Child Advocacy Centers were not around when I was a kid growing up in the Bronx New York, but I’m proud to tell you they are now, making a tremendous difference.

In April, 2023 I was the keynote speaker for a Child Advocacy Center in Oklahoma.

These organizations have revolutionized the United States’ response to Child Abuse. They help children that have gone through tremendous trauma. The Child Advocacy Centers do miracles every day helping Children that have been abused all around the country. For me, this is personal, and it’s also personal for the people that work at Child Advocacy Centers, like the Executive Director Jessika Ryan of one of the Child Advocacy Centers in Oklahoma…..In this case, Ryan’s House in McAlester OK

“If you’re in this position, you have to have a passion for it. And this is my purpose in life. This is everyone who works with a child, this is our purpose! You’re not… you don’t go into this field for a paycheck, you don’t go into this field for any other reason, besides trying to help a child work through trauma and see that hope. And that’s our goal this year is to become a more hope centered CAC. We’re trying to push hope onto every child, not just children of abuse, but to every child in the community. So that’s the main reason why we are here. We are here to to get these children through their trauma, and do it in the less traumatic experience way possible.” Jessika Whitman/Executive Director of Ryan’s House

My life has been defined by trauma in a lot of ways.

My mother suffered from severe Mental Illness and was diagnosed with “Chronic Paranoid Schizophrenia,” Child Abuse, Foster Care, Childhood Sexual Abuse, no Father ever in my life…and the only male relative that was present… was my Heroin Addicted grandfather. But here is the silver lining, society has come a long way. Now we have Child Advocacy Centers to help such kids.

“Love Among the Ruins”

Dominic’s life was profiled in Oprah Winfrey’s Magazine as a victim of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Here with his wife Marilyn

So what exactly is a Child Advocacy Center. Executive Director Whitman explained to me.

“Okay, that’s actually a great question. So child advocacy centers play more like a central role for child abuse investigations. So we are the place where investigators, child welfare workers, and prosecution teams, really anyone on that investigation team meets is the place where the child comes for forensic interviews….child advocacy programs. -Jessika Whitman/Executive Director of Ryan’s House

It’s the place (Child Advocacy Centers) for children to have the least traumatic experiences possible when telling their story or talking about their experience of abuse.” Jessika Whitman/Executive Director of Ryan’s House

And you might ask Why are Child Advocacy Centers necessary?

“Well, people don’t understand… I don’t think they understand how prominent abuse is. There’s multiple types of abuse, they range from many types of different things. Neglect, physical, there’s a whole spectrum of abuse. And it’s in every community. -Jessika Whitman/Executive Director of Ryan’s House

It wasn’t until I got into this field that I realized how prominent Child Abuse was. You see stories and you hear or you watch movies or read papers, and you think it just happens maybe to 10% of the population. And that’s not the case at all, I would say about 70% has experienced some type of abuse. -Jessika Whitman/Executive Director of Ryan’s House

To Ms. Whitman and all the other Executive Directors of Child Advocacy Centers around the country, please keep doing…what you are doing. Our Children need you.