Durant Children’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Satellite Center Re-accredited

The Elizabeth Pettigrew Durant Children’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Satellite Center has been awarded re-accreditation by National Children’s Alliance following an extensive application and site review process. Accreditation is the highest level of membership with the National Children’s Alliance and denotes excellence in service provision. The 4th Judicial Circuit is a division of the South Carolina judicial system that oversees the counties of Chesterfield, Marlboro, Darlington and Dillon.

“In this holiday season, when we pause to appreciate families, we are honored to continue as an accredited member of the National Children’s Alliance family and are deeply grateful for the support of our phenomenal staff, community partners, volunteers and supporters who underpin the work we do for families the Pee Dee region,” said Gloria McLary, Durant Children’s Center director.

As the accrediting agency for Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) across the country, National Children’s Alliance awards various levels of accreditation and membership to centers responding to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient, and put the needs of child victims of abuse first. Through its more than 750 Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) around the country, the National Children’s Alliance empowers local communities to effectively respond to victims of child abuse by setting clear and specific standards for accreditation. Accredited CACs must undergo a re-accreditation process every five years to ensure that best practices are continually being applied.

The first Durant Children’s Center opened in Florence in 1994 and later expanded its services by establishing its Fourth Judicial Circuit Satellite in Hartsville in 2009. Durant Children’s Center, known as the “House Where Healing Begins,” offers a one-stop safe space for children to receive treatment and examinations in cases where abuse has occurred. In addition, Durant Children’s Center provides video-recorded forensic interviews, individual and family therapy, family advocacy, and expert testimony.

At its core, the CAC model is about teamwork; bringing the agency professionals involved in a case together on the front end – and about putting the needs of the child victim first. So rather than having a child taken from agency to agency throughout the law enforcement and child protection systems, and having to endure multiple, sequential interviews, the CAC model brings the system to the child, and brings the agency professionals together to work in a collaborative approach that results in effective, efficient and child-centered casework.

The NCA model identifies Durant Children’s Center as a leader in this growing movement and the recognition by this national organization validates the hard work and commitment of the community to the well-being of children.

CACs help child victims heal. According to NCA, child victims of physical or sexual abuse who receive services at CACs are four times more likely to receive forensic medical exams and increased referrals for mental health treatment that children served by non-CAC communities. Research demonstrates that caregivers in CAC cases are more satisfied with the investigation that those from non-CAC comparison sites. 97% of parents would tell others to seek help from a CAC.

“The Elizabeth Pettigrew Durant Children’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Satellite Center is to be commended for its continued commitment to effectively serve victims of child abuse. As the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers across the country, our goal is to ensure that every victim of child abuse has access to high quality services that result from professional collaboration. By requiring Accredited Centers to undergo re-Accreditation every five years, we ensure that evidence-based practices are being implemented and the highest quality of service is being provided,” remarked Teresa Huizar, Executive Director of National Children’s Alliance.

Durant Children’s Center, a multidisciplinary assessment and treatment center, is a program of Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and serves Florence, Darlington, Marion, Chesterfield Marlboro, Dillon, Sumter and Williamsburg Counties. For more information on child abuse and how to refer a child or adolescent for services, call the Durant Center at (843) 664-HELP, (843) 664-4357.

Pee Dee Coalition is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to the reduction of sexual assault, family violence, and child abuse and to the needs of its victims. If you or someone you know is in need of emergency shelter, please call the 24-hour crisis line at 843-669-4600 or toll free at 1-800-273-1820. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911. To learn more about Pee Dee Coalition visit www.peedeecoalition.org.