Center Brings Together Advocates for Children

Usually, teddy bears bring back happy memories of childhood. The bears in the corner room of the Children's Advocacy Center of Smith County however, help children cope with memories of abuse and neglect. They're part of the team of professionals who have come here to work together for abused kids.

Carol Langston is the Center's Director. "Everything is about the child, not about us. It's about the child. Making them feel safe and protected while they're in this center."

The interview room is just one of the benefits of the Child Advocacy Center. A small wooden chair sits at a matching table sit in the center of the room. This is where children will tell their story and unbiased interviewer. Fortunately, they only have to tell that story once, because on the other side of a 2 way mirror, the interview is video taped. It's also observed by case workers, law enforcement and district attorneys.

Cooperation isn't limited to the interview room. Just down the hall is the office of Tyler Police Detective Craig Shine. "We're all able to work together on this to maintain a one goal which is to put together stronger cases and to reduce the amount of trauma to the child."

Child Protective Services Investigator Crystal Campbell also has an office here. She often finds herself working on the same cases as the police department. Now they're not only on the same case, they're on the same page. "Through the counseling and all the other services that are offered, the parenting classes the children are helped more, here. Helped heal and to get past the abuse to understand they're not the only ones."

The Children's Advocacy Center also has toys to teach children about courtrooms. They're designed to make the prospect of testifying in court less intimidating for the young victims.