, proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The proclamation was presented to the Family Success Center, for the work they do in providing therapeutic services to families and education to children in schools about all sorts of inappropriate behavior that children may not be aware is abuse.
“I want to thank both of these centers for what they offer,” said Williams. “They offer an avenue for awareness.”
Williams emphasized how important it is to protect vulnerable children of the community because they are vital to the community’s future.